|Notes and Observations Week 15: Patriots Blow Out Dolphins 41-13; Clinch AFC East||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Defense, Special Teams Carry Home Team||Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 15||Right Idea? Red Sox Bring in Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson|
The Celtics have a decent lead, but someone lit a fire under Miami, who’s holding steady. Dallas finally dropped a game to give San Antonio a bit of a cushion. Each playoff team finally has ten wins, and the Spurs have become the first to 20. It’s still very close in the middle, and several teams could still make it into the top eight in any week, especially in the poor 60% of the East. With five ongoing winning streaks of at least five games, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Wednesday, December 15, before the day’s games:
The Spurs are now 20-3, having lost to New Orleans, Dallas, and for some reason, the Clippers. Portland is still a pitiful 5-10 on the road, and now they would have to go through San Antonio right off the bat. They just lost there this past Sunday 95-78, actually. Not a good start.
Dallas finally lost 103-99 to Milwaukee. Fortunately for them, the Hornets have lost their last three. The last several teams to be the final unbeaten in the NBA have made it to at least the NBA Finals, but the Hornets are looking to break that streak, and maybe even miss out on the playoffs entirely. If they do make it, Dallas will be all too happy to knock them out.
The Lakers are back up to #3, despite Phil Jackson losing in his latest return to Chicago. Denver has been back and forth in the past week, and Carmelo Anthony is rumored to eventually wind up with the Knicks. If he does leave, and he probably will, the Lakers will mop the floor with the Nuggets, not that they needed help.
The Thunder are finally starting to build some room against the teams below them, and are closing in on the teams above. Both of these teams are good at home and away, though Utah is 11-5 at home. One of those five? Oklahoma City. This will be a tough one, but without having to face the Lakers in Round 1, Kevin Durant will do even better.
Boston is 19-4 (10-1 at home), and has won their last 10. They might not face a challenge until the re-retooled Miami Heat come along. Let alone the 10-13 Milwaukee Bucks, even though the Bucks did just end Dallas’ streak.
Miami has won their last nine to arrive at 18-8 after a perplexing start. At 11-12, Indiana really can’t hope to knock off this Heat team. They’ll need to get some winning streaks going big time if they want to beat a team like Miami.
Tom Thibodeau has led the Bulls to six straight wins and the East’s outright third best record. They’re 5-6 on the road, but 10-2 at home. The Hawks are an even 8-5 at each. But the Bulls are strong as of late, and the Hawks have gone downhill since their terrific start to the season. With the way the Bulls have been playing, the Hawks might just lose out on the second round.
The Magic have been great this season, except during the last six games, when they’ve only managed to beat the Clippers. The Knicks have won eight in a row, and 13 of their last 14. They did lose six in a row before that, but lately they’ve really stepped it up. At this point, the Knicks are clearly the better team; when’s the last time you heard that?
Tags: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA Playoffs, New Orleans Hornets, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Portland Trailblazers, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz