NBA playoffs roundup

With the month of March dominated by college hoops, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s going on in major league basketball. With about two weeks remaining in the NBA regular season, four Eastern Conference teams and five Western Conference teams have clinched playoff spots.

The Central division was shaping up to be the strongest in the East with Detroit, Cleveland and Chicago securing spots early in the postseason. The Raptors are the other team in the East to clinch the very weak Atlantic division.

In the West, the Southwest Division remains the strongest with all three Texas teams reaching the postseason. Dallas has a nine-game lead over second-place San Antonio and a 15-game lead over third-place Houston. Other teams making noise in the West are the Phoenix Suns and the Utah Jazz, who are the only teams that have already won division titles.

I could talk about the remaining teams that will be fighting for those final spots in each conference, but I think I’ll save my breath since none of those teams have a chance with the exception of Miami, and that depends on Dwayne Wade’s health. and performance

Let’s get straight to the point. The last time you paid attention to the NBA, there was Phoenix and Dallas in the West and the East was probably still wide open. He may have scored in Detroit who owns the best record in the Eastern Conference by a slim margin and has tons of playoff experience. Not much has changed, but San Antonio and Houston have played as well as any other team in the second half, making them viable candidates for the NBA Finals. The most dominant team in the NBA this decade decided to get going in the second half and Yao Ming’s return has greatly benefited the Rockets as expected, much to the dismay of basketball know-it-alls who said Houston was better off without him. . I know Dallas and Phoenix have gotten a lot of the attention, but don’t count on any of the other Texas teams out west, especially San Antonio, which plays the best defense in the league and has an experienced core of stars. In my opinion, health is really the Spurs’ biggest hurdle, even bigger than the Mavs.

The east is still up for grabs in every sense of the phrase. Any team that clicks when the playoffs begin is just as likely to catch fire and make it to the NBA Finals as any other team. Because the east is so weak, I think you have to make experienced teams like the Pistons and Heat your favorites. The Chicago Bulls have the third-best record in the Central Division but the best record against Central Division teams at 11-4 this season. Detroit is just 7-6 against Central, which is just one game better than the sluggish Pacers in the loss column. However, the Bulls rely too much on perimeter scoring and haven’t shown enough consistent play on the road to make us believe they could make it to the Finals.

Cleveland also has a better record than Detroit within the division at 9-5. They won a playoff series last season, and they have an inside scorer in Ilgauskas. However, the Cavs won their first playoff series in recent memory against one of the NBA’s worst defensive teams in Washington, and James had just gotten a visit from the injury virus with a flare-up of tendonitis in his knee. The Pistons are a great defensive team with balance and depth that have been there and done it. Miami also has unmatched experience and is the most dominant player in the Eastern Conference. And I’m talking about Shaq. If Shaq hadn’t been injured for much of the first half of the season, the Heat would be leaving Washington in the dust right now. More injuries will be the only thing keeping the Heat from another date with the Pistons in the Conference Finals.

There’s your summary. The same things we thought before the season have remained throughout it. It’s Dallas, San Antonio and Phoenix in the west and Miami and Detroit in the east. As convincing as sportswriters try to make stories like the Warriors’ late push, I’m just not that interested. It is these teams at the top. One of them will have a chance to win the title, while the other will have an early exit.

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