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Just a few more weeks left. The Lakers, Celtics and Bulls have clinched their divisions, while the Heat, Magic, Spurs and Mavericks have all clinched playoff spots. There’s a good amount of room between all #8s and #9s, but nothing’s guaranteed there just yet. There are four teams in the West and five in the East on the outside looking in that still have a mathematical chance. So many teams have so much to think about right now, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Tuesday, March 22, before the day’s games:
Memphis is doing okay lately, and while San Antonio has won its last three, Tim Duncan is out until somewhere around the start of the playoffs. Not that San Antonio won’t win anyway, but if any #8 is ever to get a break, it’s Memphis’ to seize.
The Lakers are 12-1 since the All Star break. The Hornets gave up a game to the Celtics that they should have won. With the way the Lakers are playing lately, they’re going deep into the playoffs, again.
Dallas has had a few tough losses sprinkled into their record lately, but many of them were to understandable foes. Portland has been doing pretty well at home, but consecutive road losses in Atlanta and Charlotte will hurt them, especially since they couldn’t win in Dallas this season.
Recent loss against Toronto aside, the Thunder are are a great team; they won their previous six. The Nuggets are in a similar situation, though they did recently lose back-to-back in Orlando and Miami. This could easily be one of the closest series. The Thunder may need that home-court edge, which will help in addition to Kevin Durant.
For whatever reason, the 4th quarter has been kind to the Celtics lately. That will have to be remedied eventually, but if they can beat better teams like that, then the 31-40 Pacers shouldn’t be able to stop it from happening four times.
It’s difficult to call the Heat, but they’re on an upswing now. Philadelphia‘s having a bit of rougher time of it on their road trip. Without a quality chance to win on the road, Philadelphia will be washed up pretty quickly.
The Hawks are now 4.5 games behind the Magic. Dwight Howard is still a huge force to be reckoned with. Now that I assume he’s being more careful about technicals, the Hawks will have to work around him, but the Magic probably will be able to prevent that.
Tags: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, NBA Playoffs, New Orleans Hornets, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs