THE NBA Playoffs begin on August 17. Here is the current playoff picture for both conferences as of August 10:
Bucks(1) vs Magic(8)
Raptors(2) vs Nets(7)
Celtics(3) vs Sixers(6)
Heat(4) vs Pacers(5)
Lakers(1) vs Grizzlies(8)
Clippers(2) vs Mavericks(7)
Nuggets(3) vs Jazz(6)
Rockets(4) vs Thunder(5)
While the Eastern Conference matchups are set, the Western Conference seeding may still change with the remaining seeding games and the play-in for the last spot currently with the Grizzlies. The closest team who can catch the final playoff berth in the West are the Portland Trailblazers. The Grizzlies don’t have a firm hold on the 8th seed and must make a strong showing in their remaining games. As of this writing, the Grizzlies lost to the Raptors, and the Blazers squeaked by the Sixers.
Incidentally, there is also a play-in scenario for the 8th seed in the West. Teams are also fighting for the 9th spot. This 9th spot is a backdoor to the playoffs. The Suns, currently the bubbles hottest team, Spurs and Pelicans still have this route to take a chance to beat the 8th seed in two games and gain a ticket to the playoffs. Who eventually takes the last playoff seed? It will go down to the last seeding games. Let’s watch out which team fizzles out first.
For the East, the emergence of the Pacers in the bubble games and the sustained play of the Heat can pose several problems for the top three contenders, Bucks, Raptors, and Celtics. While without the excitement of a play-in, the side highlights of the matchup are as exciting. Boston and Philly will meet in the first round. AlHorford vs. his former team, the Celtics. In 2018, he helped the Celtics eliminate the Sixers in the conference semi-finals. Will he help the Sixers advance this year?
The NBA bubble games have been exhilarating thus far. If the recent games are any indication, the playoffs can become as wild and unpredictable. Even with the contenders, upsets can still happen in this very unusual season.
Notes from the sidelines:
On August 15, GameOn is two years old. Thank you, Sunstar Davao and Ms. Marianne, for the break. Two years of sports writing has given me the needed balance between work and leisure. Thank you to all the friends and supporters of GameOn.