Back on March 31st I tried to
estimate guess how the Western Conference would finish. If you want to read that post you can over here, but the TL;DR version of it was that Utah would finish with 49 wins, and drop down to the 6th seed. The Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder would face one another in the 4/5 seed, and the Los Angeles Lakers would lose enough to be the worst of the West. Beyond that nothing much changes from what the standings were back then.
Today some things have changed. And since then, some things in the West have been more solidified. The Golden State Warriors clinched the Top seed in the West. The San Antonio Spurs can’t catch them, but the Houston Rockets can’t catch them in return. Utah is still holding things down at the 4th seed, and six of the seven lotto teams have been eliminated.
The motivations of many of these teams are solidified. The teams that are contenders don’t want to risk anyone getting injured. The teams that are in the lotto want the most ping-pong balls. And there are a hungry few teams out there still trying to win as much as possible. And there are some rogues out there trying to play spoiler.
So how does it all end up?
Don’t want to read too much more? Here’s how the the standings end up (including tie-breakers), during my second attempt at this:
- Golden State Warriors (68-14)
- San Antonio Spurs (62-20)
- Houston Rockets (56-26)
- Los Angeles Clippers (51-31)
- Utah Jazz (51-31)
- Oklahoma City Thunder (49-33)
- Memphis Grizzlies (45-37)
- Portland Trail Blazers (40-42)
- Denver Nuggets (38-44)
- New Orleans Pelicans (35-47)
- Sacramento Kings (33-49)
- Minnesota Timberwolves (32-50)
- Dallas Mavericks (32-50)
- Los Angeles Lakers (23-59)
- Phoenix Suns (22-60)
So what things have changed since last time? Well, I have the Suns losing more than the Lakers. Dallas, Sacramento, and Minnesota all switch around as well. But among the playoff squads not much changes. Utah drops one spot back, and that’s it.
I am expecting the Clippers to win on out, beating the Spurs and Rockets - two teams who may not be playing as hard as them late in this regular season. I think Utah beats San Antonio in Game 82, but lose Game 81 to Golden State.
Also, OKC and MEM both win out but are too far back to catch up.
We’ll revisit this in a few days to see how wrong I was! Hooray!