|Notes and Observations Week 15: Patriots Blow Out Dolphins 41-13; Clinch AFC East||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Defense, Special Teams Carry Home Team||Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 15||Right Idea? Red Sox Bring in Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson|
Just one more week left until the playoff situation is officially known, and once again, the Celtics find themselves just trying to get healthy. And the Spurs’ former stranglehold on the #1 seed is weakened, but it may be too little too late for anyone to catch them. Five of the six divisions are locked up, with the Thunder and Nuggets still fighting over the Northwest. And even at 31-45, the Bucks are still alive for a playoff spot. Charlotte and Houston are still alive outside the brackets, but time is rapidly running out for all of them. There’s clearly a lot of excitement left in the season’s final week, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Tuesday, April 5, before the day’s games:
The Spurs finally won a game after a huge losing streak. Memphis has won its last four, including a game against the Spurs. But the Spurs are getting healthy again, and they’re certain to be strong again come playoff time, so the Grizzlies still don’t have much of a chance.
With their most recent loss to Denver, the Lakers have only lost twice in the month-and-a-half since the All Star break. New Orleans is doing okay themselves, but they’re still hit or miss lately. With the roll they’re on, the Lakers will easily win in Round 1.
With three losses in a row, Dallas is in a bit of a funk. Portland beat Dallas on Sunday, but that just split the season series along home-and-home lines. Dallas hasn’t had much luck in the playoffs in recent memory, and entering this year’s tournament on shaky ground, they might just have some trouble again.
After a 14-2 March, the Thunder have begun April 0-2. Meanwhile, the Nuggets have won six in a row. And at 31-7 at home, the Nuggets actually have the third best such record in the NBA. Oklahoma isn’t too much removed from their winning ways, but Denver has beaten the likes of the Lakers and Spurs, so they’re making themselves very difficult to ignore.
After some struggles, New York has managed to win three in a row. But so has Miami. Neither team has been very predictable, but at least Miami’s superstars have had more time to learn how to gel, plus, they have 15.5 games on New York.
With their big men dropping like flies, Boston is in a lot of trouble. Still, there’s not much cause to worry beyond the end of the season. Jermaine O’Neal is back, and Glen Davis is a huge help. Boston is close to cracking, but Philadelphia doesn’t have enough raw talent to deal the finishing blow. We’ll see what the officiating does, but Tommy Heinsohn probably won’t be schvitzing too much over it.
At this point, Orlando has four games on the Hawks. In the last few weeks, Atlanta hasn’t been able to gain any ground, which opens the door for Dwight Howard to attack the paint and bowl over Atlanta.
|#1||San Antonio Spurs|
|#2||Los Angeles Lakers|
|#4||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|#6||Portland Trail Blazers|
|#8||New Orleans Hornets|
|#7||New York Knicks|
|Spurs def. Hornets||Lakers def. Grizzlies||Trail Blazers def. Mavericks||Nuggets def. Thunder|
|Bulls def. Pacers||Heat def. Knicks||Celtics def. 76ers||Magic def. Hawks|
|Nuggets def. Spurs||Lakers def. Trail Blazers|
|Bulls def. Magic||Heat def. Celtics|
|Lakers def. Nuggets|
|Bulls def. Heat|
|Lakers def. Bulls|
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