Yes, here we are. One of my favorite weeks in sports: the final stretch in the NBA season. More so this season because of its shortened schedule. A month ago I stated that most of these teams would be seeded completely different and it turned out to be true. The races at the top of each conference have gotten to be really tight, particularly out west between the Spurs and Thunder. As of this morning, the Spurs hold a half-game lead over the Thunder so look for these two teams to keep battling while watching the other team’s scoreboard. Out east it’s not as close but after last night’s game, the Heat took a victory over the Bulls and they also took a game from their lead to narrow it down to only 1 ½ games. These races at the top are going to be intense people!
Let’s take a look at the east for a second: I told Freep a week ago that the Celtics looked like they were going to take the third seed in the conference but the Pacers have the league’s best winning streak right now and are going to secure the 3rd seed. Boston is locked in to the 4th seed but below them it’s still a bit chippy between Orlando and Atlanta. News came out yesterday that Orlando center Dwight Howard would be out for the remainder of the season due to back surgery. So, if you’re Boston/Indiana, which team would you rather face? A Howard-less Magic or the ever so mediocre Atlanta Hawks? On a side note: what the hell happened to the Philadelphia 76ers? For a second I thought they’d be the dark horse in the east but now…well, it’s Indiana’s turn for that role.
Out west things are similarly complicated, the Lakers are currently in the third seed but they’re only one game up on their little bros, the Clippers. I think the Lakers will end up as the three mostly because the Clippers have blown opportunities to take the third seed from them. The Memphis is right on their tail, only 1 ½ game behind LobCity but I can’t see them catching up with such few games left. Rounding out the western conference are my Mavericks who are sputtering into their title defense. What can my Mavs do? I’m not sure but I want no part of Bryan’s Lakers. Rumor is that Dallas coach Carlisle is going to rest starters to be as fresh as possible for the playoffs, regardless of the team they’ve going to face. The final bout for the last seed is between the Phoenix Suns and the Utah Jazz, tied at the moment but the Suns hold the tie-breaker.
Key games for the final week :
Friday: Celtics at Hawks; Lakers at Spurs
Saturday: Nuggets at Suns; 76ers at Pacers; Mavs at Bulls; Magic at Jazz
Sunday: Knick at Hawks; Thunder at Lakers; Magic at Nuggets
Monday: Let’s take this day off…
Tuesday: Clippers at Hawks; Heat at Celtics; Suns at Jazz
Wednesday: Bulls at Pacers; Clippers at Knicks; Nuggets at Thunder; Spurs at Suns
Thursday: Every game is important on the final night
Happy 4/20 everyone! I’m going to go celebrate…