David Ortiz will gladly welcome his two newest teammates to Boston, as will the rest of Red Sox Nation. (@davidortiz) David Ortiz Welcomes $200M Teammates Sandoval and Ramirez to Red Sox on Twitter 14 years to the day of Brady's debut losing to the Lions 34-9, the Patriots turn the tables with a 34-9 victory of their own. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Notes and Observations Week 12: Patriots Continue Stretch of Dominance, Defeat Lions 34-9 Donte Clark, Jabari Hinds (Photo courtesy of The Boston Globe) Minutemen Bounce Back with Win over Florida State Connelly’s Top Ten: Kraftapoolooza – Pats and Revs Win!

If the Playoffs Started Today – NBA Week 21

Heat vs Spurs: Week 21's prediction for the NBA Finals

Just two weeks remain in the season. The Jazz and Lakers are still in a dead heat for the final spot, while the others are pretty safe, if not mathematically clinched. Still, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to play for. Avoiding Miami in the first round will certainly be a good race. The top spot in the West is still in play as well. The middle seeds are all working to give themselves any advantage over their competitors. With teams giving all they have in their last few games, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Wednesday, April 3, before the day’s games:

West

#1 San Antonio Spurs vs #8 Utah Jazz

Utah has won five straight to move past the Lakers, while San Antonio has lost their last two, a large losing streak by their standards. That helps Utah’s chances, but they still have road issues, and the Spurs are quite wily with all their veterans. Utah should make things interesting, but we’ll see how it turns out for them.

#2 Oklahoma City Thunder vs #7 Houston Rockets

The Rockets are doing pretty well for themselves lately, and have a 2.5-game lead for their playoff spot. Still, they have road woes of their own, while the Thunder are powering their way towards the postseason, now just a game behind San Antonio. OKC’s energy definitely gives them the edge here.

#3 Denver Nuggets vs #6 Golden State Warriors

Denver is the best home team in the NBA (33-3). The Warriors had a good run earlier in the season, and they’re doing well now, but they’ve dug themselves a big hole in the standings, meaning they won’t be moving above #6 this late. And they won’t be able to make much headway with Denver’s home record either.

#5 Memphis Grizzlies vs #4 Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers are in another low period, while Memphis has managed to pull even at 50-24 with Denver. The Clippers have the talent to succeed, but with Memphis on a roll, and with the Clippers in a funk, they’ll have a difficult time clawing out a series victory.

East

#1 Miami Heat vs #8 Milwaukee Bucks

Miami‘s streak may be over, but that does relieve the pressure of keeping the streak up. Plus, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are nursing some wounds. When they return, Miami might be even better than before without all that pressure. Milwuakee is still in grave trouble early on.

#2 New York Knicks vs #7 Boston Celtics

New York has now won nine straight in their own right (including two over Boston), while Boston is still struggling, now just 1.5 games ahead of Milwaukee. Boston certainly can’t beat New York playing like this.

#3 Indiana Pacers vs #6 Chicago Bulls

Chicago may have clinched a playoff spot, but they’re still a so-so team. That won’t do against a powerful Indiana team that’s won five straight. Roy Hibbert’s sheer size and presence will go a long way to stifling a Chicago team with low morale.

#4 Brooklyn Nets vs #5 Atlanta Hawks

This one is close, with Atlanta moving within a game of home-court advantage. The season series finished tied 2-2, with each team winning once on the road. Momentum could mean everything in a series where both teams can win in both cities, and right now, Atlanta’s creating that position for themselves over Brooklyn.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • If the Lakers can take care of Memphis at home, they could be in line for that last playoff spot back.

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