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If the Playoffs Started Today – NBA Week 5

Lakers vs Magic: Week 5's Prediction for the NBA Finals

Another week, another set of shakeups. The Suns are dropping, and the Nets set a new NBA record Wednesday by dropping their 18th straight game to start the season. Washington and Charlotte are coming up nicely, while Milwaukee is slipping from early season highs. And our personal favorite, the Celtics, are starting to once again look like a contender, having won five straight and being 0.5 games behind the Magic for top seed in the East. How will the new happenings affect the standings? Let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Wednesday, December 2 at 11:15 p.m. (sans the late games):

West:

#1 Los Angeles Lakers vs. #8 Oklahoma City Thunder

The Lakers have won seven straight to start to take control of the West. The Thunder beat the 76ers Wednesday to slide back into the playoffs. Having won a muscular 11 home games already, the Lakers are making a strong push to repeat as champions, and should have little trouble with the Thunder.

#2 Dallas Mavericks vs. #7 Utah Jazz

The Jazz have won three straight to make it back into the playoffs, while the Mavericks have looked very well this year. However, Utah has a lackluster 3-4 road record. This will likely be a breaking point for them going into Mark Cuban’s lair, likely giving the Mavs a five-game win.

#3 Phoenix Suns vs. #6 San Antonio Spurs

After such a strong start, the Suns have lost two straight, while the Spurs have won five in a row. Still, Phoenix is unbeaten at home while San Antonio is 1-4 on the road. The Suns should pull off the victory against a Spurs team that has had problems in the playoffs for multiple seasons now.

#4 Denver Nuggets vs. #5 Portland Trailblazers

Portland won by two in the preseason while Denver won the first regular season match this year by three (both games in Portland). This points to a very close series, but Portland has had much more experience this season losing at home, giving the advantage to Denver.

East:

#1 Orlando Magic vs. #8 Charlotte Bobcats.

The Magic, at 15-4, are continuing to roll. The Bobcats are down to 7-10 (.412) after losing to the Celtics. If the Bobcats are having trouble against a powerful team like the Celtics, another powerful team like the Magic could do the same to them, though beating Cleveland could help Charlotte’s aura, though if Orlando plays smart they will have no problem showing Charlotte’s win was a fluke.

#2 Boston Celtics vs. #7 Chicago Bulls

The Celtics have an East best five-game win streak. Chicago has been wavering a little below .500 for some time now, and the Celtics haven’t had many issues with them yet. Overall, the Celtics should win this opening round rematch without the drama of last year.

#3 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. #6 Milwaukee Bucks

After a rocky start, Cleveland has opened up a 3.5-game divisional lead over Milwaukee. It looks to be a relatively easy victory for Cleveland based on road records (6-3 vs. 2-6), but each team will look to make their mark when they play each other twice in December.

#4 Atlanta Hawks vs. #5 Miami Heat

Here we have a rematch of last year’s first round, right down to the seeding. The Hawks defeated Miami on November 18 (and earlier in the preseason), so the edge goes once more to the Hawks, especially considering their terrific start and one home loss so far this year.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • If Indiana can knock off either Utah or Portland (they did knock off the Celtics after all), they have enough easy games upcoming to squeeze into the brackets.
  • With only two games this week (hosting Boston and Golden State), Oklahoma City could drop from the rankings if the closely following Kings or Rockets can get an upset victory along with their easier games.

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