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If the Playoffs Started Today – NBA Week 10

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

Another week into the season, and Boston is losing some credibility, and donating it to Miami. First a losing streak, and then Minnesota almost beats Boston. Some complacency, some abysmal “officiating,” and that’s what you get. The James-less Cavaliers are dangerously close to being the worst team in the NBA. The Spurs continue to crush all opposition, and the Lakers, Kobe, and the Zen Master are having a squabble that might appear on “Maury” soon. There’s plenty of excitement afoot, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Tuesday, January 4, before the day’s games:

West

#1 San Antonio Spurs vs #8 Portland Trail Blazers

At 29-4, San Antonio continues to be the odds-on favorite to take the title. Portland is pretty good themselves, but 6-13 on the road is no recipe to take down a #1.

#2 Dallas Mavericks vs #7 New Orleans Hornets

New Orleans has won their last three, but Dallas is 6-4 in their last 10, same as the Hornets. The Hornets are just 7-10 on the road, but that includes recent wins in Boston and Washington. Still, at 25-8, the Mavericks are no slouch.

#3 Utah Jazz vs #6 Denver Nuggets

Denver has won their last four, but is still just 5-10 on the road, despite being 15-3 at home. Utah has done a much better job of spacing out home and road losses, so that they can have a good job of winning anywhere. At that rate, Utah will have enough energy and home games to pull out the win.

#4 Los Angeles Lakers vs #5 Oklahoma City Thunder

Oklahoma City is doing well for themselves, just a game behind the Jazz. The Lakers, meanwhile, are having a bit of an identity crisis. Phil Jackson is mad at the Black Mamba for trying to play one-on-five. If the trouble in paradise keeps up, the Thunder have more than enough weapons to take advantage.

East

#1 Boston Celtics vs #8 Milwaukee Bucks

Boston did beat Minnesota in a comeback, but they shouldn’t have had to. At 13-18, the Bucks are having a rough time of it, but they’re in the right conference. Still, Rondo is back, KG didn’t completely screw up his leg, and Perkins will be back eventually. With a bit of rest, the Celtics will be raring to go.

#2 Miami Heat vs #7 Indiana Pacers

It’s nearly impossible to beat the Heat lately. Wade, James and Bosh are all gelling quite nicely, and Indiana is just not in a good position to take down the juggernaut that Miami has become.

#3 Chicago Bulls vs #6 New York Knicks

With four straight wins, Derrick Rose is leading a surging Bulls team and making a decent case for MVP. The Knicks are 5-5 in their last 10, but that’s a far cry from what they were hoping for. The Knicks may have won the battle on Christmas, but the Bulls are looking like they might win the war.

#4 Orlando Magic vs #5 Atlanta Hawks

Orlando has won its last six, with Hedo Turkoglu even getting a triple-double in the process. The Hawks are getting better, and are now above .500 on the road. The new-look Magic are getting good too, though. It looks like the trades shook some sense into Orlando, and four games in Orlando could lock it up.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • Don’t be surprised if Miami takes the top spots, with Boston facing the Spurs and going to Chicago.
  • Philly may be 1.5 games behind the Bucks, but if they can win in Detroit, they should launch themselves into #8.

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