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Is Game vs. Magic A Playoff Preview?

Tony goes solo, weighing in on the Wizards, NCAA Tournament names and the McCartney-Mills dustup.

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By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 19, 2008

If the Wizards manage to hold on to sixth place in the Eastern Conference, they'll likely face tonight's opponent, the Orlando Magic, in a first-round playoff series.

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The third-place Magic (45-24) extended its lead to 6 1/2 games over fourth-place Cleveland with a 104-90 home win over the Cavaliers on Monday night and trails second-place Detroit by 4 1/2 games.

If the first two games played between the Magic and Wizards this season provides any indication, the Wizards could be in a for a short playoff experience.

On Nov. 3, the Magic rode Hedo Turkoglu's 25 points to a comfortable 94-82 victory; and on March 5, six Orlando players scored in double figures and the Magic never trailed en route to an easy 122-92 win.

Both of those games were played at Verizon Center. The Wizards and Magic close the regular season at Orlando on April 16. The Magic has won eight of its last nine games, and a victory tonight would give the team a season-high six game winning streak.

Starting tonight, the Wizards play seven of the next eight games away from Verizon Center, and the lone home game is against Detroit (Saturday night).

"I haven't even looked at the upcoming stretch to tell you the truth," Wizards' center Brendan Haywood said. "I know we've got Orlando coming up and then Miami. Our focus is to try to beat Orlando because we may see them in the playoffs. After that, we have to let the chips fall where they may."

UP NEXT: Wednesday at Orlando 7 p.m. Comcast SportsNet, WTEM-980

Friday at Miami 7:30 p.m. Comcast SportsNet, WTEM-980

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