We are almost set for the playoffs to start with just five days remaining in the regular season. Our top seeds are all but settled. The Spurs claimed the West last night with a big home win over Phoenix (and a huge loss for Phoenix and their playoff hopes) while the Heat are in pretty good shape in the East after using a 14-0 run to start the second half to take control of the Pacers and the game.
It is pretty unlikely Indiana will catch Miami with a game remaining against Oklahoma City, not to mention how poorly the Pacers are playing in general. I know I often discount Toronto, and perhaps I will come to regret it, but it’s hard not be get excited about a second round of the playoffs that features Miami vs Brooklyn, Indiana vs. Chicago, San Antonio vs. Houston and Oklahoma City vs. the Clippers. Wow. That’s a great two weeks of television queued up and I can’t wait.
Meanwhile, we stacked a second NBA winner last night as the OKC game unfolded exactly as predicted, with the Thunder amassing a huge lead and then giving a few points back to keep it interesting but still covering with room to spare. Let’s see if we can build some good momentum and get on the plus side of the ledger heading into the second season.
Tonight’s Free Pick:
Milwaukee Bucks at Washington Wizards -10.5 (Total: 203.5)
The Bucks are in a rare position tonight; playing a game following a win. The captured their 15th win of the season last night, downing Cleveland 117-114 at home. As odd and uplifting as the win was, it is hard to see them going on the road and faring well on the back end of a back-to-back against a playoff team.
Washington has lost two in a row at home, losing a great overtime game against Charlotte and getting hammered by the Bulls. The visit from the Bucks should be a welcome respite to help them get back to their winning ways and ensure their first winning season (or at least non-losing season) since 2007-2008. The Bucks are a jarring -9.1 ppg on the road. The only way I see the Wizards having trouble tonight is if they look past Milwaukee. However, needing tonight’s game to hang on to the sixth seed, I expect them to play well.
It is a little ironic that the focus has been on the sixth seed all season for some of the bottom of the bracket playoff contenders; the thought being to avoid Miami and Indiana. Now, with how Chicago has been playing, perhaps teams would rather fall to seven? But at this point, the goal has been set and there’s no turning back.
I like to Wiz notching a double-digit home win tonight in a nice light tune-up for the playoffs.