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Predicting the finish in the Wild, Wild West - March 31, 2017

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GSW, SAS, HOU . . . and then what?

NBA: Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

It’s almost time for the NBA Playoffs. We are, in fact, in the last 15 days of the 2016 2017 regular season. So that means teams are tanking, resting, or taking a deep breath for their #PlayoffPush. It’s hard enough to predict who is going to win on any given night. It’s harder when you have to co-ordinate the schedule, fatigue, and motivations of these 15 clubs. But I took a stab at it. And the news is, well, not great. (I guess I’m in a glass half empty mood right now.)

Let’s speculate, shall we?


First, a look at the teams as they stand today:

#1-5: Warriors, Spurs, Rockets, Jazz, Clippers

AllThatAmar

It’s hard to argue against some of these clubs NOT running the table with how the schedule finishes. In fact, the only team I am worried about is our Jazz. The Dubs are motivated and winning right now. They are always finding things to be motivated about. The Spurs may take the pedal off the gas in the last five days, especially after looking at the standings. The Rockettes are trying to win as much as possible, but we all know they are pretty much stuck in #3 seed no matter what. UTA / LAC / OKC / MEM is a GDCF though.

#6-10: Thunder, Grizzlies, Trail Blazers, Nuggets, Pelicans

AllThatAmar

We see two of those teams here, with OKC and MEM having relatively ‘do-able’ schedules to finish the season. I think that the Blazers have ripped the heart out of the McNuggets, and all the road games they have to play would have sunk them if the Bosnian Beast didn’t do it already. The Pellies are just the Kangz with a different time zone, if you ask me. They may want to win as much as they can because they don’t even own their own pick this year.

#11-15: Mavericks, Kings, Timberwolves, Suns, Lakers

AllThatAmar

These teams all pretty much don’t care about winning anymore.


Here’s how I see it all shaking out, as of right now:

#1-5: Warriors, Spurs, Rockets, Jazz, Clippers

AllThatAmar

I have the Dubs winning out, even while resting, they are just too strong right now. After the April 7th game I have Gregg Popovich look at the standings, and see that Houston can’t catch him, and he can’t catch Golden State, and play the scrubs the rest of the way. That means LAC, POR, and UTA who are all still fighting tooth and nail, pick up wins they normally shouldn’t.

H-Town is strong, but I think they lose to the Dubs and the Clips in La La Land. Other than they, they have some cupcakes. I feel like there’s a high chance for Utah to Jazz all over themselves. I have them losing games to GSW and SAS, and no one is going to fault you for that. But also against WAS (who were embarrassed last time they played), and again @ POR. This is all the opening the LAC needs to leap-frog them. And they do so by being 3 games ahead because of their tie-breaker.

#6-10: Thunder, Grizzlies, Trail Blazers, Nuggets, Pelicans

AllThatAmar

I have OKC tying the Jazz, and thus being ahead of them because of their tie-breaker. Everyone else falls in order.

#11-15: Mavericks, Kings, Timberwolves, Suns, Lakers

AllThatAmar

A lot of losing here, including the Kings out tanking the Lakers on April 7th. But the only change here is that Minny gets fewer ping pong balls at the end of 82. Nothing much to report otherwise.


So here are my final standings out West:

  1. Golden State Warriors (68-14)
  2. San Antonio Spurs (62-20)
  3. Houston Rockets (56-26)
  4. Los Angeles Clippers (51-31) - Up one spot
  5. Oklahoma City Thunder (49-33) - Up one spot
  6. Utah Jazz (49-33) - Down two spots
  7. Memphis Grizzlies (47-35)
  8. Portland Trail Blazers (43-39)
  9. Denver Nuggets (37-45)
  10. New Orleans Pelicans (35-47)
  11. Minnesota Timberwolves (32-50) - Up two spots
  12. Dallas Mavericks (30-52) - Down one spot
  13. Sacramento Kings (30-52) - Down one spots
  14. Phoenix Suns (23-59)
  15. Los Angeles Lakers (22-60)

Clearly I’m not going to be right about this, so as the days go on I may have to return to this and update my projections. I feel bad about losing home court, and missing out on 50 games. But with the injuries the team has right now and the focus on getting guys healthy for the playoffs -- I think the seed matters less than the strength of the team. And the strongest Jazz team there is is one where all five starters are playing together (they are 11-2 so far this season in that situation).