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If the Playoffs Started Today – NBA Week 13

Bulls vs Thunder: Week 13's prediction for the NBA Finals

March is coming to an end, and it’s time for some tactical maneuvering. Teams that could use some help will be looking for some help via bought out free agents and the D-League. San Antonio already made a big move signing Boris Diaw after his buyout by Charlotte. Ryan Hollins was brought on by the Celtics, so we’ll see if that helps push them ahead of Philadelphia. With the final retooling process before the playoffs underway, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Sunday, March 25, before the day’s games:

West

#1 Oklahoma City Thunder vs #8 Denver Nuggets

Denver is in the middle of a dogfight right now; spots 4-9 are only separated by 1.5 games. With both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook putting up 40+-point games against Minnesota the other day, Oklahoma showed why they’re the team to be in the West, even when their opponents score 140 points.

#2 San Antonio Spurs vs #7 Utah Jazz

Utah has won six in a row to jump right into the fray out West, even winning a game against the Lakers in L.A. However, they still have had some road troubles against good teams, and San Antonio does have a stellar record and talent pool. And that pool just got deeper with the addition of Diaw.

#3 Los Angeles Lakers vs #6 Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies have lost three in a row, sliding down the pack. The Lakers have been going the other way, opening up a 3.0-game lead on the Clippers. Momentum and records definitely favor the Lakers right now.

#4 Los Angeles Clippers vs #5 Dallas Mavericks

Neither team has been the best lately; Dallas didn’t rise so much as Memphis fell, and the Clippers lost a three-game-in-three-days road trip earlier in the week. With both teams still notably better at home, the Clippers have one of the few distinct advantages to be had in this series (for now).

East

#1 Chicago Bulls vs #8 New York Knicks

The Knicks are very streaky this year, not knowing whether they want to win or lose. The Bulls, meanwhile, are just plain good. That will serve them well.

#2 Miami Heat vs #7 Boston Celtics

The Celtics, like the Knicks, are a streaky team having a tough time, but the Celtics have also been severely bitten by the injury bug (more like an injury crocodile at this point). Miami is younger, stronger, more durable and simply better.

#3 Orlando Magic vs #6 Atlanta Hawks

Both teams are doing well; Atlanta has even pulled to within percentage points of Indiana. However, the Magic are still a talented team with plenty of experience behind them. Atlanta will have a tough time keeping up.

#5 Indiana Pacers vs #4 Philadelphia 76ers

Neither team is particularly exciting here. Philadelphia is sub-.500 on the road, which is where their worse record comes from. Not that Indiana is much better themselves, but at least they’re not trying to hold onto a lead in an incredibly flaccid division.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • Any slip-up by the Knicks against the Bucks, and the two will switch ranks in the East.
  • With so many teams in the West bunched up so close, the Rockets are just waiting to get in, most likely at Memphis’ expense.

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