2016 NBA Weekly: PlayOff Picture

Regardless of the Warriors’ 6th loss this season, they are still going to end up number 1 — or 2 at the very least. But for the rest, what’s their PlayOff chances as of late?

Western Conference 

WC 8th spot: Utah v Houston?
WC 8th spot: Utah v Houston?

The Pelicans are out of the playoffs. Being at least 7 games behind 8th placer, Houston and with just about 20 games to go, it would take a miracle for them to make it! What was a promising 2014-15 campaign has turned out to be a disastrous 2015-16 season. And it’s all because of injuries with the most recent occurring to Eric Gordon who broke his finger — again — after returning from the same injury!

This, however, is not true with current 8th placer, Houston Rockets, which obviously has a deeper issue. The existence of James Harden in their lineup, though he may be a good scorer, is just ‘not good’ for superstar pairings. He’s just too ball-dominant that having another superstar like Dwight Howard or whoever would just eventually be a waste of ‘investment’. Bad business.

'Unlucky' Pelicans against the 'Lucky' Blazers
‘Unlucky’ Pelicans against the ‘Lucky’ Blazers

Still, the last playoff spot is not secured with Utah capable of dislodging Houston once it gets over some hiccups. The pleasant surprise though has been Portland who’s sitting at number 7. With all of last season’s starters (save for Damian Lillard) jumping to other teams, Lillard has captained the Blazers from being lottery-bound to playoff-bound. Of course, let’s not forget the emergence of McCollum and the steady presence of Aminu, Plumlee and Leonard.

Eastern Conference

Jimmy Butler is back for the Bulls. And for a while we felt that the Bulls may not be able to make it, although they still haven’t fully secured a playoff spot yet. But unlike when the team loses Derrick Rose, they could still survive and make it at least within the top 5 — ‘care of’ Butler. This only shows how indispensable Butler is to the Bulls, and how well he plays with Pau Gasol! Still, for Chicago to get a chance at the Eastern Finals, they need both Batman and Robin healthy.

Meanwhile, key for Miami in making it to the NBA Finals is Chris Bosh. Although they got a loaded lineup, Bosh remains a stabilizing factor for the Heat. Plus with the recent addition of Joe Johnson, the Heat has a legitimate shot of beating Cleveland in a series.

A toast to the 2016 Celtics!
A toast to the 2016 Celtics!

Now, the Eastern Conference’s surprise though has been the Boston Celtics. The boys are growing and are about to become men — with Isaiah Thomas as their primary threat — they’re just playing so well and above expectations! Hey, in another year or two, they’ll be really dangerous and contending. Watch out!

The Ty Lawson that the Pacers need
The Ty Lawson that the Pacers need

While Paul George’s return has been successful, the Pacers are losing steam. Obviously. But the apparent signing of Ty Lawson could give the Pacers a shot in the arm especially Paul George, their shooters and big men — since the team basically lacks movement and distribution. Paul George, Monta Ellis, ahh they are like.. just one-on-one players where the ball slows down once it’s in their hands. The team needs an effective distributor who is capable of scoring, too! Yeah, they got George Hill but he’s not a ‘sneaky’ PG the Pacers really need.

If they fail to solve this, expect Detroit, the EC darkhorse to make a run at the playoffs — and like Boston, they could even win a game or two against the top seeded Cavaliers!

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