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If the Playoffs Started Today – NBA Week 4

Grizzlies vs Heat: Week 4's prediction for the NBA Finals

We’re a month into the season now, and there’s no shortage of stories. Both conferences have new leaders, the races for #8 are as crowded as ever and the Wizards still have hope for a 0-82 season. It’s still a logjam up and down the standings, meaning anything can happen, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Wednesday, November 28, before the day’s games:

West

#1 Memphis Grizzlies vs #8 Houston Rockets

The Rockets have won three straight to move to .500, but the Grizzlies are rolling. They can win anywhere and with multiple weapons; the Rockets just aren’t built for the tough battles ahead of them, much less a lengthy preseason.

#2 San Antonio Spurs vs #7 Utah Jazz

The Jazz are perfect at home, but porous on the road. Meanwhile, San Antonio is right up there with Memphis, and is loaded with talent. The Spurs are just too talented to lose this early, especially with Utah’s road woes.

#3 Oklahoma City Thunder vs #6 Denver Nuggets

Denver has Andre Iguodala anchoring an impressive talent pool, but Oklahoma can counter with Kevin Durant, not to mention Russell Westbrook. That has meant the difference in records so far, but Denver is also sub-.500 on the road. So despite their win in Memphis on the 19th, the Nuggets should have a few problems in a drawn-out series against a team like the Thunder.

#4 Golden State Warriors vs #5 Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers have lost four straight, a rough stretch for such a good start. Still, they have a good roster, while the Warriors haven’t been relevant in some time. Not that the Clippers have been relevant for long, but they still bring in plenty of exciting dynamics, and as things stand, that may mean the difference against two neck-and-neck teams.

#1 Miami Heat vs #8 Charlotte Bobcats

The Bobcats may be above .500 for now, but they’re still the Bobcats. And Miami is still Miami.

#2 Brooklyn Nets vs #7 Boston Celtics

These two are only 1.5 games apart, first and fourth in the tightest division in basketball. This might be one of the most exciting battles throughout the season, highlighted by Rajon Rondo and Deron Williams. The Celtics don’t care where they play, but the Nets would much rather play in Brooklyn. With home-court, that gives them an edge, but don’t be surprised if the Celtics make another run with their supreme guard depth.

#3 New York Knicks vs #6 Philadelphia 76ers

New York is slacking off a bit since their impressive start, but all their losses are still on the road. Philadelphia is performing admirably, but without Andrew Bynum, they’re struggling to move out of the middle of the pack. They’ll need him performing at the top of his game if New York won’t give anything up at home.

#5 Atlanta Hawks vs #4 Milwaukee Bucks

Despite leading a division, the Bucks have the worse record, so they give up home-court. That’s what happens when Atlanta wins five in a row. Both teams are still close, but Atlanta has the momentum swinging in their direction.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • A difficult schedule this week should see the Nets slide down the standings.
  • The Lakers are in a good position to move up; both the Jazz and Rockets are in trouble, actually.

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