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Another week down, and after a brief scare, the Celtics are back on top of the Heat, following injuries to the other Big Three. Dirk Nowitzki’s absence really took a toll on the Mavericks. The Lakers are nicely situated at #2. The #8/#9 gaps are reasonably safe, in the West due to skill and the East due to common ineptitude. There’s plenty to cover, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Tuesday, January 18, 2011:
These two love facing off in the playoffs. At 5-13 on the road, the Nuggets are prepping for a seemingly imminent ‘Melo trade, while the Lakers are getting better and better (Clippers loss aside). Don’t expect them to lose out so soon.
Oklahoma City is still a very good team, but New Orleans has won its last five, including three straight road wins, one of them a rare Nuggets’ home loss. That’ll make things interesting, but New Orleans has still failed to beat Oklahoma this season.
The Mavericks have lost their last six. Nowitzki is back, but he got ejected after a double technical for using his first amendment rights. Only half a game behind Utah, Dallas has a chance, but not unless Nowitzki re-inspires the team. Jason Kidd, the West’s Rajon Rondo, can’t do everything.
The Knicks have lost their last three, and the Bulls have won the same. Props to Chicago for knocking off Miami, and knocking out Bosh. Chicago will have to wait until April to salvage a game from the season series, but with Derrick rose, and 18-3 at home (behind only Boston and San Antonio), Chicago will still be quite difficult to stop.
Orlando is only half a game behind because they have one less win in one less games played. But they’ve also won just one of their last four. Atlanta has won six of seven. Atlanta currently controls the season series, which judging by how it’s going, the playoff series may just come down to the home team’s Game 7.
Tags: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, NBA Playoffs, New Orleans Hornets, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz