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If the Playoffs Started Today – NBA Week 4

Spurs vs Celtics: Week 4's prediction for the NBA Finals

Welcome to the Thanksgiving edition of “If the Playoffs…” For this past week’s NBA action, the Hornets have built a losing streak, the Clippers have built a winning streak, and despite missing out on Rajon Rondo and beating Toronto, Boston is still on top of the East. Plenty of teams are still jostling for position (for example, the Spurs, Lakers, and Hornets), and plenty of teams still have a chance to make some noise. That’s especially the case in the perennially weak Eastern Conference, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Friday, November 26, before the day’s games:

West

#1 San Antonio Spurs vs #8 Denver Nuggets

In addition to being 7-1 at home, and having won their last 12, the powerhouse Spurs are 6-0 on the road. Denver is going to be very hard-pressed to even win one at home, much less in San Antonio. If the Spurs don’t complete the sweep, they’ll definitely win in five.

#2 Los Angeles Lakers vs #7 Portland Trailblazers

The Lakers are 13-2, and have already beaten the Blazers by 25 points. And they’re already 4.5 games ahead of the Blazers. Los Angeles has Kobe. They have the Zen Master. Lakers all the way.

#3 New Orleans Hornets vs #6 Oklahoma City Thunder

New Orleans has actually lost their last two, but they’re still unbeaten at home. Oklahoma is 5-1 on the road, and they have Kevin Durant, but New Orleans is still a good team. However, one of those losses was to the Clippers, so that has to give a Thunder series victory some credibility.

#5 Dallas Mavericks vs #4 Utah Jazz

Both teams have won their last three, and both are so similar. Both teams are well-equipped to steal a game or two on the other’s home court. Dallas only has home-court advantage now because of percentage. Utah is also a good team, but when in doubt, give the edge to the team with home-court. Plus, the team that has Kidd and Nowitzki.

East

#1 Boston Celtics vs #8 Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland started with some promise, but they’re slipping. Yes, they have beaten Boston already, but beating them 4/7, especially with Nate Robinson and Shaq doing so well in addition to the starters, is probably too much for most teams. Never mind one that doesn’t have LeBron anymore.

#2 Orlando Magic vs #7 New York Knicks

The Knicks are just 2-4 at Madison Square Garden. They are 6-4 on the road, but they’re still no match for the Magic. The Magic have Superman leading the way, while Amar’e Stoudemire’s knees are a concern for New York. Gotham might want to concentrate on the Yankees.

#3 Chicago Bulls vs #6 Miami Heat

The Heat have lost three in a row. Not what anyone expected from the new Big Three. Meanwhile, Chicago is 5-1 at home, and Derrick Rose is just as fun to watch as ever. The Heat are getting bored pretty quickly, so I might just have to give this one to Chicago.

#4 Atlanta Hawks vs #5 Indiana Pacers

Atlanta finally ended a three-game skid on Thanksgiving against Washington and remain with home-court advantage. Larry Bird’s Pacers are only half a game back, though. At this point, I’d have to say Hawks in seven if only because of Atlanta’s recent playoff experiences, but how Atlanta does in the playoffs will revolve largely on how they do at home from now on, whether or not they can do better than the 4-5 they are so far.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • Look for the Bucks to just eke out a spot at Cleveland’s expense in a conference record tiebreaker.
  • Assuming the Hornets win at home against San Antonio, look for the Lakers to take advantage and move into the #1 spot.

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