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If the Playoffs Started Today – NBA Week 6

Lakers vs Magic: Week 6's prediction for the NBA Finals

Things are hot, with both conferences’ 8 seeds leading their closets contenders by half a game. The West is once again making its case for the elite conference, with not one team below .500 team in sight of a playoff spot. Speaking of which, the Nets actually won last week. Twice. And they’re only 15.5 games back of the 1 seed and 7.5 back of the 8 seed, so there’s still plenty of room and time for them to move up. Not likely. But enough bashing the league’s patsy team; there’s been plenty of movement in the seeding in the past week, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Wednesday December 9 at 11:15pm (sans the late game):

West:

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

LA has now won a league-best nine straight, making them undefeated since the return of Pau Gasol. With the Lakers playing the way they are, does anyone really expect them to not sweep a team like the Thunder?

#2 Denver Nuggets vs. #7 Houston Rockets

Denver lost to Charlotte of all teams Tuesday, while Houston beat Cleveland of all teams Wednesday. The Rockets are looking pretty decent, and even though the Nuggets should win, the Rockets have everything they need to knock off Denver if Denver isn’t careful; Houston even took the Lakers to seven games last year.

#3 Dallas Mavericks vs. #6 Utah Jazz

Dallas won a one-point squeaker over Phoenix Tuesday, while Utah was locked in a close late match on the road against the Lakers Wednesday. The Mavericks have struggled in the playoffs ever since losing the NBA Finals, while the Jazz haven’t made much of an impact since they opposed Michael Jordan and the Bulls. Actually leading their division again, the Mavericks have done very well for themselves this season, and have the home record to trounce Utah.

#4 Phoenix Suns vs. #5 Portland Trailblazers

Phoenix has been slipping ever since their strong start, losing two straight, while Portland took a game in Indiana Wednesday. Still, Phoenix remains unbeaten at home. Phoenix should be able to use this to pick up the win, and has the match-up to take a game in Portland as insurance.

East:

#1 Orlando Magic vs. #8 Detroit Pistons

Detroit has won three straight, but remains at 9-12. Orlando has won six straight, though, and has a vastly superior advantage in the home/away match-up, in both categories. Detroit has had a tough time in recent years, and this year looks to be no different.

#2 Boston Celtics vs. #7 Charlotte Bobcats

Do we really need to mention anything here? After 33 and18-point victories, will the Celtics really run into problems? Charlotte is not Atlanta, here.

#3 Atlanta Hawks vs. #6 Milwaukee Bucks

Atlanta’s 9-2 home record against Milwaukee’s 2-8 road record leaves no question who the winner will be here. Even at the 6 seed, Milwaukee is still under .500 at 10-11. This is just another example of a sub-par team getting into the playoffs because the East needs to send eight teams, especially after the Hawks have won against Dallas and Chicago to feel better after losing to the Knicks.

#4 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. #5 Miami Heat

After a tough loss in Houston, Cleveland slips a spot, giving us a look at what might have been if Miami had won game seven in Atlanta last year. Cleveland has lost two straight, but LeBron can only lose for so long before picking things up again, especially with Shaq having his back. Miami will have to charge forward with much vigor if they want to win this one. Cleveland has already lost to Charlotte, so that might not be too much of a stretch.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • Boston could take the East’s top spot if Orlando has trouble in Phoenix.
  • The Spurs should take over the Thunder’s spot based on more games and easier opponents.

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