Well, the 8 teams who will make the Western Conference playoffs have been set. The last few games will decide the order and this will get interesting. The Spurs are probably going to fade down the stretch and, with the loss of Ginobili, they’re out in the first round.
The Lakers got Bynum back just in time. Still, he is showing the signs of the layoff and I’m wondering if his little party at the Playboy Mansion caused him to come back early. With a healthy and 100% Bynum, the Lakers can write their ticket to the finals. If not, they’re far from a lock.
My favorite today in the West is Houston. This team really has it all together and Artest didn’t have a meltdown. The Rockets have won 4 in a row and are hot at the right time. I don’t think anyone wants to play them in the first round.
I’d say the Suns are going to look very different. Shaq, Nash, and Stoudemire could all be in different uniforms next year.
Over in the East, I thought Orlando might catch the Celtics. That isn’t going to happen. Unless Lebron is injured, the Cavs have a date in the NBA finals. Detroit, Philadelphia, and Chicago are likely to be swept in their playoff series.
Full disclosure, I am Blazer fan and wanted the Spurs to lose, but that shot against the Kings should not have counted. It was clearly after the shot clock expired. A Spurs apologist on ESPN-dot-com said that it didn’t matter because it probably would have gone into OT and the Spurs would have won anyway. And I would have said before the game that the Spurs would probably win by a comfortable margin, but that didn’t happen either. The game ain’t played on paper.
It irritates me that if they(Portland, Houston, San Antonio) all finish tied, the Blazers will finish with the lowest seed, even though they beat the Spurs on the season series. I can’t wait for the playoffs!
The Bulls are one of the hottest teams going and the Magic one of the coldest. If there’s anything to the “hot at the right time” cliche this matchup could be a lot closer than you are giving them credit for. Though, as a Bulls fan I might prefer to play the Celtics with a dinged Garnett.