NBA Play-off round-up
After Monday nights match the Western Conference seems now almost set, especially after the Portland Trail Blazers (48-25) defeated the Phoenix Suns 109-86, earning themselves a spot in the NBA playoffs whilst making it increasingly unlikely that the Suns (38-37) will manage to make that eighth seed of the Western Conference. They would have to manage to leapfrog the New Orleans Pelicans (39-34) and the Oklahoma City Thunder (42-32) to make the playoffs. The Los Angeles Clippers (49-26) quietly secured a postseason spot with a win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday whereas the San Antonio Spurs (48-26) and Dallas Mavericks (45-29) have yet to officially lock down playoff berths, but it’s mostly a formality at this point. The Trail Blazers, Clippers and Spurs all are in the race for the fourth seed, which would mean home-court advantage for at least the first round of the playoffs. A top NBA tipster knows that there is, no drama left for the Golden State Warriors (61-13), who have already clinched the best record in the Western Conference and seem likely to end the season with the best record the NBA.
The Eastern Conference though, is not so decide yet even if, after beating the Miami Heat on Friday, the Atlanta Hawks (56-19) clinched home-court advantage up until the NBA Finals, should they make it that far. The rest of the Eastern Conference is a bit blurred, with the Toronto Raptors (44-30),who clinched the Atlantic Division for just the third time in franchise history, after a 94-83 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. That’s good for fourth place in the East, although they could still scratch their way higher if they start playing much better than they have recently. For the rest, the Cleveland Cavaliers (48-27) have a two-and-a-half-game lead over the Chicago Bulls (45-29) in the race for second place. On Monday night, the Charlotte Hornets lost to the Boston Celtics and practically ended their season according to the top NBA predictions, but also briefly put the Celtics (33-41) in the eighth seed spot in the Eastern Conference but 24 hours later, when the Nets (33-40) defeated the Indiana Pacers 111-106, they took a half-game lead over Boston. The Milwaukee Bucks (36-38), currently in line for the No6 seed, are stumbling and bumbling their way to the finish line even if they’ve lost eight of their last 10.
At least the Miami Heat (34-40) are taking care of their business: after losing Chris Bosh for the season, less than 24 hours after making the biggest splash of the trade deadline by acquiring Dragic from Phoenix, it looked as if the Heat were in danger of falling out of playoff contention but then Dwyane Wade took over and Miami pulled off back-to-back wins over the Cavaliers and Trail Blazers. Since then, besides an ill-timed loss to the Bucks, they have been beating the teams they are supposed to be beating. Given their competition, that should be enough to ensure that the Heat will, at worst, enter the postseason as a No7 seed.
The best sports betting experts though, still think the next NBA champion will come from the Western conference rather than the Eastern, do you agree?