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We’re now officially past the halfway point of the season, and things are still fairly close. It’s looking more and more like we’ll see the Heat and Celtics in the first round, but other than that, who knows? The top of the West remains volatile, as does a large swath of the East. Teams could jump all over the place, and even without the best seed, it’s not out of the questions to see some of those lesser teams pull off the win. Just about anything could still happen, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Wednesday, January 30 before the day’s games:
The Jazz have been good lately, with their low seed letting them fly under the radar. Still, Oklahoma City has been just as good. And they have plenty of top-tier talent and a much better road record as well.
Denver has won four straight, while Los Angeles is falling out of the running for #1. Both teams are superb at home, but Denver is just 10-15 on the road. Still, with a home win to start their streak against the Thunder, the Nuggets are easily capable of riding their wave of momentum to the next round.
Neither team has changed their positioning much in the past week, though Golden State will have to keep pace with Denver to avoid dropping a spot in the next week. If the Grizzlies can maintain their slot long enough to rest their starters at season’s end, they should be a good challenge, but as of now, with Andrew Bogut back no less, the Warriors are a likable team.
Boston may have beaten Miami on Sunday, but it was easily a Pyrrhic victory with the news that Rajon Rondo is done for the season. If Boston wasn’t considered hopeless against Miami before, they certainly are now.
Milwaukee is poised to move ahead a spot or two in the crowded East, but New York is still 3.5 games ahead. New York has been playing .500 ball lately, but they have been competitive in most of the games. New York still has a bit of an advantage, but a delicate one that could disappear in an instant if they’re not careful.
Chicago has done very well to gain themselves the #3 spot, while Atlanta has been another .500 team. The Hawks are just too precarious of a team right now, especially with a Derrick Rose return likely just a matter of a few weeks now.
All of a sudden, Indiana has lost three in a row. It has been on a West-coast road trip, but the Pacers had ample rest in between. The Nets recently snapped a two-game losing streak, only their second and third losses in all of January. Losing too many games in a row, no matter the circumstances, can do major damage to confidence, something that wouldn’t fare well for Indiana.
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, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz