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Five takeaways from the second half of the Wizards' schedule
The NBA announced on Wednesday the second half schedules for all 30 teams, set to begin after the March 5-9 All-Star break. The Wizards, who will play 38 of their 72 games after the break, open their second half on March 10 in Memphis before returning home for a five-game homestand. Below, we take a look at five key takeaways from Washington’s second half slate.
The Wizards’ schedule can be viewed in full HERE.
BY THE NUMBERS
As referenced above, the Wizards’ schedule isn’t actually broken directly in half around the All-Star break. Washington still has the majority of its 2020-21 schedule remaining, with 38 games set to be played on after the intermission. Of those 38 games, the Wizards have 19 home games and 19 road games. They will play 23 games against Eastern Conference opponents and 15 against Western Conference opponents. Washington has eight back-to-backs scheduled in the second half of the season, three of which will require travel. By season’s end, the Wizards will have played in 17 total back-to-backs. Washington’s final game of the 2020-21 season is scheduled for May 16 against Charlotte.
OPPORTUNITY IN THE EAST
The Wizards will start and finish the second half of the season with great opportunities to make up ground in the Eastern Conference standings. After opening the second half of the season on the road against the Grizzles on March 10, Washington begins a three-game stretch against some of the East’s best teams. They’ll host the Sixers on March 12 and then Bucks on March 13 and 15. After a home back-to-back against West opponents Sacramento and Utah on March 17 and 18, the Wizards play nine of their next 10 games against East opponents. Trailing in the East standings after a slow start to the regular season, the Wizards are in a great position to make up ground if they can put together Eastern Conference wins in that stretch.
Washington will have a similar stretch to close the season. May 1 in Dallas will be Washington’s final game of the regular season against a Western Conference opponent, after which it will close with a stretch of eight consecutive Eastern Conference opponents: Indiana (twice), Milwaukee, Toronto, Atlanta (twice), Cleveland and Charlotte.
MAKING UP FOR LOST GAMES
The Wizards will play more second half games than most teams after having six consecutive January games postponed in accordance with the NBA’s health and safety protocols. The NBA held off on announcing the second half of the schedule until now for this very reason – to allow flexibility for teams whose games have been postponed. Washington had games postponed against the Jazz, Pistons, Hornets, Bucks and two against the Cavaliers. The game against the Hornets was already made up earlier this month while the others were worked into Washington’s densely packed second half schedule.
MEETING FOR THE FIRST TIME
The Wizards are set to face 10 teams for the first time this season in the second half, partly due to standard scheduling and partly due to health and safety protocol postponements. Washington had first half matchups with the Bucks, Jazz, Pistons and Cavaliers on the schedule before they were postponed and had yet to be scheduled against the Grizzlies, Kings, Pacers, Mavericks, Warriors and Thunder.
Washington’s first-time matchups in order: Memphis (March 10), Milwaukee (March 13), Sacramento (March 17), Utah (March 18), Detroit (March 27), Indiana (March 29), Dallas (April 3), Golden State (April 9), Oklahoma City (April 19) and Cleveland (April 25).
EXTENDED ROAD TRIPS
After a March schedule in which 10 of the Wizards’ 14 games will be played at home, the team faces a daunting travel schedule in April and May. Beginning on April 5, the Wizards face a six-game road trip over the course of 10 days, their longest stretch of consecutive road games since a six-game run in March 2012. The trip includes matchups in Tampa (the 2020-21 home of the Toronto Raptors), Orlando, Golden State, Phoenix, Utah and Sacramento. After facing the Warriors coming off a cross-country flight from Orlando, the Wizards will take on the Suns the following day, a particularly difficult stretch of three games in four days.
Washington faces its second substantial road trip of the season in early May, this time in exclusively Eastern Conference cities: Milwaukee, Tampa, Indiana and Atlanta (twice). The five-game, eight-day trip begins with a difficult back-to-back against the Bucks and Raptors.