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If the Playoffs Started Today – NBA Week 20

Heat vs Spurs: Week 20's prediction for the NBA Finals

20 weeks into the season, and things are starting to come down to the wire. There isn’t much time left at all to make a move, yet only five teams have been mathematically eliminated so far. The Heat have opened a sizable lead in the East, while even San Antonio isn’t out of the woods yet with OKC. The Lakers also have to be careful with their #8 seed, while the rest of the teams are busy trying to set up the first round match-ups. With many playoff implications still to be decided, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Wednesday, March 27 at 8:00pm:

West

#1 San Antonio Spurs vs #8 Los Angeles Lakers

Three straight losses have the Lakers reeling. They only have 11 games left to secure a spot, which will force them to work extra hard. That will only hurt their chances against the Spurs, who have a reputation for getting their players well-rested for the postseason.

#2 Oklahoma City Thunder vs #7 Houston Rockets

The Rockets have given themselves a fairly safe buffer for a playoff spot, but the Thunder have few weaknesses, and don’t show any signs of slacking off. The Rockets have done a great job improving the team overall, but they still have a lot of work to do to get up to OKC’s level.

#3 Denver Nuggets vs #6 Golden State Warriors

Denver‘s streak may have finally ended (in New Orleans), but they do share the NBA’s best home record at 32-3. Golden State may push the series longer than Denver would like, but four out of seven may be too much to ask.

#4 Los Angeles Clippers vs #5 Memphis Grizzlies

Both Los Angeles and Memphis have identical records both at home and away, except for Los Angeles’ extra win on the road. Los Angeles leads the season series 2-1, though both teams have a road win. You might as well toss a coin to pick the winner of this one; you can’t go wrong.

East

#1 Miami Heat vs #8 Milwaukee Bucks

Make it 27 straight wins for Miami. Milwaukee can’t win.

#2 New York Knicks vs #7 Boston Celtics

Boston has now lost five straight, while New York has won five straight. Both these teams can be streaky, and current momentum this close to playoff time definitely favors the Knicks.

#3 Indiana Pacers vs #6 Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks are having trouble getting things going. Though in their defense, not moving up to #5 would save them Miami in the second round. Of course, the Pacers certainly won’t make things easy. Atlanta’s road problems (including a recent loss in Indiana) favor the Pacers in this one.

#4 Brooklyn Nets vs #5 Chicago Bulls

Chicago has won their last two, but two wins won’t do much in this case. Brooklyn is 7-3 in their last 10, and as of yet, no Derrick Rose for Chicago. We saw what Philadelphia did to Chicago last season without Rose; it may be time for Brooklyn to do the same.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • Other than some minor adjustments in the middle of the East, don’t expect much of note to happen.

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