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Western Conference Playoff Report: April 6th (Now with predictions!)

As you may have noticed, the NBA took the day off to let something called Butler play a rich private school located in North Carolina in a collegiate version of the round ball game we all know and love.  So since there were no games yesterday I've decided to give you a bit of a different look in the Western Conference Playoff Report - for today the report is going to be a reset of the games remaining for each of the non-Lakers teams remaining in the playoff race.  But that's not all - you'll also get my horrible (sure to be a disaster) predictions which you should mock in the comments.  My rule in predicting was pretty simple - if a playoff team is playing a non-playoff team, the playoff team will win - the exceptions will be few and far between.


The Stretch Run Schedule (game prediction in parentheses):

Dallas Mavericks, 5 games remaining -  April 7th v. Memphis (W), April 9th @ Portland (L), April 10th @ Sacramento (W), April 12th @ LA Clippers (W), April 14th v. San Antonio (L)

Predicted Finish: 3-2, 53-29 overall, 3 seed (win division title tiebreaker over Phoenix).  They've got 3 easy games and 2 tougher swing games - I gave them all 3 easy ones and took away the tough ones but they could easily split the toughies.

Denver Nuggets, 5 games remaining -April 7th @ Oklahoma City (L), April 8th v. LA Lakers (L), April 10th v. San Antonio (W), April 12th v. Memphis (W), April 13th @ Phoenix (L)

Predicted Finish: 2-3, 52-30 overall, 5 seed (win division record tiebreaker over OKC).  I'd pick them at home against the Lakers if they weren't coming right from a road game with Oklahoma City.

Utah Jazz, 5 games remaining - April 6th v. Oklahoma City (W), April 7th @ Houston (W), April 9th @ New Orleans (W), April 13th @ Golden State (W), April 14th v. Phoenix (W)

Predicted Finish: 5-0, 55-27 overall, 2 seed.  Maybe I'm giving the Jazz way too much credit, hell I probably am, but they've got their 2 tough games at home (OKC/PHX) and the others are against dead teams walking.  4-1 at worst - and that probably still gets them the 2 seed.

Phoenix Suns, 5 games remaining - April 7th v. San Antonio (W), April 9th @ Oklahoma City (L), April 11th v. Houston (W), April 13th v. Denver (W), April 14th @ Utah (L)

Predicted Finish:  3-2, 53-29 overall, 4 seed (lose division title tiebreaker to Dallas).  Seems pretty cut and dry to me.  Suns hold serve at home - aided by San Antonio and Denver coming off a back to backs - and lose their 2 on the road.  Utah could be a Suns win if the Jazz somehow have the 2 seed locked up by then.

Oklahoma City Thunder, 6 games remaining -April 6th @ Utah (L), April 7th v. Denver (W), April 9th v. Phoenix (W), April 11th @ Golden State (W), April 12th @ Portland (L), April 14 v. Memphis (W)

Predicted Finish: 4-2, 52-30 overall, 6 seed (lose division record tiebreaker to Denver).  I suppose the Utah/Denver games could be swapped but I don't see them winning both or losing both.  A win over Utah would keep OKC very much in play for the 2 seed.

San Antonio Spurs, 6 games remaining - April 6th @ Sacramento (W), April 7th @ Phoenix (L), April 9th v. Memphis (W), April 10th @ Denver (L), April 12th v. Minnesota (W), April 14th @ Dallas (W)

Predicted Finish: 4-2, 51-31, 8 seed (lose head to head tiebreaker with Portland).  Unfortunately San Antonio is getting hot right now.  The only two games I have them dropping the rest of the way are road games on the 2nd end of back to backs.  I let the idea of the Mavs game marinate for a little bit before realizing which team was tougher ('s not Dallas). On the plus side, even a 4-2 finish might not give them better than the 7 (and gives them 8th in this scenario).

Portland Trail Blazers, 5 games remaining - April 7th @ LA Clippers (W), April 9th v. Dallas (W), April 11th @ Lakers (L), April 12th v. Oklahoma City (W), April 14th v. Golden State (W)

Predicted Finish: 4-1, 51-31, 7 seed. I say 4-1 due to the fact that they've got OKC and Dallas at home, but I could easily see them dropping one of those and beating the unmotivated Lakers in LA.

Western Conference Standings:

1.  LA Lakers
55 22 .714 - 6-4 LOST 1
2.  Dallas
50 27 .649 5
5-5 LOST 2
3.  Denver
50 27 .649 5 5-5 WON 2
4.  Utah 50 27 .649 5 7-3 LOST 1
5.  SUNS
50 27 .649 5 9-1 LOST 1
6.  Oklahoma City
48 28 .632 6.5 7-3 WON 4
7.  San Antonio
47 29 .618 7.5 7-3 WON 3
8.  Portland
47 30 .610 8
8-2 WON 1

Tuesday April 6th Western Conference Games of Significance:

Thunder @ Jazz - Well hello there no-lose situation. Utah either drops below the Suns or OKC gives the Suns a little more breathing room from falling into the 6 seed.

Spurs @ Kings - The Spurs are fresh off an ass-kicking of the Lakers in LA, they won't be losing this game.  The best thing to root for here is that the Kings force the Spurs to drag big minutes out of Duncan and Ginobili (you know as they come to Phoenix tomorrow) - don't hold your breath.  

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