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If the Playoffs Started Today – NBA Week 18

Heat vs Spurs: Week 18's prediction for the NBA Finals

There’s not much time left in the season. All teams have passed 60 games, but only Miami has clinched a playoff spot so far. And nobody has clinched ping pong balls yet, but will next game, in all likelihood. The biggest race by far is for the lowest seeds in the West; #7-#9 are separated by just one game, and #6 isn’t completely safe either. In a time where the playoff race has largely become a matter of jockeying for position, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Wednesday, March 13, before the day’s games:

West

#1 San Antonio Spurs vs #8 Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles has finally made their way into the playoff scenario, but their reward is having to face a San Antonio team that, while not perfect lately, did get a quality win over Oklahoma City.

#2 Oklahoma City Thunder vs #7 Houston Rockets

Houston has been very hit-or-miss lately. The problem for them is that Oklahoma City is almost always hit. Led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Thunder are a complete team that supports itself and has the star power to force itself out of jams if need be.

#3 Memphis Grizzlies vs #6 Golden State Warriors

Golden State isn’t the worst team around, but they still have their issues which forced them back down to Earth following their early boon. With five straight wins and 13 of 14, Memphis is riding a massive wave of momentum. It looks like they knew what they were doing with all their pre-deadline trading.

#4 Los Angeles Clippers vs #5 Denver Nuggets

Los Angeles didn’t drop a spot because of what they did by any means, but they still need to pick things up. With nine straight wins and a 28-3 home record (2nd best in the NBA behind Miami), Denver is doing everything right, and looks to be a good bet to make it to the next round at this clip.

East

#1 Miami Heat vs #8 Milwaukee Bucks

Make it 19 straight wins for Miami. If Milwaukee pulls this one off, Las Vegas will make one or two people incredibly wealthy.

#2 New York Knicks vs #7 Atlanta Hawks

While New York could do better, they’re still performing admirably, and are neck-and-neck with Indiana for #2. With three straight losses, Atlanta is in another downswing. Atlanta will need to get a lot better to stand a decent chance in the postseason.

#3 Indiana Pacers vs #6 Boston Celtics

Boston won a hard-fought contest in Indiana on March 6, but most recently lost in Charlotte 100-74. Boston is still looking for a winning formula, while Indiana has been doing well for themselves for just about the whole season.

#4 Brooklyn Nets vs #5 Chicago Bulls

Brooklyn is pacing themselves, currently 2.0 games ahead of Chicago for home-court advantage. With Derrick Rose still unsure of a return date, Chicago will want to at least make those games up. Even if Rose does return, he’ll need to be focused to overcome four away games, which might not be the case after so long away.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • Aside from maybe a pair or two of adjacent teams changing seeds, nothing of note need be expected in the next week.

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