The NBA regular season is drawing to an end as several bottom tier teams scratch and claw their way into playoffs contention, unfortunately, there are only eight playoffs spots with at least 10 possible teams vying for a chance to extend their shelf life and avoid an early trip to the off-season. I believe its safe to say at least seven teams are a dead lock in the west. The Warriors, Grizzlies, Trail Blazers, Rockets, Clippers, Mavs, and Spurs have clearly been the best teams in the conference and I highly doubt you will see much disparity among these teams as the regular season draws to an end. The only question is the No.8 spot– which of the three possible teams will stake their claim and advance to the postseason?
MVP front-runner Russell Westbrook has taken his game to a higher level, definitively carrying his team while averaging an astounding 33.7 points, 10.6 assists, and 10.1 rebounds over the course of the last 10 games (as of 3/7/15)– all without their best player Kevin Durant on the court (injured). But wait, don’t think twice about the Thunder not needing the contributions of Durant if they wish to advance to the postseason–he’s still their most prominent player. Westbrook’s offensive numbers may look great on paper, however, the Thunder are nothing more than a sub .500 team with him leading the charge. Add Durant to the equation and their record is better than .700.
NBA Playoffs- In or out? In, for now. Lets just hope Durant returns sometime soon, as the Thunder are holding on to dear life with a 1-game lead over the New Orleans Pelicans for the 8th and final playoffs spot. I’m still banking on OKC to make the 2015 postseason, but wouldn’t it be insane if they got trumped by Anthony Davis and Co? Talk about an upset.
Despite a nagging shoulder injury, Anthony Davis is racking-up tremendous offensive and defensive figures while leading the Pelicans to what they hope to be their first playoffs appearance since the 2010-2011 season. With a recent win over the Memphis Grizzlies, its safe to say this team isn’t going out without a fight, and I expect them to compete even harder as the regular season draws to an end.
NBA Playoffs- In or out? Undecided–The Pelicans have a not so threatening remaining schedule which could spell disaster for a Thunder Team with at least 11 remaining games versus teams looking to play spoiler. I’m not ready to pick against this team, but if I had to make a choice, I’d pick a healthy OKC Team clinching the 8th seed over the young birds.
With the newly acquired Brandon Knight, the Suns are still trying to figure things out from a chemistry standpoint, and after watching them struggle versus the Cavaliers on March 7, I don’t see this team making any serous run at the postseason.
NBA Playoffs- In or out? Out — As it stands, the odds are stacked against the Suns– compared to OKC and the Pelicans, they don’t protect home-court as well and their road record is just as minuscule. The Suns have about a 30 percent chance at making the playoffs. Next year could prove to be a better launch pad for this up-and-coming team.