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Charlotte Passes Washington in Playoff Race

When one thinks of the NBA Southeast division the first and usually the only thing that comes to mind is the Miami Heat.

The two-time defending NBA Champions have dominated the division for most of the past decade. That is still the case in the division race as the Heat lead by 13 games over the Charlotte Bobcats.

Nevertheless, the Bobcats have made a name for themselves in the division and Eastern Conference. On Wednesday night, the Bobcats defeated division rivals the Washington Wizards to move into the sixth spot in the Conference playoff race.

Charlotte is 40-38 on the season and owns the tiebreaker against the Wizards. Charlotte however did not make it easy on themselves in Wednesday’s win. The Bobcats led in the first half by 20 points, but needed to go to overtime to pull out a 94-88 win over the Wizards.

To most fans, the temporarily realignment of seeds in the Eastern Conference playoff race might not seem that noteworthy, but once you look at the possible implications Charlotte’s win comes into perspective.

The Bobcats have won three of their past four games. Three of their last four games of the regular season are against teams that are currently playing below .500.

After playing the Boston Celtics, Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers, the Bobcats end their regular season versus the Chicago Bulls. By that time, Chicago could have clinched the No. 3 spot in the playoffs and possibly rest its starters.

Washington must play the Orlando Magic, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat. The Heat might also be resting starters by then.

If Charlotte can remain in the No. 6 spot, they will assure themselves of not playing against Miami or the Indiana Pacers in the first round as those two are battling for the No. 1 spot in the conference.

Charlotte could face the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the postseason. This season Charlotte is 3-0 versus the Raptors but the two have not played head to head since late January.

Should the Chicago Bulls displace Toronto for the No. 3 spot, as they have won six straight, the Bobcats would face a team that defeated them all three times, they played head to head this season.

However, it still is a better matchup than versus the Heat, as the Bobcats this season are 0-4 versus Miami.

Washington on the other hand has taken 2 of 3 games against Chicago and defeated Miami in January by 17 points.

The Bobcats regardless of who they face are playing good basketball heading to the postseason. The team has won five straight and have won 17 of 25 since the break for the All-Star game.

Washington however, has lost 3 of its past 5 games overall and is just 15-12 since the middle of February.

Those numbers might not make Charlotte a bona fide contender for the NBA Title, but when you are coming from where Charlotte has been the slightest amount of momentum is enough to spark the team for the postseason.

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