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If the Playoffs Started Today – NBA Week 10

Bulls vs Thunder: Week 10's prediction for the NBA Finals

Just now we’re reaching the 10-week mark of the season, and it’s already more than halfway through. The Bulls, Heat and Thunder continue to be the teams to beat, while the lower half of the brackets are fighting to avoid them (though they have made great progress to secure a spot to begin with). The middle of the brackets can also fairly be called a logjam, making no seed safe, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Sunday, March 4, before the day’s games:

West

#1 Oklahoma City Thunder vs #8 Denver Nuggets

Two wins in a row still have the Nuggets barely above .500. That won’t cut it the way the Thunder are rolling.

#2 San Antonio Spurs vs #7 Houston Rockets

Two straight losses and a well-sub-.500 road record. The Rockets will certainly have their hands full against the ever-dangerous Spurs.

#3 Los Angeles Clippers vs #6 Dallas Mavericks

Both teams are 5-5 in their last 10 and hovering around .500 on the road. Dallas has slipped down the seeding lately, and they have four games out of hand. That might get them a tad extra rest compared to the Clippers, but for the time being, the home Clippers have the slight edge.

#4 Los Angeles Lakers vs #5 Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies have put together four wins in a row, but still struggle on the road, especially against good teams; the Lakers are 16-2 at home, by the way. With both teams picking things up lately, the Lakers have better pieces with which to move into the next round.

East

#1 Chicago Bulls vs #8 New York Knicks

The Knicks are okay, but with the formula on Jeremy Lin now out, they won’t be getting far, especially not against the 30-8 Chicago Bulls (there’s no stopping Lin’s counterpart Derrick Rose).

#2 Miami Heat vs #7 Boston Celtics

The Celtics have won three in a row, but that’s just another example of how incredibly streaky they are. Streakiness, age, injuries and illnesses will all come together to give the Heat an easy victory.

#3 Indiana Pacers vs #6 Atlanta Hawks

How about the Pacers, putting together six straight wins after five straight losses? Okay, they were all against teams currently no better than .424, but still. With two wins in a row, the Hawks are trying to right their own ship, but momentum and most of the road ability is still with Indiana.

#5 Orlando Magic vs #4 Philadelphia 76ers

The Sixers continue to struggle but benefit from an even weaker division. Orlando is continuing to roll, just 1.0 game away from moving ahead of Indiana. With Dwight Howard still in the fold, Orlando looks in a good position to move on to the next round.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • Look for Orlando to move ahead of Indiana.
  • Look for the Lakers to take over their division from the Clippers, assuming the latter runs into issues in Houston.
  • If that does happen, then Memphis is likely to pass the Clippers as well.

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