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Halfway through the season, and there’s great fun in futility. The Cavs are on pace for 15 wins, and are eight losses away from breaking their own record for longest losing streak ever. The Wizards are 0-21 on the road. But the Spurs have a six-game lead over the Lakers, and Boston is still a relatively healthy 2.5 games ahead of the Heat. With injuries threatening multiple teams, there’s still plenty of time for the standings to get shaken up, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Tuesday, January 25, before the day’s games:
As of late, these two teams are going in completely opposite directions. Still 19-5 at home and with nine straight wins, the Hornets are back on track. The Jazz, on the other hand, have lost four in a row. They’re not necessarily done and roasted yet, but they’ll have to take great care to stand a chance.
With one less loss, Dallas still has home-court advantage. But they still have a long way to go to recover their luster from earlier in the season. With Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka, and others, the Thunder will be a huge challenge in the bracket this time around.
Key injuries showed something glaringly obvious about the Heat: without their Big Three, they’re ripe for the picking. But Philadelphia isn’t good in their own right, and James, Wade, and Bosh will all be back.
New York is only 3-7 in their last 10, but they do already hold two victories over Chicago this season, and with the Nets out of the way, they’ve been in the forefront of the ‘Melo discussions (provided Denver lowers their asking price). The Knicks may still need him, because Joakim Noah will be back and make the Bulls that much better.
Both teams are 29-16, but Atlanta is 2-1 against Orlando this season. Orlando seems to be evening out after the mega trades, while Atlanta is 8-2 in its last 10, and 15-9 on the road (a huge improvement, including a win in Miami on January 18). The way these two are shaping up, it could go either way, and should go at least six games (more than likely seven).
Tags: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Charlotte Bobcats, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, NBA Playoffs, New Orleans Hornets, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz