NBA Playoff Thread

nelsonmuntz

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#1
With the exception of the 8 seed in the East, the playoff teams are basically decided although there will be some movement in seedings between now and the end of the season.

Orlando has the easiest schedule remaining among the contenders for the 8th seed in the East, so they are the favorite. Brooklyn has a very tough remaining schedule. Pacers have a tough remaining road too, and are coming back to earth after a good run right after Oladipo's injury.

Utah, San Antonio and the Clippers have easy remaining schedules, and Oklahoma City has a very tough remaining schedule. Nuggets schedule is tough enough that I think Warriors will hold onto the #1 seed in the West.


Let's say, for the sake of argument, the standings end up:

East: Bucks, Raptors, 76ers, Celtics, Pacers, Pistons, Nets, Magic

West: Warriors, Nuggets, Rockets, Trail Blazers, Spurs, Thunder, Jazz, Clippers

I think the East will end up pretty close to the standings above. The west could end up anywhere.

What are your thoughts? Who is most likely first round victim?
 

nelsonmuntz

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#2
And on cue, the Magic lose to the Wizards and the Heat blowout the Pistons.

In other playoff news, Isaiah Thomas has effectively been dropped from the Nuggets 8 man playoff rotation. He was in line for a 9 digit max contract before he got his hip injury. That should be a lesson to every NBA player: get paid when you can get paid, because you are one bad step from a career altering injury.
 

the Q

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#3
And on cue, the Magic lose to the Wizards and the Heat blowout the Pistons.

In other playoff news, Isaiah Thomas has effectively been dropped from the Nuggets 8 man playoff rotation. He was in line for a 9 digit max contract before he got his hip injury. That should be a lesson to every NBA player: get paid when you can get paid, because you are one bad step from a career altering injury.
The problem is the nba system doesn’t incentivize players to sign an extension.
 
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#4
Houston has a lot of "easy" games with a back to back against Milwaukee and Denver in the middle of it. I say "easy" because you never know, but I think they will catch Denver in the standings.
 

nelsonmuntz

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#5
I hate seeing late season injuries. Trail Blazers season is over if C.J. McCollum's injury is serious. Bucks will definitely take a hit losing Brogdan for 6-8 weeks. They should be fine in the first round, but round 2 against the Celtics could be tough without Brogdan. Weird that a young player like Brogdan gets an old man's injury like plantar fasciitis, and that is going to cost him at contract time.
 

nelsonmuntz

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#6
Houston has a lot of "easy" games with a back to back against Milwaukee and Denver in the middle of it. I say "easy" because you never know, but I think they will catch Denver in the standings.
Remaining Schedule Strength | Tankathon

I agree that the Rockets are playing really well right now, but they are 4 back in the loss column with 13 games left. It is a tall hill to climb to pass the Nuggets. Also, two of the Nuggets "tough" games are against Portland, and those games are not as tough if McCollum is out.

The Spurs are playing great basketball at the right time. I expected the Spurs to be a 50 win team this year, which seems unlikely at this point. The 1-7 stretch during their 8 game road trip in February is actually the surprising part of their season. A team as good as the Spurs should never have a stretch like that. They have a relatively easy schedule the rest of the way, and with McCollum's injury and Oklahoma City's tough remaining schedule, a 4th place finish for the Spurs is not out of the question.

Utah is right behind them, and the Jazz have the easiest remaining schedule in the NBA, so there could be a lot of shuffling of seeding in the West by the end of the season.

Indiana could collapse down the stretch. I think they are winning with mirrors as it is, and their remaining schedule is tough. Other than their last game against the Hawks, every team they have on their schedule is either in the playoffs already, or like Orlando, is fighting for a spot. 5 of their next 6 games are on the road, @ Portland, @ Clippers, @ Golden State, Denver, @ Oklahoma City, and @ Boston. I think McMillan has done an amazing job with this team, but they just don't have the talent. There aren't enough games left in the season for the Pistons to catch them from behind, but they are going to be a weak 5 seed against the Celtics.

