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It’s been fun so far, with plenty of surprise teams making a run at the brackets in the early going. And the Nets have turned into the Detroit Lions of basketball, starting 0-12. Wouldn’t 0-82 be awesome to see? Despite the roughness of the two-game stretch, the Celtics are jumping back to where we expected, something the Lakers are in the middle of doing. Also, who would’ve expected the Rockets to be in the race again without the presence of Yao Ming?
Three teams are unbeaten at home, while one is winless at home; every team has lost on the road, while five are winless away from home. With all the drama floating around, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Wednesday, November 18 at 11:00pm (sans the late games):
San Antonio is teetering on the brink of the bracket, while the Suns are shining bright. With two match-ups with the Mavericks within a week of each other, the Spurs will be a little worn out from the fierce competition. So far, only the Lakers and Magic have been losing affairs for the Suns. Comparing the competition they provided to that which the Spurs will provide (at least at this point), the Suns should streak forward relatively easily over the Spurs.
Denver is leading Dallas and the Lakers via tiebreakers, and is in line to face the Thunder. Both teams are 4-3 on the road, but Denver is one of the unbeaten teams at home. Add that to their performances last season, and Denver comes away with this one easily.
The second divisional series in the West features two good teams. Dallas is 1.5 games ahead of Houston in the Southwest Division, and is riding a three game win streak, and were locked in a close late game with the Spurs. Dallas won their first meeting November 20 121-103 at home, as well as getting a victory in the preseason, so the Mavericks should come out on top.
The Lakers looked good beating Detroit on Tuesday, while Portland was leading those same Pistons late Wednesday. With only 0.5 games separating the Lakers from the Blazers, these Detroit games provide a unique opportunity for these two to try to one up each other at Detroit’s expense. With this match so close, the Lakers might have to rely on their superior home record (6-2 vs. 3-2) to win this series.
Atlanta is the first East team to reach ten wins, while Indiana can thank Boston for being in the race. Indiana lost Wednesday to the Knicks of all teams, while the Hawks have won six straight, an NBA best. Atlanta takes the series easily.
Both teams are on winning streaks, but the Magic are ever so slightly better in record, home record, away record, and last 10 games record. The Magic beat Chicago in the preseason, so that puts the icing on the edge they have over the Bulls. However, it’s close enough so the Bulls could conceivably make a series out of it, like they did with the Celtics last year.
The Heat have dropped their last two, while Boston pulled away from Golden State after a close 1st half Wednesday. Overall, this looks a lot like the Magic/Bulls series. Similarly, expect the Celtics to have a better chance at winning, but the Heat will almost certainly make things interesting.
Here’s an interesting note: the Bucks are the division leaders, but they’re technically 0.5 games behind the Cavs. How? They have the same winning percentage but get the tiebreaker with their better division record. Cleveland lost to the ailing Wizards Wednesday, while the Bucks beat the Nets (any surprise there)? In their last game that meant something, Milwaukee lost to Dallas by two in overtime. No shame there. Milwaukee could definitely take this series; the Cavs are on pace to lose 27 1/3 games this year after losing just 16 last year (quite the demotion for a team with Lebron James and now Shaq).
Tags: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA Playoffs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trailblazers, San Antonio Spurs