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Another week down, and despite the Christmas loss, the Celtics still have a comfortable lead. They and the Heat will be able to feast on first round jobbers at this rate. It looks like the Spurs will have a relatively easier time too; teams 2-6 in the West have each lost their last game, and the Lakers their last three. It’s a high in L.A. in that they’ve failed to outscore 85 points in three straight. Aside from the top two slots in each conference, no seed is safe, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Wednesday, December 29, before the day’s games:
The Rockets are back in the hunt, and it’s somehow without Yao Ming, whom Houston is shopping around just in case. The 27-4 Spurs are off to the best start in team history. There’s not really that much Houston can do, especially without Hakeem Olajuwon Part II.
With Dirk Nowitzki aching after landing awkwardly, it’s a good thing the Mavericks have some depth, and for that matter, one road loss. Denver is 4-10 away from Denver, and 4-6 in their last 10. Nowitzki doesn’t look to be out for long, so whatever disadvantage the Mavs have will be reversed quite quickly, allowing the Mavs to make a deep run.
Utah is holding onto the #3 spot by virtue of having beaten the Lakers already, while the Hornets? Well, one more road win than Denver. New Orleans has long since fallen back down to Earth after their great start, while the Jazz are still a threat to be dealt with.
Only half a game behind, the Thunder have all the tools necessary to pull off the victory. The Lakers have been struggling at points this season, and with the explosiveness of Kevin Durant, the Thunder could easily take advantage.
Boston has won 20 games in the conference; Milwaukee has only won 12 overall. Boston has been able to prove their mettle against the best of the best, and they usually come out on top. Milwaukee? Not so much.
Chicago may be ahead, but New York has already clinched the season series with their Christmas win. That’s a pair of eight-point victories for New York, one in each home city. New York has the edge, and it’s hard for Derrick Rose and co. to get even more explosive.
After losing eight of nine, Orlando has won their last four. Still, they’ve had issues with Atlanta this season. Atlanta’s only half a game behind Orlando, having one more road loss. Expect this series to be quite tough; Atlanta definitely has the potential to pick off a game or two in Orlando, which they’ve done already.
Tags: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA Playoffs, New Orleans Hornets, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz