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With 2013 finally here, everything is still as tight as ever. Yet again, a #1 seed changed hands, as did each #8, for that matter. No playoff team is more than a game away from at least one other team. Teams are going back and forth as much as they ever have, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Wednesday, January 2, before the day’s games:
Portland has done well to crack their way into the playoff picture, but Oklahoma City stayed in there with the Clippers and just like that find themselves percentage points ahead of them for #1. Portland is still just 5-10 on the road despite recent success, and the Thunder are one of the most energetic teams in the league. OKC also has much more recent success in the playoffs.
After a 17-game winning streak dating back to November, the Clippers finally lost on New Year’s Day, a road game in Denver. Despite that, Denver still has their own troubles on the road. Los Angeles still has plenty of explosive talent, and as long as this doesn’t turn into another losing streak, the Clippers should do just fine.
Speaking of winning streaks, the Spurs have won six straight themselves, putting them half a game behind #1. Houston, despite an okay December, have just five road wins on the year. In an extended series, San Antonio should easily be able to outlast Houston.
Memphis is actually half a game behind Golden State, despite leading them on percentage points. Golden State has continued to improve, while Memphis continues to be a .500 team. With momentum on their side, the Warriors have the edge.
Philadelphia finds themselves at #8 more due to Boston’s troubles than anything else. They may have pulled off the upset last season when Chicago lost their superstar, but Miami has plenty of superstars to spare.
New York may not be having a great time right now, but Brooklyn isn’t exactly in a position to take advantage of it. They’re still hovering around the .500 mark, while New York remains firmly in the running for the East’s #1.
Atlanta has won five of their last six to keep pace at #3, now just half a game behind New York for #2. Milwaukee is fighting with Chicago and Indiana for the division, and hasn’t done much that was particularly impressive this year. The Bucks are able to make things interesting, but Atlanta still has a bit more ability over seven games.
The Pacers have a one-game lead over Chicago, a wide margin in their crowded division. Both teams are so close, but Indiana is still 10-3 at home despite an 18-13 overall record. Even so, the teams are so close, that with a healthy Derrick Rose, the Bulls instantly make themselves favored.
Tags: Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA Playoffs, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs