If the Playoffs Started Today

Now that the NCAA game that’s taken so much of my time is rolling and my bracket is officially toast (Marquette’s win over Syracuse was the dagger), let’s turn our attentions toward the NBA Playoffs.

I’ve always been interested in seeing how team positioning moves on a week to week basis down the stretch, so I thought it might be a fun exercise to track the Playoff match ups each week down the stretch.

Western Conference Eastern Conference
#1 San Antonio vs. #8 Memphis
(Spurs leads 2-1)
#1 Boston vs. #8 Indiana
(Boston leads 3-0)
#2 Los Angeles vs. #7 New Orleans
(L.A. leads 3-0)
#2 Chicago vs. #7 New York
(New York leads 2-0)
#3 Dallas vs. #6 Portland
(Dallas leads 2-1)
#3 Miami vs. #6 Philadelphia
(Miami leads 2-0)
#4 Oklahoma City vs. #5 Denver
(Series tied 1-1)
#4 Orlando vs. #5 Atlanta
(Atlanta leads 2-1)
On the Outside Looking In
Western Conference Eastern Conference
Team Games Behind Team Games Behind
Utah Jazz 1.5 Milwaukee Bucks 1.5
Phoenix Suns 2.0 Charlotte Bobcats 1.5
Houston Rockets 2.0 Detroit Pistons 5.0
Golden State Warriors 7.5 New Jersey Nets 7.0

What’s Notable

Life After Melo
Who would have thought that the Denver Nuggets would be looking good as the 5 seed after everything that came along with the Carmelo Anthony trade? The Nuggets are 9-4 post-melo, partly because the team is playing loose and partly because no one knows what the hell to expect from them.

“This is the best we’ve been playing all year, there’s no question,” Nuggets head coach George Karl said. “I think we’re all serious and focused. The other team can’t know what we’re going to do because we don’t know what we’re going to do.”

Life With Melo
Admittedly, the spark that Knicks fans were hoping for has not yet fired, as New York has gone 7-7 since the trade and still cling to a .500 season (currently 35-34 on the season). Still, I contend that New York is the last team that any of the top four want to be paired off with in the first round. If the Playoffs started today, I’d watch every second of a Chicago/New York first round series.

Which Non-Playoff Teams Can Make a Run?
Without looking at each team’s schedule, I think the final weeks of the season should feature a dog fight in the West between the Hornets, Grizzles, Jazz, Suns and Rockets for the 7th and 8th seeds. While I’m going to hold out hope for my Jazz, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Rockets are the team to make the cut.

Who Comes Out of the West?
See, what’s really interesting about this bracket is the prospect that the Spurs and Lakers and Mavericks and Thunder face off in the second round. Both of those could easily go 7 games, but I still think it’s a Lakers/Thunder Conference Final, which feels epic to me.
It’s probably irresponsible to throw this out so early, but if this is the seeding, I could see the Thunder pulling the upset.

Who Comes Out of the East?
Maybe Chicago. Well…
See, the trouble with this seeding is that Chicago clearly has the roughest run. New York in the first round, Boston in the Semi-Finals, and the winner of Orlando/Miami in the Conference Finals. The Bulls certainly *could* get hot and run the table, but it’s a tall order.
On the other side of the coin, if Boston can get by Chicago, they have a track record of dealing with Orlando and Miami. I don’t know why, but somehow I don’t feel like Boston is really all that worried with Miami at the moment.

So then your Finals Prediction Is?
The conservative side of me says that at the end of the day, Los Angeles and Boston are still too deep to contend with in a seven game series. However, the Spurs could get there and wind up face-to-face with Chicago.

~ by djepperson on March 21, 2011.

One Response to “If the Playoffs Started Today”

  1. […] One week closer to the Playoffs, and what was looking like placeholder playoff seeding looks to be solidifying as the actual pairings. There’s still a change for some jockeying at the top of the Eastern Conference (Bulls, Celtics and Heat are separated by 2.5 games) and the bottom of the Western Conference (Portland, New Orleans, Memphis separated by 1.5 games, with Houston 2.5 games behind them), but none of the Probable Playoff Match ups changed from last week. […]

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