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 21

Spurs vs Celtics: Week 16's prediction for the NBA Finals

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:

West

#1 San Antonio Spurs vs #8 Memphis Grizzlies

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.

#2 Los Angeles Lakers vs #7 New Orleans Hornets

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.

#3 Dallas Mavericks vs #6 Portland Trail Blazers

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.

#4 Oklahoma City Thunder vs #5 Denver Nuggets

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.

East

#1 Boston Celtics vs #8 Indiana Pacers

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.

#2 Chicago Bulls vs #7 New York Knicks

The Bulls are getting better and better, and ‘Melo and the Knicks are sliding further down the ladder. Chicago all the way.

#3 Miami Heat vs #6 Philadelphia 76ers

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.

#4 Orlando Magic vs #5 Atlanta Hawks

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.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • It doesn’t really look like any major changes will be happening with the schedules the way they are.

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