David Ortiz will gladly welcome his two newest teammates to Boston, as will the rest of Red Sox Nation. (@davidortiz) David Ortiz Welcomes $200M Teammates Sandoval and Ramirez to Red Sox on Twitter 14 years to the day of Brady's debut losing to the Lions 34-9, the Patriots turn the tables with a 34-9 victory of their own. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Notes and Observations Week 12: Patriots Continue Stretch of Dominance, Defeat Lions 34-9 Donte Clark, Jabari Hinds (Photo courtesy of The Boston Globe) Minutemen Bounce Back with Win over Florida State Connelly’s Top Ten: Kraftapoolooza – Pats and Revs Win!

If the Playoffs Started Today – NBA Week 14

Bulls vs Thunder: Week 14's prediction for the NBA Finals

After another week, the drama is picking up in some areas. The 76ers have slid clear out of the division lead. The Knicks are out Amar’e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin, but have a decent lead on the last spot, for now. The Lakers are running into a mini tough patch, and the Clippers are making a move. Before the season winds down, plenty could still happen to blow up the standings, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Sunday, April 1, before the day’s games:

West

#1 Oklahoma City Thunder vs #8 Denver Nuggets

Credit to the Nuggets for hanging in there, but after a five-game winning streak, everything is going the Thunders‘ way right now.

#2 San Antonio Spurs vs #7 Houston Rockets

The Rockets are doing okay, but they’re still a very paltry 8-17 at home right now. There’s no way they can stop the Spurs, the hottest current team in the NBA.

#3 Los Angeles Lakers vs #6 Memphis Grizzlies

Despite Los Angeles‘ recent benchings and rough performances, they still have plenty of talent to make waves, especially at home. The Grizzlies are 4-6 in their last 10 and still have a losing record both on the road and in the conference. Not that the Lakers will cruise, but they should still be in for a fight.

#4 Los Angeles Clippers vs #5 Dallas Mavericks

Both teams are doing well right now, but the Clippers are on a five-game winning streak; anybody remember the last time that statement was factual? The Mavericks recently won in Orlando, but quality road wins are still almost unheard of for Dallas this season. With the Clippers having a top option at point guard to feed it to some athletic big men, Dallas will have a difficult time mounting a defense to their title.

East

#1 Chicago Bulls vs #8 New York Knicks

The Bulls against an incredibly beaten up Knicks squad? Chicago will definitely cruise in this one.

#2 Miami Heat vs #7 Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia is drastically losing their grip on any sort of hope. They definitely can’t get it done against a powerhouse like Miami.

#3 Orlando Magic vs #6 Atlanta Hawks

Orlando may have lost two straight, but Atlanta hasn’t exactly been doing well in their last four games following their winning streak of like length. Atlanta should still have enough to hold sway in Atlanta, but a potential Game 7 in Orlando may just be too much to overcome in the end.

#5 Indiana Pacers vs #4 Boston Celtics

Boston has really picked things up since the All-Star break. Indiana has shown the ability to beat Boston before (and having Larry Bird on your side doesn’t hurt), but Boston has been running wild even without Ray Allen. Once his ankle rests up and the Cs get that shooting ability back, they’ll be even harder for a so-so team to defeat.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • With an absolutely brutal week for Boston, Philadelphia can be expected to retake the division on the head-to-head tiebreaker.
  • With a sparse schedule, New York will need to win against Indiana to hold onto their last spot against Milwaukee’s easy week.

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