The Washington Wizards were 15 games below .500 early in the 2020-2021 regular season. But they found their groove and surged up the standings, picking up a win in the play-in tournament and claiming the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. Now the Wizards look to pull some upsets and do the virtually impossible en route to the NBA Finals.
Current Playoff Situation
This postseason has not gone according to plan for the Wizards, as they find themselves down 3-1 against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round. The only victory earned by the Wizards in their first-round series came after an injury forced 76ers star Joel Embiid out of action for the second half of Game 4. With Embiid (knee) doubtful for Game 5, though, the Wizards aren’t fully out of things … yet.
Prior to their injury-aided victory over the Sixers, the most noteworthy thing that happened in this postseason for the Wizards was the Russell Westbrook popcorn controversy. Westbrook, who had tweaked his ankle in the Wizards’ Game 2 loss to the Sixers, had to be held back by security after having popcorn dumped on him on his way to the locker room.
“There are certain things that cross the line,” Westbrook said of the incident. “Any other setting, [if] a guy were to come up on the street and pour popcorn on my head, and you know what happens.”
Wizards Injury Concerns
Westbrook has made a full recovery from his ankle injury, meaning that one of the two best players on the Wizards will be active But the Wizards did lose another key contributor in Game 4. Sharpshooter Davis Bertans suffered a calf strain that is going to sideline him for the next 4-to-6 weeks, which will see him miss at least through the second round of the playoffs. If you want to be optimistic.
Bertans is an inconsistent scorer, but his ability to get hot from 3-point range makes him a valuable part of the Wizards’ rotation. If he is unable to suit up for the rest of the postseason, the Wizards will be in a worse place than they would be with him active.
Path to the Finals and Odds
The path to the NBA Finals for the Washington Wizards would require them to come back from 3-1 down against the Sixers. After that, they would face the winner of the first-round series between the New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks. Then, if they were to advance past that, they would face the winner of the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks series for a trip to the Finals.
In terms of their odds to win the NBA Finals, the Washington Wizards are a robust 300/1 to get the job done. Of course, it is likely that as soon as Embiid comes back for the Sixers that the Wizards season will come to an end. But for now, the Wizards are a good bet online to keep Game 5 against Philadelphia competitive, even if they would need a miracle to win the title.