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Six weeks in now, and there’s still plenty to fight for. Neither #1 is at all safe, nor is any #8. Divisions, standings and everything else in the NBA is routinely getting tossed around without a moment to rest. With such volatility afoot, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Wednesday, December 12, before the day’s games:
The last time the Nuggets beat a playoff team on the road was November 19 in Memphis; road victories as a whole are hard to come by for Denver. San Antonio has been a contender for several years now, and don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
Three straight wins have Dallas barely above .500. Oklahoma City has won their last eight, and are once again contending for the West’s #1. Dallas has some things to hash out if they’re to make waves in the postseason, while Oklahoma City is loaded with talent, poised to make another deep run.
Memphis may still be 14-4, but most of their games lately have been against lesser teams. Their last win against a playoff team was November 16 against New York. The Jazz have won three in a row, but similarly against non-playoff opponents. Utah’s road woes still give Memphis an advantage, but their home record and momentum make them a real threat to Memphis.
Both teams are riding sizable winning streaks right now, though the Clippers are in a pattern of alternating good-sized winning and losing streaks. The Warriors have been much more consistent in winning 2/3 of their games. When the stakes are raised as they are in the postseason, streakiness does not work, not matter how much talent you have.
Brooklyn has lost five games in a row, finding themselves rapidly dropping out of contention. The Hawks are trending in the opposite direction, fighting to join Miami and New York in contention for 31. Momentum clearly has Atlanta winning his series right now.
We all know what Philadelphia can do against Chicago without Derrick Rose in the playoffs, and even if Rose returns, Philadelphia should be able to counter with Andrew Bynum by then. Chicago is #4 right now because they’re in the weakest division in basketball by far, and Philadelphia should know how to stop them.
Tags: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA Playoffs, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz