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If the Playoffs Started Today – NBA Week 11

Thunder vs Heat: Week 11's prediction for the NBA Finals

We’re well into January, and there’s still plenty of story-lines to follow. The Celtics and Nets are up; the Hawks are down. The race for both #1s and the West’s #8 are still very much up for grabs. Teams are jumping all over each other all the time, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Wednesday, January 16, before the day’s games:

West

#1 Oklahoma City Thunder vs #8 Portland Trail Blazers

Portland has lost three in a row. That certainly won’t do against a team as dynamic as the Thunder.

#2 Los Angeles Clippers vs #7 Houston Rockets

Similarly, the Rockets have lost four straight. The Clippers‘ massive winning streak is a thing of the past, but they haven’t been on any large losing streaks since.

#3 San Antonio Spurs vs #6 Denver Nuggets

Denver has won six straight games, but still remains #6. That could be an advantage for them by allowing them to fly under the radar. If San Antonio wants to avoid the upset, they’ll need to exploit their noticeably better road record.

#4 Memphis Grizzlies vs #5 Golden State Warriors

Both teams are competing with each other for positioning, as well as trying to fend off the advancing Nuggets. With both teams so close and so similar, Memphis‘ home-court advantage gives them the edge, but certainly don’t count out Golden State.

East

#1 Miami Heat vs #8 Milwaukee Bucks

The Heat may be having their struggles, but so are the Bucks. Miami should still win this one fairly handily.

#2 New York Knicks vs #7 Boston Celtics

New York is still towards the top of the standings, but Boston has all of a sudden won six in a row, including a victory in New York. If the Celtics can keep things going like this, their core should be able to outlast New York, especially if Carmelo Anthony is as immature as last time.

#3 Indiana Pacers vs #6 Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta has been sliding a whole lot lately. Indiana has pushed ahead, and is hoping to move even further ahead in the rankings. Indiana has the momentum on their side right now.

#4 Brooklyn Nets vs #5 Chicago Bulls

Brooklyn has won seven in a row and is right back in the swing of things. Derrick Rose is starting to get healthier, but he’s not there yet. Whatever the case may be, Chicago might want to thing about getting Brooklyn at a lull in their momentum, just in case.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • The Clippers have a good chance to reclaim the #1 spot, especially if they knock off the Thunder at home.
  • With an upcoming four-game road trip over six days, the Rockets are in danger of dropping their spot to Utah.

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