Dallas and Memphis are also playing for the final spot in the west. Currently, the Mavericks are holding on to the seventh spot, but a loss would drop them to eight. That’s the difference between playing the Spurs in the first round or facing off with OKC potentially.
In the East, Indiana held onto the top spot in the playoffs, but they haven’t been a powerful basketball team for months. They are locked into a battle with the Hawks in the first round.
The other series are not yet set in stone. Brooklyn is a loss and a Washington Wizards win away from snatching up the No. 6 position. Otherwise, they’ll be facing off with the Chicago Bulls if the playoffs ended today.
The Miami Heat are stuck in the second spot, but are they the odds on favorite to win the championship for a third straight year?
The San Antonio Spurs have the best record in the NBA. Therefore, they should be the favorite to win the NBA Finals when they commence. They’ll have a tough task in all three rounds just to reach the NBA championship series.
2. Miami Heat
The Miami Heat have delivered the last two NBA titles and they’ve been to three straight finals. Many think they could breeze through the Eastern Conference playoffs. The start against the Charlotte Bobcats.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder
Kevin Durant is trying to earn that first elusive title. Last year the playoffs were derailed by an injury to Russell Westbrook. They just hope to stay healthy throughout.
4. L.A. Clippers
The Clippers hired Doc Rivers just for this reason. They are still in position to earn the No.2 seed in the west. They must prove they can get out of the first round this season. It will be tough.
5. Indiana Pacers
They wanted home court advantage in the East and they earned it. Now they have to get that whole “playing well” thing down. They’ll face off with Atlanta in the first round.
6. Houston Rockets
Dwight Howard joined James Harden and the Houston Rockets to win the NBA title. Here’s their first chance to do so. Let’s see how their offense thrives in the playoffs.
7. Brooklyn Nets
The Nets have gone on a losing streak at the end of the season. Are they working their way into a favorable spot in the Eastern conference? Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett can finally earn their money.
8. Toronto Raptors
They are the No. 3 team in the East. Their talented backcourt should cause problems in the postseason. Still, they are in their first go around as a playoff team. They might be underdogs in the first round.
9. Chicago Bulls
The Bull are without Derrick Rose for the second straight year. Actually it’s their third playoff appearance without D. Rose. Will their toughness be enough to advance in the first round?
10. Dallas Mavericks
Dirk and company have roared back into playoff contention after taking a year off. They are still fighting for the seventh seed, and they could face one of three teams in the playoffs. The Mavs could bust that bracket.
11. Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies fought off injuries to Marc Gasol to storm into the playoffs. They are likely to face the San Antonio Spurs unless they beat Dallas to finish the regular season.
12. Portland Trailblazers
This could be way too low for Portland when the playoffs start, but they won’t have home court advantage in the first round. Portland is a young playoff team, so it will be interesting to see how the newbies step up.
13. Golden State Warriors
The Warriors have front office trouble as well as front court trouble. Even with Bogut’s broken rib, they’ll be the most interesting team in the playoffs. Can you say splash brothers?
14. Washington Wizards
The Wizards are the x-factor of the playoffs. Their speed and willingness to get up and down the floor is tremendous. We can’t wait to watch John Wall facilitate the offense. Hopefully, the nerves disappear quickly.
15. Charlotte Bobcats
Kemba Walker is also making his first playoff appearance. Al Jefferson will be the go to guy and he has to bring it if Charlotte wants to pull the monumental upset. UCONN guards do special things in the postseason.
16. Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks recently blew out the Indiana Pacers on the road. If they get one of the first two games, this will be a long series. When both teams get together, the series’ usually go the distance.