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If the Playoffs Started Today – NBA Week 0

Boston Celtics vs San Antonio Spurs, Week 0's prediction for the NBA Finals

It might seem a little soon to start this column after the second day of games, but there’s already been some interesting developments. Besides, this is the only way the Timberwolves and Thunder will make it in, so I’ll humor them. The Wizards were the first team to reach 100 points in a game, and the Pacers were the first to reach 100 in a game and lose. The Bobcats scored a miserable 59 points all game long against the C’s. Michael Jordan could beat that by himself. We’re even looking at a rematch of a classic series from last year in this prototype bracket. So with that in mind, let’s look at what the playoffs would look like if the playoffs started as of Wednesday, October 28 at 11:00pm (sans the late games):

West:

#1 San Antonio Spurs vs. #8 Denver Nuggets

The Spurs started off nicely against the Hornets, while the Nuggets debuted at home against the Jazz late. The Spurs have wavered lately in the postseason, while the Nuggets can’t seem to get past the Lakers. With both teams looking to prove themselves, this one could go either way.

#2 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. #7 Golden State Warriors

Oklahoma may be #2 right now, but it would’ve been more convincing against a team better than the Kings. The Warriors, meanwhile, debuted at home against Houston late. These two teams don’t usually come to mind when you think of the postseason, making this an interesting contest that could also go either way.

#3 Portland Trail Blazers vs. #6 Utah Jazz

The Blazers beat the Rockets Tuesday, but that should be a regular occurrence with Yao Ming taking the year off to recover from foot surgery. The Jazz debuted in Denver late, but you can bet that they’ll be wanting something other than the 8 seed so they don’t have to face the Lakers again. The Jazz could use that focus to take down Portland, especially since they finished two games ahead of Portland in the preseason.

#4 Los Angeles Lakers vs. #5 Minnesota Timberwolves

The Lakers started the season with a “home” victory against the Clippers, though only by seven points. Minnesota eked out a two point victory in literally the closing seconds against the Nets. All in all, the Lakers are clearly the better team; Minnesota may be wishing they had Kevin Garnett back for this match-up.

East:

#1 Boston Celtics vs. #8 Chicago Bulls

We loved these two last year, and we can only hope we can see them face off again. I’d love to see the number of overtimes in each game be decided by a random number generator again. Chicago debuts at home Thursday against the Spurs, while Boston successfully won in Cleveland for the first time in nine games. They then went on to whip Charlotte like Charlotte owed them money. Boston takes the series, no question.

#2 Miami Heat vs. #7 Washington Wizards

The Heat looked good against the Knicks; ditto for the Wizards against the Mavs. However, the Mavs are a better opponent. Add to that a better preseason warmup, and the Wizards could be moving on to the second round.

#3 Orlando Magic vs. #6 Toronto Raptors

The Magic look to get back to the NBA Finals, while the Raptors look to get back to the playoffs period. The Magic defeated last season’s playoff opening opponent Philadelphia with an NBA high 120 points in the game (shared with Atlanta). The Raptors pulled off what can only be called an upset against the Cavaliers. The Raptors could make this quite the interesting series with further upset victories.

#5 Atlanta Hawks vs. #4 Detroit Pistons

Yes, the 5 seed has home court advantage against the 4 seed, due to the NBA’s rule about deciding the advantage by record, and the Hawks having won a game against the East (Pacers). Detroit had the bigger margin of victory in their game (22 to 11). Both teams were swept last year by the Cavaliers, so both will be looking to avoid further embarrassment.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • Cleveland has upcoming games against the Timberwolves, Bobcats, and Wizards; this should provide them with a nice opportunity to get back into the swing of things.
  • The Lakers face Dallas, Atlanta, and Oklahoma City; they could improve their position here as well.
  • After a late game in Denver, the Jazz will face the Clippers, Rockets, and Mavericks, giving them a good shot to come out of the gate running.

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