Play-off Picture…in’s and out’s

Good evening hoop fans,

Its been a few weeks since iv put fingers to keys. We’ve been treated to some truly fantastic ball over the last few weeks. The Heat closing in on an all-time NBA win streak record, The Nuggets are currently on a franchise record win streak and the west seedings are completely open with 4 or 5 teams fighting it out for the number 1 seed.

With the regular season drawing to an end on april 17th with all of the teams playing on the last night, i’m going to talk through some possible winners and losers in the fight to reach the playoffs. I’m going to start with the east. We all know that the top spot is going to be occupied by Miami Heat, they have the best record and can do no wrong…even coming back from huge deficits to grind out victories. This team is special. As for the 2nd spot i think its between the Knicks and the Pacers. With Carmelo i think the Knicks will have the scorer to hold the 2nd spot. But, we all know that he is physically vulnerable at the moment and Stoudemire is not quite there yet. Paul George is the catalyst for this years Pacer team with the absence on Danny Granger. They will meet either the Bulls, Celtics or The Hawks and will have enough fire power to progress towards the conference semi’s. Im pretty confident that the final 8 have been decided in the east (unless the 76ers go on a franchise record streak) but, the Bucks, Celtic and Bulls need to keep above .500 to avoid the Heat and minor shout in progressing further than the first round. For the Bulls they have now come to terms with the fact that Derrick Rose will not play this season and to put there main focus on building for next season. This story has similar notes to the Celtics season, now Rondo is out. Pierce is trying to pull the weight, but its not quite happening with rumors of KG leaving at the end of the season. Underachieving season again for the Celtics. The Bucks have done themselves proud by getting this far, lets hope they don’t slip up up on the home stretch and that Jennings, Ellis and Sanders can create some unlikely upsets against the Heat….

Now to the west. About 2 weeks ago tony Parker was out for a handful of games, OKC had a rocky road trip, Denver started to play after the all-star break and the Clippers were, well…the Clippers. Now Parker is back and looking to steadily roll to the top spot. But the other 3 teams in question are also now finding form at the right time. The Denver Nuggets have been playing sensationally well as they are on a 15 win streak with Ty Lawson pulling the strings. OKC will always be there with 3 times scoring champ fit. The team with the most electric transitional game in the NBA hot on there heels, the Clippers are not to be left out. Memphis also have a shout for a top 4 seed, especially with the most creative “big-man” in the league, Marc Gasol. I think i can say that one of the 1st round match-ups will be between Denver, Clippers or Memphis, but the seedings i cannot predict. Golden State are the surprise package so far and are going strong towards the end of the season. Curry is averaging over 20 points a game is certainly helping their cause. The Los Angeles Lakers, for some people it has not been a surprise that their season has been a none starter. Some moments of brilliance, but few and far between as Kobe, Howard and Nash have not lit up every area like some people thought when the signings happened. Will it all come together in the playoffs (if they get there)? it could, they have the talent to cause upsets and make a strong run. If they slide in at the 8th spot and come against a tired, physically vulnerable Spurs team they could chalk a couple of wins and maybe, just maybe, the L.A “big three” can create something we haven’t really seen all season. Utah, Dallas and Minnesota will be disappointed to have not made the playoffs this season. Dallas’ veterans have maybe gone too far, The Wolves haven’t had Love for the majority of the season, Rubio for the 1st half and Kirilenko for some time and the Jazz haven’t really played around big Al Jefferson, they will need to look for maybe a 2nd scoring option or a scoring point guard, perhaps someone with a bit of experience in the off season.

Lets enjoy the rest of the regular season, before the nitty-gritty of the playoffs. 

Il be back with predictions for the finalist’s and regular season awards (MVP, rookie of the year, 6th man, most improved player, coach of the year and all NBA team of the year)

xx

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Good morning hoop fans!

Good morning, so i was right on 2 games out of 4. The 76ers field goal percentage last night helped them to a much needed win over the Warriors, Steph Curry hits 30pts in a losing cause. Joakim Noah once again, comes up with a huge game to put one over the Nets (21pts, 10 reounds). Another much needed confidence booster for the bulls. Damian Lillard gave a rookie of the year performance (24pts) to steer the Blazers to victory against an under-strength Wolves. Everything was clicking for Portland. Then finally, after overtime, the Bucks see off the Raptors. Monta Ellis and Ilyasova doing the scoring and Jennings being generous (19 assists). Have to mention a losing triple-double for Kyle Lowry.

I’m going to briefly talk about a few of tonights match-ups, as i’m not around tonight for a detailed preview.

There are plenty of games on tonight, but iv picked out the key games for me this evening are the Heat at the Knicks, OKC at the Clippers, Detroit at the Spurs, Bulls at Indiana and the Hawks at theLakers.

Can Carmelo and company end the Heats 13 game win streak? The Knicks have won the last two over the Heat. But i think that ends tonight. The Heat are relaxed and confident and playing some incredible basketball…This is dangerous for the league! 

MIA 109-101 NYK

The Thunder roll into L.A tonight in need of finding some road momentum, especially if they want to make a run to the finals. No serious injury news in Oklahoma. They’l need a tough interior D tonight against the Clips.” A serious title challenge” is what some people are saying about the Clips, i don’t blame them. a series of great wins, high field goal percentage and Chris Paul doing his thing. 

OKC 95-97 LAC

Detroit visit the Spurs. This is going to be the first real look at the Spurs without Parker. Do Ginobli and Duncan have the minutes in them? can Leonard, Mills and De Colo step up? This is a big test in front of their home crowd against a physical Pistons side who have lost 4 from 5 looking to bounce back…hard!

DET 82-101 SAS

Bulls make the short trip to division rivals Indiana. This is always a good match! The Bulls need to keep this form going tonight against a big Indiana side who, some people are saying, could go all the way if the stay healthy. George, Granger, Hibbert, West and co are all playing together and are hoping for their 7th win in 8 over the Bulls.

CHI 85-97 IND

With Josh Smith staying put over the trade period that will inject some confidence into the Hawks. Not only are they playing some good basketball in parts, but they’ve kept their star man. Also, Dwight Howard needs to watch out for big Al Horford, averaging 24.8ppg and 11.8rpg in his last 8 games. If the Lakers can win this game, it won’t move them any closer to the playoffs in this topsy-turvy season of theirs…but it will get them to .500! Howard and Nash need to stand up and start earning your money!

ATL 104-106 LAL

Watch this to get you in the mood for tonights games…xImage