Orlando blew their opening to grab the 8th seed, and I think the fight for the last spot in the east between Orlando, Miami and Charlotte will come down to the wire.
 
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#7
Remaining Schedule Strength | Tankathon

I agree that the Rockets are playing really well right now, but they are 4 back in the loss column with 13 games left. It is a tall hill to climb to pass the Nuggets. Also, two of the Nuggets "tough" games are against Portland, and those games are not as tough if McCollum is out.

The Spurs are playing great basketball at the right time. I expected the Spurs to be a 50 win team this year, which seems unlikely at this point. The 1-7 stretch during their 8 game road trip in February is actually the surprising part of their season. A team as good as the Spurs should never have a stretch like that. They have a relatively easy schedule the rest of the way, and with McCollum's injury and Oklahoma City's tough remaining schedule, a 4th place finish for the Spurs is not out of the question.

Utah is right behind them, and the Jazz have the easiest remaining schedule in the NBA, so there could be a lot of shuffling of seeding in the West by the end of the season.

Indiana could collapse down the stretch. I think they are winning with mirrors as it is, and their remaining schedule is tough. Other than their last game against the Hawks, every team they have on their schedule is either in the playoffs already, or like Orlando, is fighting for a spot. 5 of their next 6 games are on the road, @ Portland, @ Clippers, @ Golden State, Denver, @ Oklahoma City, and @ Boston. I think McMillan has done an amazing job with this team, but they just don't have the talent. There aren't enough games left in the season for the Pistons to catch them from behind, but they are going to be a weak 5 seed against the Celtics.

Orlando blew their opening to grab the 8th seed, and I think the fight for the last spot in the east between Orlando, Miami and Charlotte will come down to the wire.
I have been basing this on Denver sort of struggling recently. However, they got two wins against Dallas and Indiana that were life and death, so they probably will hold Houston off. I feel pretty confident that Houston is a better team than Denver though, and remains the only threat to Golden State. I'm not feeling it with the Spurs, but I definitely agree on Indiana. I really have to give them credit for holding it together, but reality has to set in at some point I would think.
 
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#9
Remaining Schedule Strength | Tankathon

I agree that the Rockets are playing really well right now, but they are 4 back in the loss column with 13 games left. It is a tall hill to climb to pass the Nuggets. Also, two of the Nuggets "tough" games are against Portland, and those games are not as tough if McCollum is out.

The Spurs are playing great basketball at the right time. I expected the Spurs to be a 50 win team this year, which seems unlikely at this point. The 1-7 stretch during their 8 game road trip in February is actually the surprising part of their season. A team as good as the Spurs should never have a stretch like that. They have a relatively easy schedule the rest of the way, and with McCollum's injury and Oklahoma City's tough remaining schedule, a 4th place finish for the Spurs is not out of the question.

Utah is right behind them, and the Jazz have the easiest remaining schedule in the NBA, so there could be a lot of shuffling of seeding in the West by the end of the season.

Indiana could collapse down the stretch. I think they are winning with mirrors as it is, and their remaining schedule is tough. Other than their last game against the Hawks, every team they have on their schedule is either in the playoffs already, or like Orlando, is fighting for a spot. 5 of their next 6 games are on the road, @ Portland, @ Clippers, @ Golden State, Denver, @ Oklahoma City, and @ Boston. I think McMillan has done an amazing job with this team, but they just don't have the talent. There aren't enough games left in the season for the Pistons to catch them from behind, but they are going to be a weak 5 seed against the Celtics.

Orlando blew their opening to grab the 8th seed, and I think the fight for the last spot in the east between Orlando, Miami and Charlotte will come down to the wire.
Kudos to you on the Spurs pick even though you were a bit high. Most people I follow projected them to miss the playoffs. After last season, I decided I would never bet against Pop making the playoffs. After this season, every person who pays attention should follow suit. Look at that roster! They will be a great sleeper next year with White's development and if Murray is as good as the Spurs say he is. They are forming a nice young core with Poetl, Bertans, Murray and White. Similar to the Clippers, this is a team that could win the West if they land an impact FA and if KD departs. They have something like 17 mil. in space next year and they could make some moves to get a near max guy.

