Connelly’s Top Ten: Trade Deadline Fun, Top of Boston Area, Left Field Mashers David Price will be joining an already strong Tigers rotation. (Photo by Scott Iskowitz/Getty Images) Tigers Acquire David Price From Rays in Trade Deadline Blockbuster Céspedes brings a powerful bat to Fenway Park...until he becomes a free agent after 2015. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) Flurry of trades leaves Red Sox in state of uncertainty Chicago White Sox v Boston Red Sox Red Sox Trade Andrew Miller for Top 100 Prospect Rodriguez

If the Playoffs Started Today – NBA Week 3

Hornets vs Celtics: Week 3's prediction for the NBA Finals

Last year, the Nets threatened to break the NBA’s 82-game season-worst 9-73 (.110) record of the 1972-1973 Philadelphia 76ers, and this year, the Clippers are on pace for 7-75. So who’s Blake Griffin again? Stay tuned each week for updates on that, but for now, all teams have finally lost a game, and the Spurs have joined the Hornets (winning percentage) and Lakers (games back) atop the West. In the East, Old Man River(s) has led the Old Men Celtics to the top. If the Red Sox’ injury situation was a precursor, that won’t last long.

Boston, New Orleans, and Golden State have yet to lose a home game, while San Antonio and Dallas haven’t lost on the road. Every team has a home win, but the Clippers and Wizards haven’t won on the road. This early in the season, teams still have chances to go on runs, though things are setting up nicely, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Wednesday, November 17, before the day’s games:

West

#1 New Orleans Hornets vs #8 Oklahoma City Thunder

Despite being #8, the Thunder are still pretty good at 6-4; that’s the West for you. Meanwhile, the Hornets lost their first game Monday in Dallas by three. That’s pretty good considering Dallas is 7-2. Kevin Durant can’t do everything, and the Hornets will be all too happy to prove it.

#2 San Antonio Spurs vs #7 Phoenix Suns

San Antonio is 8-1, riding a seven-game winning streak. Phoenix has won its last three, but they’re no San Antonio. Phoenix isn’t having the start they had last season; San Antonio’s having it instead. Things could still change later, but for now, San Antonio is the better team.

#3 Los Angeles Lakers vs #6 Golden State Warriors

At 7-4, and 5-0 at home, Golden State is much better than almost everybody thought they’d be, but it’s never wise to bet against Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant, and the Lakers early in the playoffs, especially to a team that’s not used to the environment.

#5 Dallas Mavericks vs #4 Utah Jazz

The Jazz have yet to lose against the East, but that won’t do any good until the NBA Finals. They have a knack for comebacks, but that mojo ended Monday versus the Thunder. But with the Mavericks having complied a 7-2 record via some impressive victories, and without a road loss to their names yet, Dallas should do just fine.

East

#1 Boston Celtics vs #8 Indiana Pacers

Even most of the East’s playoff teams, like the Pacers, are sub-.500, not very good, or both. With all of Boston‘s talent, and the luxury of being able to rest key players during the end of the regular season, Boston will cruise easily like last season.

#2 Orlando Magic vs #7 Milwaukee Bucks

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Stan Van Gundy is not only adorable, but he’s leading a very talented Magic team. The Bucks are 5-6. Magic all the way.

#3 Chicago Bulls vs #6 Cleveland Cavaliers

Without LeBron James on the Cavaliers, the Bulls are the team to beat in the Central Division. So in order to win, Cleveland has to ask themselves, “What should I do? Should I pretend to be fouled? Should I spread rumors about their players? Should I practice extra hard? Should I eat a doughnut which has nothing to do with this commercial? Or should I just disappear?” The Cavs’ll probably just end up disappearing.

#4 Atlanta Hawks vs #5 Miami Heat

Miami seems to love the #5 seed; they’ve been there the past two years, including facing #4 Atlanta in 2009. Atlanta’s doing well as always, while Miami has stumbled, and LeBron has already thrown his coach under the bus. This’ll probably end like last season for LeBron, when he got bored and stopped trying.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • If Dallas can complete the home-and-home sweep on New Orleans Wednesday, they’ll do a lot for their stock, which is more than can be said of actual stock nowadays.
  • Denver is just 2-4 on the road, but if they can make some noise in contenders Portland and Golden State, coupled with a home game against New Jersey, they’ll rocket up the rankings, likely at Phoenix’ expense.

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