Saturday, April 21, 2012

Boomer's Slam Dunk NBA Playoff Push: 3rd Edition

This 66-game shorten NBA season is coming to an end. The final weekend of the regular season and playoff seeding/positioning will be up for grabs in the remaining days of the regular season. This Thursday (April 26th), is the final night of the regular season, with the NBA Playoffs beginning on Saturday (April 28th). In this post I will highlight the update-to-date Conference Standings, let you in on who's getting what seed and who's going to grab the last couple remaining playoff seeds. Check back next week when I will provide you with a "juicy" NBA Playoff Preview of the First Round match-ups.

Check out the up-to-date Conference Standings

Eastern Conference
As you can see, 7 of the 8 seeds are accounted for with the Knicks clinching a spot this past week, while the 8th and final spot is still up for grab. The Philadelphia 76ers are currently sitting in the 8th spot at (32-30), with the Milwaukee Bucks 3.5 games behind them at (29-33). Both teams have 4 remaining games left (76ers 4 away games; Bucks 1 away, 3 home), and its hard to see the 76ers not being able to win at least one of their final four games. With that said, with the Knicks lose to the Cavs on Friday night, they are only .5 game in front of Philly and I could easily see those two teams flip flop before the end of the season. The hottest team in the East has to be the current 3rd seeded Indiana Pacers (41-22) currently on a 7-game winning streak and winners of their last 9 out of 10. Will the Pacers be able to hang come playoff time? The playoff team that received the worst news of the week, the Orlando Magic, who will be without their Superman Dwight Howard for the remainder of the season (back surgery). Pretty much, puts the cherry on top, of what the Magic roller coaster season and all the rumors/drama involving the Magic's big man. In the middle, the Celtics are the Atlantic Division champs, but sit a game and half behind the 5th seeded Atlanta Hawks and are in serious jeopardy of starting the playoffs on the road. The NBA has this stupid thing that if you have a better record then the higher-division winner, you get the home-court advantage in the playoffs (I believe its only happened once before, #6 seed LA Clippers vs. #3 Denver Nuggets, 2006 NBA Playoffs).

Battle for the Eastern Conference #1 seed: Bulls hold a 1.5 games lead over the Heat
Bulls games to go: vs. Dallas (4/21), @ Indiana (4/25), vs. Cleveland (4/26)
Heat games to go: vs. Washington (4/21), vs. Houston (4/22), @ Boston (4/24), @ Washington (4/26)

I'll make it simple on you all, Both teams win out, Bulls nip the Heat by a game to grab the #1 seed for the second straight year, but will they be able to use the home-court advantage to beat the Heat in a Best of 7 game series, this time around? (Heat beat the Bulls, in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, 4-1)

Western Conference
While the East is pretty much set as is, the Western Conference is anywhere but that. With less then a week left in the regular season, 6 spots are locked up with three teams battling for the final two spots. Then you have the LA squads fighting each other for the Pacific Division/3rd seed. The loser in that race will go up against #5 seed Memphis Grizzles, winners of 3 straight and 8 out of 10, are out to prove last season's playoff run wasn't a "one-hit" wonder. Maybe, the Grizzles still have a chance to move up and past one of the two LA squads, if either of them were to fall apart in the final week. Then you have Dallas (who's already clinched a spot), Nuggets, Suns, Jazz fighting for positioning for 6th, 7th, and 8th. Sorry Houston fans, but with the recent 6-game skid, I am personally keeping them out of this discussion (even tho they are only 1 game back of the 8th spot, the tie-breaker hurt 'em). So lets check out the current 6-10 seeded teams out West remaining schedules, along with the Pacific Division race.

Battle for 6th, 7th, and 8th out West: Currently Dallas (36-28), Denver (34-28), Phoenix (33-30)
Mavs games to go: @ Chicago (4/21), @ Atlanta (4/26)
Nuggets games to go: @ Phoenix (4/21), vs. Orlando (4/22), @ OKC (4/25), @ Minnesota (4/26)
Suns games to go: vs. Denver (4/21), @ Jazz (4/24), vs. Spurs (4/25)
Jazz games to go: vs. Orlando (4/21), vs. Phoenix (4/24), vs. Portland (4/26)

Man, this is going to be a wild finish, especially with a couple of games matching these teams together. I want to say right now I like the way it looks currently, but I know that probably won't happen, so lets just see how it all plays out, if anything it will be very entertaining to watch thats for sure.

Battle for the Pacific Division: Lakers currently hold a .5 game lead on the Clippers
Lakers games to go: vs. OKC (4/22), @ Sacramento (4/26)
Clippers games to go: vs. New Orleans (4/22), @ Atlanta (4/24), @ New York (4/25)

Moneys on "Showtime" in this race.

Battle for the Western Conference #1 seed: Spurs hold a .5 lead over the Thunder
Spurs games to go: vs. Cleveland (4/22), vs. Portland (4/23), @ Phoenix (4/25), @ Golden State (4/26)
Thunder games to go: @ LA Lakers (4/22), vs. Sacramento (4/24), vs. Denver (4/25)

Spurs win this race, but a lot the 1 seed did for them last year, Grizzles bounced them in 6 games as the #8 seed, will history repeat itself. 

Due to the amount of key games this final week, I will provide you with the NBA Schedule, and you come up with your own list of "Games of the Week".