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If the Playoffs Started Today – NBA Week 12

Bulls vs Thunder: Week 12's prediction for the NBA Finals

There’s already only 1/3 of the season remaining, and there’s no shortage of entertainment. There are lots of close races, including divisions and the final playoff spots. There hasn’t been much movement in the seeding, though, except for the Lakers rising up and putting some room between them and the Clippers. And now that the trade deadline has passed, we all have to see how the new chips for everyone will fall, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Monday, March 19, before the day’s games:

West

#1 Oklahoma City Thunder vs #8 Houston Rockets

The Rockets are having a very tough time lately, barely holding off multiple teams for #8. Oklahoma City is much too good for them in this state.

#2 San Antonio Spurs vs #7 Denver Nuggets

Denver is a decent team, but they’ve had a tough time within the conference, and San Antonio has breezed through their home schedule, all of which should give San Antonio the relatively easy win.

#3 Los Angeles Lakers vs #6 Dallas Mavericks

This one would definitely be the most anticipated rematch of the postseason. The Mavs have won three straight, but they’re still only 5-5 in their last 10, and doing poorly on the road. That doesn’t bode well, considering the Lakers are 19-3 in home games.

#4 Los Angeles Clippers vs #5 Memphis Grizzlies

A mini slide has slipped the Clippers behind the Lakers, but two straight wins has helped stabilize that. The Grizzlies have done well enough to get within half a game of L.A, but they’re still sub-.500 on the road. That and the Clippers’ pool of talent gives them the edge, but Memphis has just as good a shot at winning; remember last year against the Spurs?

East

#1 Chicago Bulls vs #7 New York Knicks

The Knicks are back on the winning track, for now, but Chicago is too much of a beast to stop, especially with ‘Melo producing drama and a coaching change to hash out.

#2 Miami Heat vs #7 Boston Celtics

The Celtics are on another losing streak, Miami has the league’s best home record and Miami is much younger and healthier.

#3 Orlando Magic vs #6 Atlanta Hawks

With Dwight Howard staying in Orlando, that tension should be alleviated enough for this season. Atlanta is .500 on the road, and quite simply don’t have a Dwight Howard to run through people. With Howard to patrol the paint and sufficient talent to man the arc, the Magic should be able to win this one.

#5 Indiana Pacers vs #4 Philadelphia 76ers

Neither team is doing particularly well right now, but Philadelphia is perhaps doing a tad worse, letting their division lead evaporate, when the Celtics manage to win, that is. Indiana acquired Leandro Barbosa from Toronto without having to give up much to shore up their guard depth, which should help them have more success in the air, and the series as a result.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • The only change with a tangible effect that could take place is Houston dropping out in favor of Utah, which should happen if Houston has trouble with Dallas.

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