Wizards to face challenges in Florida
Making playoffs won’t be easy with difficult schedule
MONDAY, JUNE 29, 2020
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The steep climb for the Washington Wizards in the NBA playoffs came into sharper focus Friday night when the league released its schedule for the season restart on July 30 in Florida.
The Wizards (24-40) will face five teams with winning records and get their first look at Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans when the league resumes with an eightgame regular season. Most of Washington’s games will be in the afternoon.
After kicking their slate off on July 31 against the Phoenix Suns, they’ll face the Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, New Orleans Pelicans and
Oklahoma City Thunder before wrapping up in mid-August with their two toughest opponents in the Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics.
The Wizards have a combined 6-5 record against their final eight foes, with wins coming against Phoenix, Brooklyn (twice), Philadelphia, Oklahoma City and Boston.
The eight-game regular season will serve as a warmup to allow teams to reacclimate to play and as a seeding round before the NBA proceeds to its usual 16-team postseason format. The ninth-seeded Wizards’ task is clear: The team must get within four games of the eighth seed to force a play-in tournament to qualify for the playoffs. In that tournament, Washington would have to beat the eighth seed twice to advance. The eighth seed would only need to beat
SUNS VS. WIZARDS NBA restart in Orlando, Fla.
July 31: 4 p.m.
the Wizards once.
The Wizards are 5½ games behind eighthseeded Orlando Magic (30-35).
For now, Washington is spending the next month preparing for an abbreviated season after nearly four months off. The team will continue individual player workouts at their facility in the District of Columbia through July 6 before heading to Orlando on July 7, where the Wizards will complete a mandatory quarantine period before starting a threeweek training camp.
Washington will also focus on integrating a new player in that monthlong preparation period. Point guard Jerian Grant is set to sign a short-term contract with the team in place of forward Davis Bertans, the team’s best 3-point shooter, who elected to sit out the rest of the season. Bertans will be a highly prized free agent at the end of the season for whom any injury in Orlando could be greatly consequential.
Across the NBA, the regular season will feature between four and seven games per night with at least three televised nationally on TNT, ESPN or NBA TV. The league will restart with a TNT doubleheader pitting the Pelicans and their rookie star Williamson against the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Lakers against the Clippers.
The first round of playoffs will begin Aug. 17 at the earliest.