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If the Playoffs Started Today – NBA Week 8

Heat vs Thunder: Week 8's prediction for the NBA Finals

Another week down, and Chicago is losing ground. They’ve lost their hold on the East, but they’re still getting a solid top two spot. The Thunder still have a good lead out West, but they’ll have to pick up their game to keep that hold on the lead going. With the West being a stronger conference record-wise, the Wildcard race out West is also more entertaining, with the East’s top eight pretty much set right now. With all the drama, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Sunday, February 19 at 2:45pm:

West

#1 Oklahoma City Thunder vs #8 Denver Nuggets

Denver is barely .500, but at least they’re consistent at home and away. Oklahoma is that much better, including 11-1 at home, and should pick up the win pretty easily.

#2 San Antonio Spurs vs #7 Houston Rockets

San Antonio has won 10 straight; clearly, they’re the best team in the league right now. They’re also an NBA-best 13-1 at home. Without any experience in high-pressure playoff situations for some time, Houston is in trouble.

#3 Los Angeles Clippers vs #6 Memphis Grizzlies

The Clippers are hanging in there at 19-10, while Memphis has won four in a row. But Memphis is still 6-9 on the road, and has had some troubles against good teams. If the Grizzlies can’t shut down Blake Griffin and/or Chris Paul, it’ll be a long series.

#4 Dallas Mavericks vs #5 Los Angeles Lakers

Both teams are on winning streaks, but the Lakers are a paltry 5-10 on the road. They can hold their own in L.A, but the stigma of their loss in the last playoffs to Dallas has to be looming. Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum will keep the Lakers afloat, but Nowitzki and Kidd should be able to hold the competition at bay.

East

#1 Miami Heat vs #8 New York Knicks

Five straight wins have the Heat on top of the East. Jeremy Lin can’t carry the Knicks forever; the Heat are just too powerful right now.

#2 Chicago Bulls vs #7 Boston Celtics

Chicago is missing Derrick Rose right now, but they’re still holding their own without him. Boston can barely keep up in that situation, and won’t be able to keep up a full 48 minutes every day once Rose returns.

#3 Philadelphia 76ers vs #6 Indiana Pacers

Neither team is at their best right now. Both teams are similar, and each can win on the road. Still, the Sixers have the better record, are leading a division and have home-court advantage. That may have to be the key in such a close series against the Pacers.

#4 Orlando Magic vs #5 Atlanta Hawks

Orlando has won four in a row and eight of 10 behind an exceptional season from Dwight Howard. Atlanta is still a good team, but they’re heading in the wrong direction; Orlando is currently the better team.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • Look for the Magic to edge themselves ahead of Philadelphia.
  • Ditto for Indiana ahead of Atlanta.

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