Apr 12, 2011, 9:54 AM EDT
Back East they have their act together. They’ve planned in advance and they know what they want to do for the playoffs.
Out West they have procrastinated. Always waiting to the last second. And the whole thing is complicated. Trigonometry complicated. Bring in Stephen Hawking and Brian Green to explain it complicated.
So we’ll start with the easy side.
Everything is set — these are your playoff matchups
No. 1 Chicago vs. No. 8 Indiana: Not much of a series here, the question is can Indiana even steal a game.
No. 2 Miami vs. No. 7: Philadelphia: Philly is capable of making this difficult for Miami — but the 76ers have to get healthy. Lou Williams’ hamstring and needs to be back at 100 percent, Andre Iguodala needs to get right. Elton Brand’s hand has to be better. And even if all those things do come together they probably win two games in the series.
No. 3 Boston vs. No. 6 New York: Boston is going to win this, but it could be entertaining. Boston limps into the playoffs while the Knicks are hot… but we got fooled by Boston limping into the playoffs last season. We won’t be fooled again. Boston is flawed but the Knicks are not the team to expose them.
No. 4 Orlando vs. No. 5 Atlanta: Orlando has dominated this matchup in recent years, but Atlanta is counting on Jason Collins to change that. Sure, that will work.
The easy part: San Antonio is the top seed.
Now it gets messy — ESPN’s John Hollinger says there are still 128 scenarios that could play out — and the West is going to go down to Wednesday night no matter what happens Tuesday….
Dallas, with their overtime win Monday, moves into second place in the West (56-25) by half a game over the Lakers, however, the Lakers still have the tiebreaker over Dallas and control their own destiny. Win out and Los Angeles the two seed. Which sounds simple enough except for that five-game losing streak.
For the Lakers they have to beat San Antonio Tuesday night. Now get Oliver Stone in here and let’s talk conspiracy — if the Lakers lose to the Spurs they will be tied with Oklahoma City for the three/four seed, and the team that is the four seed faces San Antonio in the second round. San Antonio wants to avoid the Lakers as long as possible. So don’t be shocked if the Spurs rest guys. However, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich says that is not happening because the Bulls remain right on the Spurs heels for the best record overall. We’ll see who the Spurs give the big minutes to tonight.
That game will answer some questions but it’s still a mess. Suffice to say that the Lakers, Mavericks and Thunder all can basically finish anywhere from two to four seeds, and we will not know the answers until the games are over Wednesday night.
Denver is the five seed. That’s locked in.
The Portland/Memphis/New Orleans scenarios for seeds six, seven and eight make the Lakers/Mavericks/Thunder scenarios look simple. Honestly, I’m not even going to try and lay out all the possibilities because you have better things to do all day than read playoff scenarios
Tonight’s Portland vs. Memphis game is huge though. Portland wins and they are locked in at the six seed. Memphis is currently the seven seed and that’s the spot nobody wants because it means the Lakers in the first round… unless the Lakers lose to the Spurs tonight, in which case it would be better to be the seven seed than the six seed…. Oh, and if Memphis beats Portland Tuesday and the Clippers Wednesday, then the Grizzlies will be the six seed. So Blazers/Grizzlies is a big game with big implications.
Just check back tomorrow and we’ll lay out the final night of the West and how it can all go down. For now, just enjoy Memphis vs. Portland. (We’d say enjoy Los Angeles versus San Antonio, too, but we sense a dud.)
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