The Bullets, on a four-game winning streak, trail the Chicago Bulls by only one game with 10 left to play, seven of them at home. But they still face a difficult road to their 13th straight playoff appearance.
The Bullets (35-37) lost the season series to the Bulls (36-36), 5-1. If the Bullets tie the Bulls for the sixth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association, the Bulls will get a berth. Chicago plays seven of its last 10 on the road.
The Bullets play at New Jersey Wednesday and have road games with Boston March 20 and Indiana March 27. They have home games remaining with Indiana, Boston, Atlanta, New York, Detroit and Cleveland (two).
Chicago has yet to play Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Atlanta at home. The Bulls must face Atlanta, New York, Kansas City, Cleveland, Detroit and Indiana on the road.
The final day of the regular season is March 29, when the Bullets host Cleveland and the Pacers host Chicago.
Under the National Basketball Association playoff format, six teams from each conference make the playoffs. The winners of each division automatically receive a first-round bye, while the other four teams participate in a three game miniseries.
If the Bullets overtake the Bulls and reach the playoffs, they will face either Boston or Philadelphia, whichever team finishes second in the Atlantic Division, in a three-game series. Only one of the games would be played at Capital Centre.
The Bullets were in a similar position last year. They clinched their playoff spot on the last day of the season, then lost two straight to the 76ers.