David Ortiz will gladly welcome his two newest teammates to Boston, as will the rest of Red Sox Nation. (@davidortiz) David Ortiz Welcomes $200M Teammates Sandoval and Ramirez to Red Sox on Twitter 14 years to the day of Brady's debut losing to the Lions 34-9, the Patriots turn the tables with a 34-9 victory of their own. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Notes and Observations Week 12: Patriots Continue Stretch of Dominance, Defeat Lions 34-9 Donte Clark, Jabari Hinds (Photo courtesy of The Boston Globe) Minutemen Bounce Back with Win over Florida State Connelly’s Top Ten: Kraftapoolooza – Pats and Revs Win!

If the Playoffs Started Today – NBA Week 20

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

20 weeks are gone, and while the Spurs are riding high, the Celtics now have to resort to a tiebreaker against Chicago to hold the top spot in the East. And don’t listen to Chicago or Doc Rivers; getting the top seed means a lot. The bottom of the East also has a tie to deal with, while the Grizzlies are building a mini lead out West over #9. With less than 20 games remaining, it remains that only four teams have clinched a playoff spot, and only Chicago has a division wrapped up. With many of the teams still trying to secure good positioning, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Tuesday, March 15, before the day’s games:

West

#1 San Antonio Spurs vs #8 Memphis Grizzlies

Memphis is doing pretty good by Memphis standards, but they still have to get past four good teams for a title. San Antonio is still an incredibly good team, despite the 30-point loss to Miami. Not many people would pick Memphis over San Antonio.

#2 Dallas Mavericks vs #7 Portland Trail Blazers

Dallas is the most consistent team when comparing home and away records. That will serve them well in the tournament. The Blazers are 5-5 in their last 10, and while they have had a four-game winning streak in the middle of it all, they’ll have to be more consistent to advance.

#3 Los Angeles Lakers vs #6 New Orleans Hornets

The Lakers are one of the hottest things going right now. In the last month, they’ve only lost once, in Miami. The Hornets, while relatively stable in their lower seeding, haven’t retained their early season magic.

#4 Oklahoma City Thunder vs #5 Denver Nuggets

Both teams are winning right now, but Denver hasn’t been the best on the road all season long. The Thunder still have Westbrook and Durant going for them, and Perkins and Robinson if they can get healthy. Right now, the Thunder are in a better position to move forward into May and June.

East

#1 Boston Celtics vs #8 Indiana Pacers

The Pacers had lost six straight before snapping that in New York. Meanwhile, you just don’t know what Boston will do. At this point, it might help to just let the end of the season go and rest starters more if needed. If Boston keeps up their current clip, they won’t go far (maybe into the 2nd round, maybe not).

#2 Chicago Bulls vs #7 Philadelphia 76ers

Coach of the Year Tom Thibodeau and League MVP Derrick Rose have the Bulls coasting right now, only a tiebreaker behind Boston. Philadelphia really can’t get this done.

#3 Miami Heat vs #6 New York Knicks

It’s pretty difficult to make heads or tails of Miami. Are they good or bad? Make up your mind, Heat. The Knicks are on their first losing streak since the All Star break, and aren’t that easy to figure out either. In very recent history, Miami’s been picking it up, and they’ll move forward if they can keep it up.

#4 Orlando Magic vs #5 Atlanta Hawks

Thanks to a four-game losing streak (recently ended), the Hawks find themselves three games behind the Magic, with two games in hand. The Magic have been playing better overall lately, and with a big guy like Dwight Howard, Orlando’s looking to move into position to face Boston/Chicago next (and a slim chance of Indiana/Charlotte).

What Might Change Next Week:

  • It looks like it’s time for Chicago to move into #1.
  • If Indiana can’t win against New York or in Memphis, they’ll find themselves behind the Bobcats.

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