What @uconnbaseball is missing in his Jazz take is that they are 22-10 in the new year. They have been inconsistent, but they have been consistently good the past 2+ months. Mitchell went from an inefficient chucker to an efficient volume scorer. Literally the exact same thing happened last year.
 
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#10
I think Utah's schedule was a bit front-end loaded too. Their remaining schedule is very weak.

Like the Jazz, the back 10% of the Spurs schedule is weak. Any team that plays great D, moves the ball well, and has two all-star caliber players in their prime is a threat in the playoffs.

The Nets are not out of the woods yet. Their next two games at the Lakers and at the Kings are must wins, because the last 8 games are brutal unless some of the teams start resting players.

All the western playoff teams will have a decision to make soon. Do they fight for an extra home game, or rest their key players? I think it will depend on the team. A younger team like Denver or Utah probably wants the home game. A veteran team like the Warriors, Rockets or Spurs may want the rest.
 
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#11
San Antonio is on what feels like the most quiet win streak I can ever remember. Maybe it is just because they are pretty good every year and I sort of take them for granted. I still don't feel like they are any sort of a contender though. OKC has to be wondering what the hell is going on right now. They started their game last night up 13 or 14 to zip against Miami, only to basically be run out from there.
 
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#12
Bucks having a train wreck of a last 10 days. Brogdan is probably out until May. Giannis has a sore ankle. Mirotic has a slight break in his thumb and it out 2-4 weeks. George Hill just has to play at this point even if he is banged up, and Brooke Lopez can not play 37 minutes too often if the Bucks want to have him for the playoffs too.

Despite some awful play the last month, the Celtics are lining up a very reasonable path to a conference final. Indiana is no where near the team they were before Oladipo went down. Assuming the Celtics get by Indiana, the Bucks are limping into the post-season and are very beatable without Brogdan.
 
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#14
Thunder, Spurs, Clippers and Jazz all tied at 42-30 with 10 games left. Spurs, Clippers and Jazz all have easy schedules, and the Thunder don't. My gut is that they finish Spurs, Jazz, Thunder and Clippers in that order.

I think the median number of games for the first round Western Conference series is going to be 6. The Clippers could go down in 4 or 5 games, but I think the other first round series are going to be battles.

The Raptors and the Bucks should both really want that #1 seed in the East, because the #1 seed won't see the 76ers until the conference finals. I know anything can happen in an NBA game, but odds are that Raptors and Bucks both get out of the first round in 4 or 5 games against the Nets and Heat.

The 76ers are going to be a tough out in a playoff series, because they will tighten up their bench a lot, and they will also always have days off between games to rest their starters, enabling Barry to play the starters a lot of minutes. If I am the Raptors or Bucks, I would rather play the 76ers in the third round than the second round, because the cumulative effect of the 5 starters playing 35+ minutes per game will start to wear on them in the later rounds, especially Embiid.

If Detroit can stretch Philly to 6 games, it will really help out Philly's second round opponent. Especially since Embiid will have to defend Griffin or Drummond whenever he is on the court, meaning he will never have a break.

Toronto and the Bucks use their bench a lot more than Philadelphia, so they shouldn't get as worn down over the course of the playoffs.

I think the Bucks are vulnerable to an upset by the Celtics in the second round, but at some point the Celtics' product on the court has to match its potential on paper, or it is time to recognize that maybe the potential isn't quite what everyone thought.
 
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#15
I know that late in the season teams are going to rest guys, maybe just sort of settle in to their playoff slot, etc. But good lord at Golden State getting absolutely crushed by the Mavs.
 
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#16
I know that late in the season teams are going to rest guys, maybe just sort of settle in to their playoff slot, etc. But good lord at Golden State getting absolutely crushed by the Mavs.
The Warriors don't seem to care either. Maybe they are that good that they can just turn it on when they need to.

76ers and Celtics both lost to non-playoff teams last night. The game didn't matter to Philadelphia, but the Celtics are fighting a depleted Pacers team for the last home court spot, and the Celtics are losing.
 

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