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It’s been a fun week. The Bulls lost to the Nuggets when a basket, under review, was deemed fired off too late. The Celtics and Suns continue to impress. And Milwaukee leading the division? Pabst Blue Ribbon is a more popular Wisconsin product. And we’ve got the Mavs holding onto the division over the Spurs, and the Rockets too. We also have a surprise entrant into the bracket in Sacramento, which is on pace to more than double its win total from last season. This is not to mention that Orlando now in third place in the Southeast Division. So with so much fun going on in the playoff situation, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Wednesday, November 11 at 11:15pm (sans the late games):
The Kings squeaked their way into the rankings on a three-game win streak, but Phoenix has one of those too, and looked good in the early minutes of a late game against New Orleans. Everyone is surprised at how these two teams are doing, but the Suns, once enough games have been played to stabilize the standings, have had much more success in recent years to give the Kings much of a chance.
The defending champs are looking just as good as last year, on a 6-1 start. San Antonio has slipped a little early on, barely clinging to a playoff spot at 4-3 after winning two straight. The Lakers’ only loss so far was against the Spurs’ rival Dallas, who San Antonio defeated Wednesday night. Reviewing those two games to learn what would and wouldn’t work against the Lakers could turn this series into something similar to the Lakers vs. Rockets series last year.
After catching the biggest of breaks to beat the Bulls by one point, the Nuggets lost to the Central Division leader Milwaukee. After a great start, the Nuggets have fallen from the top of the pack to #3. The Rockets are continuing to hold their own without their star Yao Ming. We’ll see how long they can keep it up once people start to take the new Rockets more seriously.
Portland has won four straight to shoot up in the standings, now tied with Denver. Dallas is clinging to their division lead, tied with Houston. Both teams are looking pretty similar so far, and the Blazers, who have a 0.5 game advantage over the Mavs, could make this a fun series, given their slightly better conference and road records.
Three division titlists are tied for their lead, two others have a 0.5 game lead, and the Celtics stand out with a mighty 3.5 game lead over Toronto and Philadelphia. While other teams are worried about their close status in their divisions and trying to jockey for position, as the Pistons (1.0 games back) are doing, the Celtics will be able to cruise through and concentrate on each game as it comes. With a perfect road record, Boston should have no problem with the Eastern Conference Finals rematch of two years ago.
The Heat have been doing quite well for themselves, jumping right back into the thick of the playoff race. After getting the short end of the stick, the Heat have a good chance to move on against the Raptors, if they can keep it up and fend off Toronto‘s attack. With Hedo Turkoglu bringing some experience from the Magic to Toronto this season, we can’t be so quick to dismiss Toronto and any surprises they might be able to come with.
The Hawks will be looking for revenge of their sweep at Cleveland’s hands last year. With an impressive win Wednesday over Orlando, to exact their own revenge, Cleveland shook off some demons and showed they still have it. It’ll be a drawn out series based on what we’ve seen so far, and with these two not facing each other until December 29 and 30, we’ll have to wait a while to see what these two can do against each other this season.
Congratulations, Bucks, you’re in the top four after holding a division lead, though barely over Cleveland. The bad news, you’re in line to face the defending Eastern Conference champions. Your most recent game resulting in a victory over Denver was nice, but you’re still not as good percentage wise as the Magic. Try if you can, but Orlando should win in five, or six if they’re feeling a tad sloppy.
Tags: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA Playoffs, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trailblazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors