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If the Playoffs Started Today – NBA Week 5

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

Another week gone, and we’re coming up on LeBron’s return to Cleveland, which is sure to result in military activity not seen within U.S. borders since the Civil War. And for the first time in recent memory, the last playoff team from the West has a losing record. Chicago and Indiana are continuing to fight for the division lead in LeBron’s absence. The Lakers have lost three straight, and are down to #4 in the West; who would’ve thunk’t? Atlanta doesn’t know whether or not it should be good, and is currently the East’s #3. With so many teams still bundled together, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Wednesday, December 1, before the day’s games:

West

#1 San Antonio Spurs vs #8 Portland Trailblazers

The Spurs are 15-2; the Blazers are 8-9 and have lost four in a row. This one can’t end well for Portland.

#2 Dallas Mavericks vs #7 Denver Nuggets

Both teams are doing well lately, but the Nuggets are just 3-5 on the road, to Dallas‘ 6-1. That, coupled with home-court advantage will seal the deal for Mark Cuban and co.

#3 Utah Jazz vs #6 Oklahoma City Thunder

Thunder have Durant and Westbrook. Each team has already won a road game in the season series, but Utah won by 21 points. Still, this could legitimately go either way. In such a case, the home team gets the slight edge.

#4 Los Angeles Lakers vs #5 New Orleans Hornets

Neither team has been doing well lately. The Lakers have been playing “individual basketball” according to Phil Jackson, and the Hornets have lost four of their last five, but are still half a game behind the Lakers. Still, come playoff time, Kobe, Gasol, and Jackson never take things lightly.

East

#1 Boston Celtics vs #8 Cleveland Cavaliers

By now, we’ve all heard about how Boston mopped the floor with Cleveland on Tuesday. At 7-10 against 13-4, there’s not much Cleveland can do about this match-up.

#2 Orlando Magic vs #7 New York Knicks

New York is 10-9, looking to finally make the playoffs again, but they haven’t even compiled a winning record at MSG. Orlando, meanwhile, is 9-2 at Amway Arena. And they’re 10-2 in conference play. And they’ve won four in a row. Orlando should have no problem with this one.

#3 Atlanta Hawks vs #6 Miami Heat

What’s going on with the Hawks? They win six, then lose four, then win two, then lose three, and now they’ve won three. The Heat have only gotten winning streaks of four and three games, and other than that, have been largely disappointing. The Hawks may be streaky, but the Heat are playing against themselves just as much as their opponents.

#4 Chicago Bulls vs #5 Indiana Pacers

Chicago just finished a road trip 4-3, after alternating wins and losses. One of those wins was in Dallas, so good for them. Then again, the Pacers did win in L.A. against the Lakers, but does that mean as much during the Lakers’ recent skid? Chicago has only lost one home game, to the Knicks, while Indiana’s road losses have come in San Antonio and Philadelphia. This is another one where it’s so close, you pretty much have to go with the home team.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • Phoenix visits Portland next Tuesday, and the final playoff slot out West will almost Certainly be on the line.
  • Due to an extra game, look for the Magic to take over the top spot from Boston.

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