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Two months into the season, with Christmas’ quintuple header on the horizon, and there’s plenty to talk about. The Eastern Conference is once again inferior (11-16 and you’re going places), five West teams (versus two Eastern teams) have reached 20 wins, and a team affiliated with Michael Jordan is horrendous. The Lakers are still 4.0 games out of the West lead, but there’s a long way to go yet. The Hornets have been dropping like flies after their start, and the Knicks are losing all of a sudden. Plenty is going on around the league, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Wednesday, December 22, before the day’s games:
New Orleans fell off their silver pedestal pretty fast. After such a promising start, they’re sitting at #7, and Dallas is going strong. Both teams split a home-and-home earlier in the season, but New Orleans is just 5-9 on the road, so Dallas has the clear edge.
The Lakers have been doing quite well lately, with only intermittent losses, the latest being at home to Milwaukee. The Bucks have been known to do that from time to time. The Nuggets are okay, but they’ve been hit or miss so far, and on the road, they’re mostly missing.
Both teams are well-balanced and 20-9, but Oklahoma is 5-1 within the division (though that loss was to Utah). Pre-season MVP favorite Kevin Durant leads the Thunder, which means a lot, and that’s not even including Russell Westbrook. It’ll be close, but with home-court, the Thunder should win late.
At 13 straight wins, Boston is the beast of the East. Milwaukee is 11-16, and are too inconsistent to beat Boston four out of seven, though they could be like the Hawks a few years back in that regard. And if Boston’s healthy by the time the playoffs come around, they’ll be that much better.
Miami finally dropped a game to Dallas, the second 12-game win streak the Mavs ended this season, and giving them the last two instances of Miami losing. Still, Indiana is sub-.500 and not much for hanging with the big teams as of late. Indiana did win in Miami, but that was during Miami’s dark times; there’s no way such a thing would happen now.
I can see losing to Boston and Miami, but New York then lost to Cleveland. But Chicago did have its winning streak snapped at home by the Clippers. Though that might not be the worst thing with Blake Griffin’s amazing abilities; he could dunk on Xenu at will. Chicago did follow that up by beating Philadelphia 121-76, so I’m not too worried. The Knicks may want to acquire Carmelo Anthony, because Joakim Noah will be back soon enough.
The Magic have lost their last four, and eight of their last nine. Two of those eight losses were to Atlanta. At this rate, the Magic won’t be getting nearly as deep into the playoffs as they’re used to.
Tags: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA Playoffs, New Orleans Hornets, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz