It's getting down to the nitty-gritty, folks. We have 12 games left and we are three games back from obtaining a playoff spot. I'm going to take a look at our remaining schedule, as well as the remaining schedule's of Houston, New Orleans, Memphis, and Portland.
We'll start with team currently slotted in the sixth seed, The Portland Trailblazers.
Portand Trailblazers (41-30, currently 4.5 games ahead of Phoenix)
The Blazers basically have only two gimme games vs Golden State and With how close seeding is at the top of the conference, I expect Dallas and LA to be battling it out till the end and San Antonio will probably shift to neutral within the next week or so. Realistically, Portland could finish these last 11 games as bad as 4-7 or even worse. *Prediction: 4-7* with a finishing record of *45-37*
New Orleans Hornets (40-31, currently 3.5 games ahead of Phoenix)
Every single team on this list is either .500 or better or in the Playoffs. Yes, they have nice little home stand in the middle but the words New Orleans Hornets and Home Court advantage don't exist together. They have a horrid fan base and that's being overly-gracious. The only possible gimme I see here is their last game at Dallas, assuming they have their seeding locked up which might not happen since they are only 1.5 games back of LA. The Hornets have the best defense in the Western Conference, but over their last games they are 5-5 and in Western Conference play are 22 and 20. *Prediction: 5-6* with a finishing record of *45-37*
Memphis Grizzlies (40-32, currently 3 games ahead of Phoenix)
Out of all of the remaining schedules The Grizz by far have the easiest with 5 games versus teams that are under 500 (and I'm talking WAAAAY under 500). The Grizz are in a mini hot streak right now, winning six our their last ten and three in a row. Rudy Gay hasn't played a game since February 15th and in that time the Grizzlies have gone 9-6 and pulled off some impressive victories over San Antonio, Dallas, and most recently, Boston. With that being said, I am basically saying the Grizz are a lock to make the playoffs barring a total meltdown or injury to Zach Randolph. *Prediction: 7-3* with a finishing record of *47-35*
Houston Rockets (38-34, currently one game ahead of the Phoenix Suns)
Out of Houston's ten remaining opponents, Six are above the .500 mark. Five games on the road, five games at home. It's tough to know what Pop and the Spurs will be doing by April First and if Dallas will still be fighting for seeding by April 11th. With that being said, Houston is currently the team that no one wants to play. They've won five in a row and seven out of ten. They are third in the league in scoring at 105.8 per, seventh in rebounding at 42.6 per and can make defensive stops when it counts. With how well the Rockets have been playing and looking at their schedule I would not be surprised seeing them sneak into the playoffs and causing a tough first round match up against whoever they play. *Prediction: 7-3* with a finishing record of *45-37*
Phoenix Suns (Currently 36-34)
Obviously, David Stern totally hates us. A five game road trip in the middle of the schedule, 3 of which are games against opponents with 49 or more wins. Basically, we have four games that are for sure in our favor (Minnesota twice, Clippers, Sacramento). Besides that, we are going to have to play at another level. Oklahoma City is scary but I think Channing Frye is going to have some revenge in his mind for dislocating his shoulder, also it's at home. We have two games against New Orleans who only beat us last time by five points and that was without Channing Frye and Steve Nash. If we're lucky, Dallas will have clinched the second or third seed by the April 10th game and San Antonio will for sure have the number one seed locked April, 13th... They might even have it by April 3rd. I have to say I love the way are we playing right now though, Gortat is a double-double machine, Channing Frye doesn't just have ice going through his veins, the dude is so damn clutch HE DOESN'T EVEN HAVE VEINS!!!! Steve Nash's shooting stroke is back and Aaron Brooks is going to provide that instant-offense spark off of the bench. This team takes every game down to the brink and I think they will end the season the same way. Then again, you just never know with this team but I have a feeling that Hill and Nash are going to rally the troops and make what maybe Nash and Hill's last playoff run in a Suns uniform. *Prediction 9-3* with a finishing record of *45-37*
So, what we have is this: Portland: 45-37
New Orleans: 45-37
Phoenix is currently 1-1 versus New Orleans with two games remaining, 1-3 versus Portland, and 2-1 versus Houston. Phoenix NEEDS to beat New Orleans both times to own the tie breaker over them.
Portland is 1-2 versus New Orleans with one game remaining, 3-0 versus Houston, and 4-0 versus Phoenix.
Houston is 1-2 versus Phoenix, 0-3 versus Portland, and 1-2 versus New Orleans with 1 game remaining.
And just in case Memphis collapses: 1-2 versus Phoenix, 1-1 versus Portland with 1 game remaining, 1-3 versus Houston, 0-2 versus New Orleans with two games remaining.
New Orleans: 1-1 versus Phoenix with 2 games remaining, 2-1 versus Portland with one game remaining, 2-1 versus Houston with one game remaining, 2-0 versus Memphis with two game remaining.
3 Playoff seats for 5 teams....What do YOU think is going to happen?
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