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Nine weeks into the season, the playoff teams are starting to come into view. Seeding, though, is very much up for grabs in various patches throughout the brackets. Any of five teams right now could walk away with home-court advantage through the Finals, so the top of the brackets aren’t exempt by any means. With quite a bit still to be decided, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Thursday, January 2, before the day’s games:
The Mavericks have won three in a row, but that’s not moving them upwards in such a highly competitive conference. Even with a recent home loss to fellow contender Portland, Oklahoma City is still on top, and still barely loses. With everything OKC has going for them in the West, they still have the advantage.
With three straight wins, the Spurs are just half a game out of the top spot. The Warriors have won six straight, though the two playoff teams they’ve faced in that stretch have each been home games. The streak itself followed a close home loss to San Antonio. The Spurs have the edge, though Golden State certainly won’t go down without a fight.
Winning in OKC gives Portland great credit in terms of being a contender. Houston has lost two straight, which isn’t much, but against any of the top three Western teams, much more will be needed, especially on the road.
The Clippers are a muscular 14-3 at home, which is good for them, but their most recent loss in those three was on Monday to Phoenix. Phoenix has won their last two, five of six and 10 of 12. Los Angeles has all the talent they need to win, but Phoenix is only a game behind and charging fast; the Clippers can not afford any mistakes.
Atlanta is working on securing the #3 seed, which is going well enough. Charlotte has lost four in a row, and still hasn’t won in the division. They were swept in their only playoff appearance, so things aren’t going well for them at all.
Toronto has won four straight games, and is now at .500. Winning against Indiana is certainly a feather in their cap going forward. Washington is half a game behind, but hasn’t been doing as well lately. The momentum may have finally given one Atlantic team the edge.
Tags: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Charlotte Bobcats, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, NBA Playoffs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards