Just 2 or 3 games remain in the NBA Regular Season for every teams across the League. The final Sunday (with games) before the postseason is upon us. All 16 playoff spots have been captured. Now, final seeding is the only thing left to be determined. In the West, many teams would like to avoid the young and dangerous Oklahoma City Thunder. In the East, the Celtics and Heat appear destined to play before the Eastern Conference Finals, while Chicago sits pretty with the 1 seed locked up.
Today includes 3 monster games that appear to be inevitable playoff matchups as well.
Chicago Bulls at Orlando Magic: These are your 1 and 4 seeds in the East. Very frequently the 1 and 4 meet in Round 2. Orlando is a team that is used to playing deep into the playoffs, while Chicago, who sports the League’s best record, is quite new to the whole notion of a deep playoff run. Though many feel that Chicago wins games due to the uptempo pace that Derrick Rose can bring to the table. They are really an old school NBA team though, that lives on rebounding, defense, and great teamwork. The Bulls have an outstanding group of players that seem to embody the winning formula. Orlando on the other hand has underachieved a little bit this year. Well at least in my eyes. But they do play somewhat of a similar brand of basketball to Chicago. On this day, I expect the Magic to take home a victory in front of the home crowd, but I would not be counting on a victory in a 7 game series at this time. Magic by 2 today though.
Boston Celtics at Miami Heat: This game holds much more importance than the other 2 marquee games today in my eyes. Each of these teams is not only dying to make a statement, but they are dying to solidify home court in what appears to be an inevitable Conference Semi Finals matchup. Both of these teams sport much better records at home than they do on the road. But I will state, Boston was my pick preseason to come out of the East for a reason. I feel like they have too many weapons on both ends of the floor for a very talented (yet raw) Heat team to combat. I expect Boston to take the game today, behind their number 1 ranked defense, and enjoy the home court advantage in the future playoff matchup between these 2 very talented teams. Boston by 1 today.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Lakers: This was the matchup I predicted for the Western Conference Finals Preseason. And I still see it happening. The Lake Show have lost 4 in a row while the Thunder have won 3 in a row. The Lakers want to solidify the 2 seed. In addition, they do not want OKC to get that 3. Nobody wants to play this very dangerous Thunder squad earlier than they have to in the playoffs. Kobe knows how to win big games. Today is a game that could a long way towards paving LA an easier path back to the Conference Finals, and ultimately the NBA Finals. I admit these teams are somewhat evenly matched on paper. The only difference is experience. LA has it. Lakers take home a huge victory at home by 3.
So there you have my thoughts on today’s “Monster Sunday.” What a slate of games. I cannot believe the playoffs are only a little over a week away.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.