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If the Playoffs Started Today – NBA Week 5

Grizzlies vs Knicks: Week 5's prediction for the NBA Finals

We’re now in December, and the NBA races are still as close as ever. Both #1s are still very close. The teams continue to endlessly jostle at the bottom of the playoff standings. Even Washington finally won a game. Anyone could jump or fall several spots in the blink of an eye, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Wednesday, December 5, before the day’s games:

West

#1 Memphis Grizzlies vs #8 Minnesota Timberwolves

Minnesota may have won two in a row, but they’re still average. Memphis is just too strong, especially at home. Not that the series won’t be fun to watch, but it might be even more entertaining to watch an actual grizzly face an actual timberwolf.

#2 Oklahoma City Thunder vs #7 Denver Nuggets

Denver is great at home, but they’re struggling to hang around .500. Meanwhile, the Thunder are shooting up the rankings, with an NBA-best 15 wins. At this rate, OKC will make a deep run.

#3 San Antonio Spurs vs #6 Houston Rockets

Not only is Houston still having problems on the road, but San Antonio is the NBA’s best road team at 9-2. San Antonio could easily become the best team in the NBA at any time (much to David Stern’s dismay), and are more than a match for Houston (even if they’re not allowed to rest their veterans that much).

#4 Los Angeles Clippers vs #5 Golden State Warriors

Los Angeles has won three in a row to recover from a rough patch, but Golden State is still just a game behind. Los Angeles has the edge, but with Golden State hanging around, Los Angeles will still need to be careful or they’ll be upset.

East

#1 New York Knicks vs #8 Indiana Pacers

Three straight wins have the Knicks back on top. Indiana is eking by for the moment, but without a single home loss to their name, the Knicks are the clear favorites.

#2 Miami Heat vs #7 Boston Celtics

Boston so far is a hit-or-miss team on any particular night. Like New York, Miami has yet to lose at home. With former Celtic Ray Allen now in the fold, Miami is looking even better.

#3 Brooklyn Nets vs #6 Philadelphia 76ers

Both teams have lost their last two, and remain close. Brooklyn has been in the upper half of the standings all season long, but Philadelphia (despite its injuries) isn’t giving up ground. If Andrew Bynum gets back in time, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Philadelphia get the win.

#5 Atlanta Hawks vs #4 Milwaukee Bucks

Currently, Milwaukee needs a three-way tiebreaker just to make the playoffs, let alone lead their division. Atlanta may not be elite, but they’re still full of enough talent to advance past the first round.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • Milwaukee will have a tough time holding onto the #4 seed, and it could very well be Chicago that takes it from them.
  • Due to a sheer abundance of winnable games, San Antonio looks like a good bet to be #1 next week.
  • Both Denver and Minnesota are in danger of dropping their spots, with Utah and Portland primed to make the next move.

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