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If the Playoffs Started Today – NBA Week 15

Cavaliers vs Lakers: Week 15's prediction for the NBA Finals

We’ve seen a lot of seed juggling over the past week. Utah’s former nine-game win streak helped, but Cleveland is opening a wide lead thanks to their active 12-game win streak. Two non-division leaders are in the #3 positions, because of Utah’s performance and Boston’s failure to capitalize on a rough Hawks’ loss. There’s still plenty of room to replace playoff teams as well.

And in weekly Nets-watch news, New Jersey is 4-48 on an eight-game losing streak. So with New Jersey’s talent being telepathically transmitted to several other teams, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Wednesday, February 10 at 11:40pm:

West:

#1 Los Angeles Lakers vs #8 Portland Trailblazers

Los Angeles marched right into Utah Wednesday and snapped the Jazz’s nine-game win streak and made it look easy. Portland did the same to Phoenix, though it wasn’t as easy. L.A. has a five game lead over the Nuggets, while Portland led by two over Houston and New Orleans, and trails the Lakers by 10.5 games. With a 25-4 home record, the Lakers will be able to hold off Portland with relative ease.

#2 Denver Nuggets vs #7 San Antonio Spurs

Both of these teams do well at home, but are sub-.500 on the road. Denver is better against the West, and in their last 10 games. San Antonio has the potential to make a run at an upset, but momentum has the Nuggets pushing their edge further and further away from San Antonio. Look for Denver to win in six or seven.

#3 Utah Jazz vs #6 Phoenix Suns

Utah’s nine-game streak just ended, as did the Suns’ five-game streak. Phoenix is 6-4 in their last 10, while Utah is 9-1. Utah is only two games ahead, and not too long ago was fighting for a playoff spot. Phoenix could definitely make this series interesting, and it is definitely possible for this series to be drawn out.

#4 Dallas Mavericks vs #5 Oklahoma City Thunder

Oklahoma is riding a six-game winning streak, while Dallas absorbed a humiliating 36 point loss in Denver Tuesday. After those performances, Dallas is only ahead by 1.5 games. And Kevin Durant is physically incapable of scoring less than 25 points a game for the Thunder. Dallas is itching to make another run at the title, while Oklahoma is looking for their first playoff appearance as the Thunder. With each team having their strengths, I wouldn’t be surprised either way.

East:

#1 Cleveland Cavaliers vs #8 Chicago Bulls

With a 25-26 record following a home beat-down against Orlando, Chicago would face off against a 12-game winning streak and by far the NBA’s best team? At 23-3 at home and 19-8 on the road, Cleveland will have no problem pulling off their third sweep in two years.

#2 Orlando Magic vs #7 Miami Heat

On paper, Orlando has a massive advantage. But don’t count out the Heat just yet. Miami won 94-76 in Atlanta Wednesday, which shows how well they can be. And when you consider that Orlando has performed rather similarly to Atlanta, Miami could attempt a run, though Orlando should still have a pretty easy time.

#3 Atlanta Hawks vs #6 Charlotte Bobcats

Atlanta had its problems, while Charlotte only managed a one point victory in the closing seconds in Minnesota. Both teams have been well at home this year, but worse on the road, though Charlotte has been quite iffy in that category. Charlotte does not know how to deal with an extended postseason run, which only further Atlanta’s advantage.

#4 Boston Celtics vs #5 Toronto Raptors

Toronto has won three in a row while Boston has lost their last two. All of a sudden, the once mighty Celtics are four games away from losing home court advantage. Defensive lapses are hurting them, specifically the 3rd quarter. Boston can’t seem to get it together, but they’ll have to quickly, or else the Raptors will mow them down without nearly as much effort as there should be.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • With the All-Star Break resulting in a short schedule until next Wednesday, there’s not much room for anything important to happen.

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