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If the Playoffs Started Today – NBA Week 9

Spurs vs Celtics: Week 9's prediction for the NBA Finals

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:

West

#1 San Antonio Spurs vs #8 Houston Rockets

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.

#2 Dallas Mavericks vs #7 Denver Nuggets

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.

#3 Utah Jazz vs #6 New Orleans Hornets

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.

#4 Los Angeles Lakers vs #5 Oklahoma City Thunder

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.

East

#1 Boston Celtics vs #8 Milwaukee Bucks

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.

#2 Miami Heat vs #7 Indiana Pacers

The Heat just don’t lose very often right now. But the Pacers do; they’re only .500 at home. Just like the Celtics, expect Miami to roll through the first round.

#3 Chicago Bulls vs #6 New York Knicks

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.

#4 Orlando Magic vs #5 Atlanta Hawks

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.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • If New York ruffles some feathers in Orlando, look for the Hawks to get home-court over Orlando.
  • Portland hosts the Rockets on Sunday, which should give Portland the last spot with a win.

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