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If the Playoffs Started Today – NBA Week 22

Cavaliers vs Lakers: Week 22's prediction for the NBA Finals

We start off with some sad news: thanks to a victory Monday, the New Jersey Nets now have 10 wins, and will not set the record for worst ever NBA record. A Native American is now shedding a single tear in lament. Boston has also slipped a spot after another rough spot; at least Miami is threatening to move into Milwaukee’s spot in the meantime. Phoenix is also on fire, pushing Denver back to #5. (Imagine that; the two hot teams are the Suns and the Heat. Someone tell Leno.)

Three teams not in the brackets are still mathematically in it, but only Chicago has a decent shot. And I doubt that’ll happen, with their troubles dropping them 2.0 games behind Toronto. Even though two weeks remain in the season, some major changes could still occur, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Thursday, April 1 at 12:45am

West:

#1 Los Angeles Lakers vs #8 San Antonio Spurs

The Lakers may have lost their last two, but they’re still the Lakers. The Spurs lost to the Nets. How do you think this one will turn out?

#2 Dallas Mavericks vs #7 Portland Trailblazers

The Mavericks have joined the 50-win club, while the Blazers have won their last four. The surprising part is that Portland is 3-0 against Dallas, including both Dallas games. At least the average margin of victory was only six points, so the Mavericks could still pick it up when things really count. It’ll be interesting to see what happens, though.

#3 Utah Jazz vs #6 Oklahoma City Thunder

Oklahoma won a nice see-saw battle with Boston, while the Jazz now hold a 1.5-game lead over Denver for the division. But the Thunder are leading this season series 3-0, winning by an average of 6.333 points. With Kevin Durant continuing to put up huge numbers, Utah had better pray to Joseph Smith, or at least Mitt Romney, that they can cool Durant off.

#4 Phoenix Suns vs #5 Denver Nuggets

The Suns have won their last nine to give themselves a winning road record. Denver has been trying to get better and get a desirable seed again, but they likely don’t have what it takes to beat a streaking Suns team. If Phoenix keeps playing like this, they’ll be #2 in no time.

East:

#1 Cleveland Cavaliers vs #8 Toronto Raptors

Cleveland is absolutely packed with all star caliber players, while the Raptors are struggling to finish better than .500 and Hedo Turkoglu would apparently rather go out cruising for chicks at the clubs than play. That combination will spell certain doom in mercifully quick fashion or Toronto.

#2 Orlando Magic vs #7 Charlotte Bobcats

Charlotte is pretty much going to end up #7, as Orlando will #2. That will allow each team some extra time to prepare for each other, Still, Orlando is an elite team, and Charlotte has never been to the playoffs. With Michael Jordan in a luxury box instead of on the court, the Bobcats won’t get very far.

#3 Atlanta Hawks vs #6 Miami Heat

Miami is on a roll, and won the season series, so who’s going to argue with them? Atlanta will, since they easily beat the Lakers Wednesday 109-92. This series has the potential to be a thriller, especially after these two faced off last year. Speaking of which, expect this series to be relatively similar.

#4 Boston Celtics vs #5 Milwaukee Bucks

On Wednesday, Boston lost at home to OKC by five, while the Bucks lost in Cleveland by just three. Both teams have had their ups and downs, and face off twice in five days at the season’s end. Both teams want a victory to prove to themselves they deserve to be where they are, and if either team can use those two regular season games to make an emphatic statement, that will be the team to advance.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • If Phoenix can get it done in Milwaukee, then they’ll improve and let Miami try to move in line to face Boston.

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