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If the Playoffs Started Today – NBA Week 9

Heat vs Thunder: Week 9's prediction for the NBA Finals

It’s All-Star Weekend, and we’re now halfway through an abbreviated season. The Heat, Bulls and Thunder all continue to be on top, while other predicted contenders are continuing to bring up the rear and middle of the brackets. Better things were expected from Boston and New York, but that’s where they are. The race for #8 in the West is also very cluttered, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Sunday, February 26:

West

#1 Oklahoma City Thunder vs #8 Portland Trail Blazers

The Blazers are just 4-6 in their last 10 and 5-11 on the road. The Thunder have won five in a row and are an NBA-best 15-1 at home. It’s an easy choice for winner.

#2 San Antonio Spurs vs #7 Memphis Grizzlies

It’s a similar story here, except that the Grizzlies are 7-3 in their last 10. However, they’re still 6-10 on the road. And the Spurs are still 12-1 in their last 13 and 13-1 at home.

#3 Los Angeles Clippers vs #6 Houston Rockets

The Rockets have won three in a row, and can definitely provide a challenge for the Clippers. However, they still have difficulties on the road, which could be disastrous with Blake Griffin and Chris Paul running afoot.

#4 Dallas Mavericks vs #5 Los Angeles Lakers

Both teams are doing well lately, but at the risk of being redundant, the Lakers are 14-2 at home, but but 6-12 on the road. Dallas is barely above .500 on the road themselves, so it shouldn’t be another sweep, but the Mavericks do have the advantage against a Lakers team without big man Lamar Odom (now with the Mavericks, by the way).

East

#1 Miami Heat vs #8 Boston Celtics

Boston has lost five in a row. They really can’t hang with the Heat (winners of eight straight) at all.

#2 Chicago Bulls vs #7 New York Knicks

Jeremy Lin is coming back to Earth, but the Knicks have done well enough to move up to #7. That still won’t matter much against the Bulls, a team as dangerous as any other in the league.

#3 Indiana Pacers vs #6 Atlanta Hawks

The teams are close, but Indiana has won four in a row to move back up to #3. It hasn’t been against the best teams, but Atlanta hasn’t won consecutive games in over two weeks, and is 4-8 in their last 12. It’ll be a close series, no doubt, but the home team has won each game in the season series so far.

#5 Orlando Magic vs #4 Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia has lost five in row, keeping their position only because New York and Boston have been doing so poorly. The Magic have been doing well lately despite the Dwight Howard trade deadline drama. With Philadelphia’s negative momentum and losing road record, Orlando has the edge in addition to home-court advantage.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • It’s a short week; the only real (but not likely chance) is if Denver wins both its games (vs POR, @ HOU) to take over for Portland.

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