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If the Playoffs Started Today – NBA Week 15

Spurs vs Celtics: Week 15's prediction for the NBA Finals

Kobe Bryant has played more games than Michael Jordan, Ray Allen needs two more threes to break Reggie Miller’s record, and the Cavaliers have now lost more games in a row (25) than the previous record holder, Cleveland. Yes, there’s plenty of exciting things happening in the NBA lately. Of course, San Antonio’s still running away with everything, but the rest of the league is fairly close to each other, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Tuesday, February 8, before the day’s games:

West

#1 San Antonio Spurs vs #8 Portland Trail Blazers

San Antonio is still the team to beat. Their only two home losses (New Orleans and Dallas) were their first two losses of the season. Portland may have won at home on the first of the month, but they still haven’t come close to beating San Antonio at home.

#2 Dallas Mavericks vs #7 Denver Nuggets

Make it nine straight for Cuban’s crew. Denver‘s not too good on the road, and they even just lost at home to Houston. With Nowitzki back in tow, the Mavericks are back to normal. They’re too much for the Nuggets right now, especially if this Nuggets/Knicks/Timberwolves deal goes through.

#3 Los Angeles Lakers vs #6 Utah Jazz

To see the Jazz at #6 and think they’ll be an easy out would be to fall into a trap series. The Jazz are 14-12 on the road, and 17-10 in the Land of 10,000 Wives. They have playoff experience, and can give anyone troubles. I’d still expect the Lakers to win, but the Jazz’ll test ‘em.

#4 Oklahoma City Thunder vs #5 New Orleans Hornets

The Thunder have won their last three while the Hornets have lost their last three, most recently at home to Minnesota. The Thunder are rolling, while the Hornets are rolling gutter balls, so the Thunder have the clear edge right now.

East

#1 Boston Celtics vs #8 Indiana Pacers

Boston has no business losing to Charlotte. The worse a team is, the worse Boston plays against them. Since Indiana is on a four-game winning streak right now, that might be good news for Boston. Still, with the elderly in Boston’s lineup dropping like flies, Indiana has a good a shot as any lesser team of the upset victory.

#2 Miami Heat vs #7 Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia might want to give thought to throwing a few games to avoid facing the Heat. The Heat have won six in a row, and with a healthy Big Three, Miami is insanely difficult to defeat.

#3 Chicago Bulls vs #6 New York Knicks

Chicago may have lost two in a row, but the Knicks are playing iffy lately. Chicago’s 23-4 home record, along with Boston, is the NBA’s second best. One of those four was to New York, but that was over three months ago. Chicago has stabilized since then, and is a very good team.

#4 Atlanta Hawks vs #5 Orlando Magic

Orlando is now 1.5 games behind Atlanta, and is 5-5 in their last 10. Atlanta is 7-3 in their last 10, including wins in their last three. Now that the Hawks have gotten quite good on the road (now 16-11), they’re starting to become a favorite in this series instead of a toss-up. It’ll still be close, but Atlanta holds that slight edge.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • Boston has two very difficult home games against the Lakers and Heat, which gives Miami a good chance of taking over #1 in the East.
  • If Charlotte can find a way to win in Indiana, they’ll have a good chance of taking over for Indiana as #8.

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