The Playoff Implications of the Last Night of the NBA Regular Season
Well, it has been an exciting regular NBA Season, but by the end of the night each team will have played 82 games and it’s time to move on to the playoffs.
Not only will each team finish with 82, but all 30 NBA franchises play its final game Wednesday. Some of the matches are extremely interesting because of seeding or a possible post season preview.
The Eastern Conference’s six seed New York Knicks play the three seed Boston Celtics. There is no way for the either team to change positions whether they win or lose, so this is a first round playoff preview. In my eyes, this series should be an easy first round match up for the Celtics because they have a full roster while the Knicks only have four players: Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Chauncey Billups. Rookie Landry Fields can be added, but still, these four are not going to beat Boston.
On the other hand, Boston has looked horrible during the last part of the season. I’m not going to say it’s because of the Kendrick Perkins trade, but they are weak up front, especially if Shaquille O’Neal misses a bunch of games because of his hamstring. This could be a very interesting series.
The Chicago Bulls (61-20) have an opportunity to finish the season with the best record in the NBA if they can defeat the New Jersey Nets and the San Antonio Spurs (61-20) lose to the Phoenix Suns. If the Bulls and the Spurs remain tied after their games, a random drawling will be held to see which team gets home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Nets (24-57) are a horrible team, which makes a Bulls win in Chicago, where they’re 35-5, almost a guarantee. The Suns (39-42) are not a good team but they have good players who don’t like to lose to their rival, the Spurs. Both games should be fun to watch because of the playoff implications.
The last regular season game will also affect playoff seeding in the Western Conference because the two seed Los Angeles Lakers and the three seed Dallas Mavericks are tied with 56-25 records. The Mavericks play the seven seed New Orleans Hornets while the Lakers play the Sacramento Kings, who are playing for pride. If the Mavs and the Lakers win, the Lakers will finish as the two seed because they have the tie breaker. If LA loses and Dallas wins, the Mavericks are the two seed.
Unfortunately for the Mavericks, the Kings are not very good and the Lakers have been spanking them since Chris Webber injured his knee. The Hornets are playing without David West, but they still have an extremely talented player named Chris Paul.
On the other hand, Andrew Bynum is sitting out because of a hyper-extended knee he suffered Tuesday against the Spurs. The Lakers have played without Bynum for almost 30 games of the season, but we never know in the NBA.
The Hornets can not move up in the playoff chart, but if they lose and the eight seed Memphis Grizzlies beat the Los Angeles Clippers in LA, the Grizzlies will move up and knock New Orleans down. This is a weird situation because most of the teams in the west would rather play the Lakers than the Spurs. With that said, will the Hornets or the Grizzlies play their game? It might be wise to stay in the last playoff position.
Dallas’ game means even more because if the Oklahoma City Thunder defeat the Milwaukee Bucks and the Mavericks lose, Kevin Durant and company become the three seed and Dirk Nowitzki and his squad slide to fourth. The Bucks are out of playoff contention but they have won three of their last four including a five-point victory against the Miami Heat April 6.
Milwaukee has been hampered with injuries the entire season including Andrew Bogut, who will miss the game because of an elbow injury. But, Durant and Russell Westbrook will still have to have strong scoring performances to get the victory because the Bucks roster is full of heart.
If you are a member or a fan of the five seed Denver Nuggets, you’re hoping for the Thunder to win and the Mavericks to lose. The Nuggets are matched up better with the Mavs than they are with the Thunder. Plus, the Mavs have fallen off as of late and seem to be the match up everyone wants in the playoffs.
With all of these story lines, this should be a great night of NBA viewing. By the end of the night the seeds will be official and we can start predicting how the bracket is going to play out.