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If the Playoffs Started Today – NBA Week 8

Trail Blazers vs Pacers: Week 8's prediction for the NBA Finals

The season is already two months old, and things still aren’t looking much better for the East. The West is breeding much better competition overall, but both conferences are still pretty tight. And with Indiana and Miami, the West certainly isn’t guaranteed to produce the next NBA Champion. A lot is still going on all over the league, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Friday, December 27, before the day’s games:

West

#1 Portland Trail Blazers vs #8 Dallas Mavericks

Dallas is still pretty good at home, but their road worries will doom them. Not only can Portland win anywhere, as they’ve shown in leading the West once more, but they’re better on the road than Dallas is at home. Portland is one of the surprise teams this season, and will be looking to make a statement come the postseason.

#2 Oklahoma City Thunder vs #7 Golden State Warriors

Oklahoma City finally lost a home game, to the lowly Raptors interestingly enough, but that was only their second loss overall in the last month and a half or so. Golden State has won three straight to move back up in the rankings, but in a lengthy series, they likely don’t have quite enough to overpower the Thunder.

#3 San Antonio Spurs vs #6 Phoenix Suns

Phoenix has also won three in a row, but they are noticeably better at home. They could pick off a game in San Antonio, but the Spurs can never be counted out, and could just as easily take home-court back. The Spurs are winners, and the cagey veteran instincts that nearly won them the title last season should take them deep again.

#4 Los Angeles Clippers vs #5 Houston Rockets

Both sides are much closer in this one; both teams are 20-11 in fact. Home-court will be huge, but not only has Los Angeles lost two straight, Houston has one two straight (in San Antonio and versus Memphis) in a series where momentum could mean everything. With the likes of Dwight Howard and James Harden leading the way, even Blake Griffin and Chris Paul will have trouble against Houston without some good feelings going into the series.

East

#1 Indiana Pacers vs #8 Boston Celtics

Three straight losses have the Celtics teetering on the brink in the East. The Pacers have plenty to feel confident about in this one.

#2 Miami Heat vs #7 Detroit Pistons

In a porous East, the Pistons have a decent hold on a spot, but not nearly enough to steal a series against the defending champion Heat.

#3 Atlanta Hawks vs #6 Washington Wizards

The Hawks are getting on the winning bandwagon, but still have some road problems to work out. They haven’t had many chances in December to work those out, and visiting Miami and San Antonio to do it is baptism by fire. But in the East, just winning at all makes the Hawks bad news for the Wizards.

#5 Charlotte Bobcats vs #4 Toronto Raptors

Toronto has gotten some good road victories lately, but they’re still a mere 4-8 at home. While the Bobcats have to be very weary, they can advance if they keep the pressure up in Toronto and pick off a few road games.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • Any sort of stumble out of Boston and Chicago is primed to take advantage.
  • With Portland visiting OKC, we could very well have the Thunder back on top of the West.
  • With a road trip up for Dallas, they’ll need to turn things around before Denver moves ahead.

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