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With the Race On, The Players See The Need for Seed

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By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 5, 2008

When the Philadelphia 76ers pulled out a win at Phoenix on Sunday night, the Wizards noticed. And whenever the New Jersey Nets or Atlanta Hawks earn a victory, it is not ignored in the Washington locker room.

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With 23 games remaining in the regular season, the Wizards (29-30) are fully aware that teams are lurking behind them in the race for the final three spots in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Entering last night's games, the Wizards were solidly in sixth place, 3 1/2 games behind Toronto but two games ahead of Philadelphia and three games ahead of New Jersey.

If the current seeding holds form, the Wizards will face tonight's opponent, the third-place Orlando Magic, in a first-round playoff series. The Magic beat the Wizards, 94-82, at Verizon Center on Nov. 3 and the teams meet twice more after tonight, March 19 and April 16 in Orlando.

For the Wizards, slipping into seventh or eighth place would set up a brutal first-round matchup with either Boston or Detroit.

Veteran guard Antonio Daniels understands how quickly things can change.

"The crazy thing is that you can't worry about those teams behind you, but at the same time, you have to," Daniels said. "We can't control them but you have to be aware of it. The important thing is that we have to take care of business when the opportunity is there. That's why [Sunday's win over New Orleans] was so big for us."

UP NEXT Tonight vs. Orlando 7 p.m. Comcast SportsNet, WTEM-980

Friday at Toronto 7 p.m. Comcast SportsNet, WTEM-980

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