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If the Playoffs Started Today – NBA Week 21

Spurs vs Heat: Week 21's prediction for the NBA Finals

With just two weeks in the season, the playoff picture is starting to come into focus. Nine spots, including four divisions, are locked up. Home-court advantage in the East is a dead heat. The #8 spots are also very close. In fact, teams 7-9 in the West are all tied at 44-31. In fact, other than the Spurs, any team could move up or down a seed or two in quick fashion, so let’s look at what would happen if they playoffs started as of Thursday, April 3 before the day’s games:


#1 San Antonio Spurs vs #8 Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies are desperately trying to avoid being the odd team out in the West. The Spurs have won 19 straight, and won’t be going away that easily.

#2 Oklahoma City Thunder vs #7 Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks have a lead in a three-way tie for #7, but the Thunder are looking like a good bet to walk away with #2 out West. There is definitely some room for improvement for Dallas, especially on the road, in order to hang with the Thunder.

#3 Los Angeles Clippers vs #6 Golden State Warriors

Golden State has faltered a bit lately, though you can’t fault anyone for a loss in San Antonio. Still, the Clippers have won four straight and have already clinched the Pacific Division. Plus, the best home record in the West will mean a lot for the powerful, well-coached Clippers moving forward.

#4 Houston Rockets vs #5 Portland Trail Blazer

Houston has lost three straight, while the resurgent Trail Blazers have won four straight. The Rockets are really missing the very large presence of Dwight Howard, and without him, they’re heading in the wrong direction in a hurry.


#1 Miami Heat vs #8 New York Knicks

The Knicks have won three straight to move percentage points ahead of Atlanta, but the Heat have won four straight to take a similar lead over Indiana and retain a first-round edge.

#2 Indiana Pacers vs #7 Charlotte Bobcats

The Pacers have lost five of their last seven, though a tough win over Miami is keeping them in the hunt for the top seed. Charlotte is almost back up to .500, but still needs to work a little harder to secure a spot, not to mention that Indiana has the NBA’s best home record.

#3 Toronto Raptors vs #6 Washington Wizards

Four wins out of five have kept the Raptors in the hunt for #3, even though most of the wins were against bad teams. Washington has now clinched a spot, thanks in no small part to a win against Indiana. Still, they’re managing to keep pace with Toronto at best. A Game 7 at home will certainly help if Toronto needs it.

#4 Chicago Bulls vs #5 Brooklyn Nets

Chicago has won three straight and is in a tie with the Raptors for #3. Chicago is trending upwards at the end of the season and is looking like an attractive dark horse in the East. The Nets can certainly win, especially with wily veterans Paul Pierce and KG in the fold, though the road hasn’t been too kind to the Nets this season.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • Even with a game in Indiana, a trio of very winnable home games gives Atlanta a great chance to reclaim a spot.
  • Depending on what happens with Miami @ Memphis and Indiana @ Toronto, the Pacers could retake control of the East.

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