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If the Playoffs Started Today – NBA Week 17

Spurs vs Celtics: Week 17's prediction for the NBA Finals

After the All-Star break, it’s still a rough NBA world. Dwyane Wade got roughed up a little bit Sunday, Carmelo Anthony is a Knick and Cleveland finally got to 10 wins. San Antonio’ll wind up as #1, and Chicago will more than likely wind up as #3, though they’re only two games back. Speaking of which, Miami is only percentage points behind Boston, so the Celtics had better get healthy in a hurry. It’s a dog-eat-dog world in the NBA, and the Lakers are wearing bacon pants, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Tuesday, February 22, before the day’s games:

West

#1 San Antonio Spurs vs #8 Utah Jazz

The Jazz have lost four in a row. Plus, they’re only in #8 based on tiebreakers over Memphis. The Spurs are still 25-2 at home, and 46-10 overall. Look for San Antonio to roll through the first round.

#2 Dallas Mavericks vs #7 Denver Nuggets

Not only did the Nuggets get rid of Carmelo Anthony, but they also got rid of Chauncey Billups. Along with Utah’s woes, that really opens the door for not only Memphis, but also Phoenix. Dallas will have just as easy a time as San Antonio in the first round.

#3 Los Angeles Lakers vs #6 New Orleans Hornets

Both teams have been struggling lately. But the Lakers still have plenty of talent. And after watching Kobe Bryant in the All-Star Game, the Hornets (losers of three of three and eight of 10) will have a very difficult time.

#4 Oklahoma City Thunder vs #5 Portland Trail Blazers

Portland has won six in a row, including one versus Chicago. They also won versus San Antonio in their 1-4 streak before that. Still, other than that, they haven’t had as good a win in a long while. With Oklahoma‘s ability, they should still pull off the win.

East

#1 Boston Celtics vs #8 Indiana Pacers

This could be as big a trap series as Boston has ever faced before. The Pacers have lost two in a row, but were 8-2 before that. But in the realm of this time, the Pacers did lose to Miami, perhaps pointing out some troubles against the better teams. Good news for Boston, who will hopefully be healthy by the time the playoffs start.

#2 Miami Heat vs #7 Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers are actually pretty good lately, being 7-3 in their last 10, including a win over San Antonio on the 11th. Still, Miami‘s only loss in their last 11 games was in their Kryptonate, Boston. Miami’s Big Three is still an incredible force to be reckoned with. The Sixers haven’t been terribly relevant in a while, and they don’t have the powerful pieces that Miami does, quite frankly.

#3 Chicago Bulls vs #6 New York Knicks

The Bulls/Knicks saga just got real interesting. The Knicks just added Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups. The Bulls will get Joakim Noah back Wednesday, and Derrick Rose is already a strong figure. Quite frankly, it’s tough to sort through it all. The Bulls are 25-4 at home and 11-0 in their division. A lot of that was without Noah, which means his return will make things that much more difficult for their enemies. All that’s left is to see how New York’s new acquisitions will fare in Gotham. Hopefully for New York, Anthony won’t relax now that he got his new home. Us Bostonians think differently, of course.

#4 Orlando Magic vs #5 Atlanta Hawks

Props to the Magic for forcing their way back to #4 during an abbreviated week. They played two more games than Atlanta, but those two were both wins. Both teams are quite similar, as evidenced by this back-and-forth going on. This series may just come down to the home team’s Game 7 at this rate.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • Look for the Grizzlies and Suns to make some noise in the West. Look for the Jazz to drop out, and the Nuggets if their new look struggles against Atlanta and especially Memphis.

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