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The race to the 2021 NBA playoffs has hit the home stretch -- and it's still as tight as ever.
Only 3.5 games separate the No. 4 and No. 8 seeds in the Eastern Conference with about a month until the postseason, which begins May 18 with the Play-In Tournament followed by the first round on May 22.
The Washington Wizards (27-33) sit in the 10th spot in the East, just ahead of the Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors, competing for the final spot in the Play-In Tournament with just 12 games remaining in their season. After winning their eighth straight game with a victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers Sunday night, the Wizards will look to tie their franchise game-winning streak record with a win against the San Antonio Spurs on Monday.
So, where do things currently stand for Scott Brooks' club, and what may lie ahead? Here's what you need to know about the Wizards' push for the playoffs:
What is the format for the 2021 NBA Playoffs?
This year's playoffs feature a new wrinkle: the NBA Play-In Tournament. Here's how it works: The No. 7 through No. 10 seeds in the Western Conference and Eastern Conference, respectively, qualify for the Play-In Tournament.
The tournament begins May 18 and consists of two rounds for each conference with the following format:
No. 7 seed vs. No. 8 seed (winner earns No. 7 seed; loser to Round 2)
No. 9 seed vs. No. 10 seed (winner to Round 2; loser eliminated)
Loser of 7-8 vs. Winner of 9-10 (winner earns No. 8 seed; loser eliminated)
Once the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds are decided for each conference, the first round will begin May 22 with the traditional format: seven-game series featuring the 1-8, 2-7, 3-6 and 4-5 matchups.
Where are the Wizards in the Eastern Conference standings?
The Wizards currently are in the No. 10 spot in the East. They are two games up on the Bulls and the Raptors. Toronto is ahead 2-0 in the season series with the Wizards, and the two sides will play again on May 6. Chicago owns the tiebreaker over the Wizards, too, after winning the season series 2-1. The Wizards are one game and a half behind the Indiana Pacers for the No. 9 spot.
GB From No. 1
7. Miami Heat
8. Charlotte Hornets
9. Indiana Pacers
10. Washington Wizards
11. Chicago Bulls
12. Toronto Raptors
Who would the Wizards play in the Play-In Tournament?
If the season ended Thursday, the Wizards would just make in the Play-In Tournament, earning the chance to face the Pacers in the 9-10 matchup.
Here are the East play-in matchups if the season ended today:
No. 10 Washington Wizards
No. 9 Indiana Pacers
No. 8 Charlotte Hornets
No. 7 Miami Heat
What is the Wizards' remaining schedule?
The Wizards have 12 regular-season games left, and their last eight games are all against Eastern Conference opponents, giving them a great opportunity to catch up in the playoff race.
Here are Washington's next five games:
Monday, April 26
Wednesday, April 28
Friday, April 30
Saturday, May 1
Monday, May 3
What are the Wizards' playoff odds?
The Wizards currently have +25000 odds to win the 2021 NBA championship -- odds provided by our partner, PointsBet Sportsbook.
Those odds are tied with the Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, New York Knicks, San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors.
We'll update this article as the postseason nears, so stay tuned for the latest on the Wizards' playoff chances.
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