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If the Playoffs Started Today – NBA Week 5

Pacers vs Trail Blazers: Week 5's prediction for the NBA Finals

The season is already almost a quarter of the way over, and it’s still a hot-bed of competition. In the West, all but Utah and Sacramento are within two games of a playoff spot. In the East, four teams, including a division winner, are sub-.500 but in the playoffs. Another two, including the third seed, are at .500. The West is clearly the superior conference, but that could work against them in the Finals with the first two round for Miami and Indiana seemingly amounting to a few weeks of rest. Both conferences thus have plenty of close adversaries for playoff seeding for two very different reasons, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Thursday, November 5, before the day’s games:

West

#1 Portland Trail Blazers vs #8 Golden State Warriors

A win against Indiana this season will give a boost to any team, and in this case it’s propelled Portland up to the top spot out West. Golden State has some good, well-known players on their squad, but they won’t be able to stop Portland’s amazing run, especially on the road.

#2 San Antonio Spurs vs #7 Dallas Mavericks

The Spurs are down to #2, but not through any fault of their own. They’re still a perennial contender with plenty of experience on their side. Dallas is 9-2 at home, but is only #7 because of their 3-6 road record. Without so much as home-court advantage to start, the Mavericks are in a real tough spot in this rivalry series.

#3 Oklahoma City Thunder vs #6 Denver Nuggets

Oklahoma City is the only remaining unbeaten home team in the West (9-0). With Kevin Durant leading the way, it’s not surprising. They’re only .500 on the road, but since Denver is as well, it’ll be real tough for Denver with four games in OKC.

#5 Houston Rockets vs #4 Los Angeles Clippers

Both teams are loaded with talent, and each have played similarly the whole season. However, after losing to Phoenix, Dwight Howard started to question his own Rockets about everyone’s effort. Once your best player starts putting out that kind of negative energy, it can easily snowball into something much worse. Doc Rivers is certainly coach enough to take advantage of that and propel Los Angeles onward.

East

#1 Indiana Pacers vs #8 Charlotte Bobcats

The Bobcats are in a bad spot, even in the pitiful East. Indiana should have no problem.

#2 Miami Heat vs #7 Chicago Bulls

Without Derrick Rose, the Bulls have slipped down to #7. Even with him healthy, LeBron James and Miami would be the clear favorites.

#3 Washington Wizards vs #6 Detroit Pistons

The Pistons have won three in a row, a good feat in the East, but Washington has kept pace. And Washington is 6-2 at home, which will mean a lot for them in the first round.

#5 Atlanta Hawks vs #4 Boston Celtics

Even at just 8-12, the rebuilding Celtics are still division leaders. With the trouble they’ve been having for most of the year, 10-10 Atlanta (6-3 at home) should have enough experienced talent left to take care of Boston’s lineup, still looking for lasting momentum.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • With three road games, the Mavericks are in danger of dropping out in favor of Memphis, especially if they fall into a trap game in Sacramento.

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