|Notes and Observations Week 12: Patriots Lose 1st Game in Frustrating Fashion; Broncos Win in OT 30-24||Report: Hightower Suffered Sprained MCL in Loss to Broncos||Undefeated Mirage Gives Way to Reality of Flawed Patriots Team in OT Loss to Broncos||Gronkowski Avoids Major Injury|
We’re a full 10 weeks into the season now, coming up on the halfway mark, and the league is as exciting as ever. The eight playoff teams in each conference are beginning to separate themselves from #9-#15 a little, but within that top group, it’s still a veritable free-for-all for positioning. Of the 16 playoff teams, only Houston is more than half a game away from another team in their conference. With so much going on, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Wednesday, January 9 at 8:45pm:
Denver is 11-2 at home, and they’re better than their 20-16 record would have you believe. Even so, Los Angeles isn’t exactly a pushover. They recovered nicely from their mini two-game skid (both on the road), and are picking things up again. This will certainly be a test for Denver.
Like the Clippers, the Thunder are loaded with talent and have everything in place to win a title. Like the Nuggets, the Blazers are great at home and better than their record indicates. Similarly, this series will be a good litmus test for Portland to see if they have what it takes to win the championship.
Houston has won five straight, making them one of the better teams in the NBA right now. However, the Spurs are loaded with wily veterans that can hurt you in so many ways. If Houston can keep things close, they do have an edge in stamina over the aging Spurs, but even that isn’t a guarantee.
Memphis is trying to hang on, but Golden State is only half a game back. Memphis is a good team, but Golden State is heating up, while Memphis was once a solid #1. This is the most likely series to produce a victory for the worse seed.
Neither team is at its best right now, but New York has more than enough talent to weather the storm. The playoff-experience-lacking Bucks are under more pressure to stay healthy and go on a run soon.
Both teams are on small winning streaks, and Chicago is only half a game behind Indiana. Despite Chicago’s talent pool, so much of their stock is placed in Derrick Rose. Indiana has enough ability to keep Chicago down, which means Rose will need to be back and at full power for Chicago to avoid another early exit.
Tags: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, 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, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs