Apr 14, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards forward Trevor Ariza (1) dribbles the ball as Miami Heat center Justin Hamilton (7) defends in the second quarter at Verizon Center. The Wizards won 114-93. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Wizards: Playoff Seeding Still Undecided

The Washington Wizards thrashed a starless Miami Heat team Monday night in the nation’s capital 114-93, but even after the solid win, the Wizards have not found a permanent home for the upcoming first round of the playoffs.

If the playoffs were to start today, the Wizards would be the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.  With that seed would come the Toronto Raptors, who the Wizards are 1-3 against this year and have looked like a tough matchup for the Wizards in the four games this year.  A week ago, a matchup against the Raptors did not look like a good first-round option, but now, with the Miami Heat firmly as the No. 2 seed, the Washington Wizards want to avoid the seventh seed at all costs.

The Wizards control their own destiny regarding the sixth or seventh seed.  The last day of the regular season is Wednesday.  The Wizards face off against the lowly Boston Celtics, who are 25-56 on the year and really have no reason, besides self pride, to play a complete game in the matchup Wednesday.  If the Wizards win, they will be the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.  If they lose, it will be up to the outcome of the Bobcats-Bulls game Wednesday.

If the Bobcats beat the Bulls and the Wizards lose, the Bobcats will take control of the sixth seed.  The Bobcats will win the tiebreaker because even though the teams will be tied for second in the the Southeast Division, the Bobcats own the head-to-head tiebreaker, beating the Wizards handily three times out of four on the season.

The Wizards should have no problem with the Celtics.  The Wizards are 2-1 against the Celtics this year, and lets face it, the Celtics franchise has no incentives to win this game.  The Celtics are 2-8 in their last 10 games and will have no problem being 2-9 in their last 11 games.  It is all about a better chance in the draft lottery at this point for them.  However, management may feel that way for the Celtics, but don’t tell that to the guys on the floor.  Many of them are playing for contracts for next year and their hard-working coach, Brad Stevens.  The Wizards must come out ready to play because the Celtics are capable of beating a lackadaisical Wizard team.

If the Wizards do lose and the Bobcats win, it will be hard to blame anyone but themselves.  First off, for a team who wants to make the next leap as a franchise, losing to Boston in this situation would be unacceptable.  However, the Wizards blowing a 16-point lead in the second half against the Bobcats March 31 would be the one that hurt the most.  If they had won that game, the final game for the Wizards would not be a concern regarding the sixth seed because at that point, they would control the tiebreaker against the Bobcats because they have the better division record by a wide margin.  But they didn’t get that win in late March and now this matchup against the Celtics is a must-win to avoid LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

Tags: Washington Wizards

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