The NBA season is fast coming to a close. That being said, there are great post-season races taking place in both conferences. As things begin to shake out, we’ll keep this thread updated with the latest news and notes going into the 2008 NBA playoffs. Here are the story-lines so far:
1. What started out as a two team race between Golden State and Denver for the 8th seed in the West has changed with Dirk Nowitzki’s injury today. Now it is essentially Dallas, Golden State, and Denver going for the 7 and 8 seeds. Denver has been behind by a game or two for a while, but they can make a push in the next few weeks, especially if they sweep their remaining two games against the Warriors. The Warriors face a tough closing schedule, and must maintain their focus if they are to retain the 8th seed. Dallas has a mix of tough games and easier matchups (including two games against the Warriors and Clippers in the next two weeks), and they need to at least keep their head above water while Dirk is out for two weeks+ in order to stay in the mix.
2. The other crazy race out West is the battle for the top seeds. At this time, the top 5 teams in the West are within one game of each other, which is simply insane. Because of Utah’s presence in the Top 4 seeds as the leader of the Northwest Division, those five teams are going after the top six seeds, which becomes more important as the 3 and 6 seeds will face each other in the first round. Naturally, each team has their own strengths and weaknesses, making potential playoff series that much more important.
But wait, the East actually has interesting races too!
3. The Raptors have struggled recently and are currently in line to play the Magic, who they actually have had a lot of success against. Chris Bosh seems to play his best against Dwight Howard, so this match-up may be a special one. The Raptors’ guards would easily overwhelm the Magic back-court, as Jameer Nelson and the Magic’s limp 2nd guard rotation have been the team’s key weaknesses.
4. The 5-7 seeds are all in flux, but 8-10 is also just as shaky. Atlanta currently holds a slim margin on the 8th seed and is playing well. However, Indiana and New Jersey are only a small run away from taking that final spot. Each team is being carried by a key player, surprisingly Vince Carter has played with a heartbeat, Joe Johnson has been playing out of his mind, and Mike Dunleavy has become the Pacers’ main scoring option.