The end of the regular season is a few short weeks away. Teams are solidifying their playoff spots and cementing who gets what seed. This is where the bubble teams either show up strong or fall hard. With injuries and turmoil for many teams piling up, we take a look at the Best, the Rest, and the Eliminated. Where does your team stand?
The Eliminated (or close enough)
30. New York Knicks (14-60; Last 10 1-9)
29. Phoenix Suns (17-58; L10 3-7)
28. Cleveland Cavaliers (19-55; L10 3-7)
27. Chicago Bulls (21-53; L10 3-7)
26. New Orleans Pelicans (31-44; L10 2-8)
25. Los Angeles Lakers (32-41; L10 2-8)
24. Dallas Mavericks (29-44; L10 2-8)
23. Atlanta Hawks (26-48; L10 4-6)
22. Washington Wizards (30-44; L10 3-7)
21. Memphis Grizzlies (30-44; L10 5-5)
20. Minnesota Timberwolves (33-40; L10 4-6)
19. Charlotte Hornets (34-39; L10 5-5)
18. Sacramento Kings (36-37; L10 4-6)
17. Orlando Magic (36-38; L10 6-4)
16. Detroit Pistons (37-36; L10 5-5)
15. Miami Heat (36-37; L10 7-3)
14. Brooklyn Nets (38-37; L10 6-4)
13. Boston Celtics (43-31; L10 5-5)
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (43-31; L10 4-6)
11. Indiana Pacers (45-39; L10 4-6)
10. Utah Jazz (44-30; L10 7-3)
The Donovan Mitchell and, newly crowned NBA single-season dunk leader, Rudy Gobert led team has played well down the stretch going 27-12 in the past three months. They recently blew out the Suns despite Devin Booker scoring 59 points. Salt Lake City will look to improve their playoff position from their current 5th seed.
9. San Antonio Spurs (43-31; L10 8-2)
Gregg Popovich’s team rises and falls with the tide of LaMarcus Aldridge. When he scores 20 points or more, the Spurs are 35-8. Seeds 4 through 8 in the Western Conference are all up for grabs in the coming weeks. The Spurs have a chance to improve beyond the 7th spot if Aldrige continues to produce points.
8. Portland Trail Blazers (46-27; L10 7-3)
The Blazers have played well all season behind Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic. However, with the horrible compound fractures to the tibia and fibula of Nurkic’s left leg, the rest of Portland’s roster will have to step up big to fill his role if they intend to compete during the playoffs.
7. LA Clippers (44-30; L10 9-1)
The month of March has brought a superb showing from this years top team from LA. Best 6th Man Ever Lou Williams and Coach Doc Rivers have this team powering through the final stretch. The Clippers still have a chance for home-court advantage in the first round too.
6. Philadelphia 76ers (47-27; L10 6-4)
The team from Philly will keep trying to ring the bell for the City of Brotherly Love. They had big wins against the Bucks and Celtics, but a close last-second Trae Young shot snapped their win streak and an embarrassing game against the Magic does not help their case. The “win-now” roster built in Philadelphia will try to keep their hold on the 3rd seed behind Joel “The Process” Embiid and Ben Simmons.
5. Toronto Raptors (51-23; L10 5-5)
Even while maintaining the Association’s second-best record, the Raptors have looked sluggish recently. Kyle Lowry is not fully healthy, but Kawhi Leonard has continued to show why he is still in the conversation for MVP. Coach Nick Nurse seems to be focusing on the playoffs ahead rather that their pole position.
4. Houston Rockets (47-27; L10 8-2)
At times, there doesn’t seem to be any problems in Houston. James Harden has shown the world that he can put this team on his back and just ball. The reigning MVP has eight games where he has scored 50 points or more. Center Clint Capela is averaging a double-double and PG Chris Paul looks to be healthy down the stretch.
3. Denver Nuggets (49-23; L10 7-3)
Nikola Jokic continues to power the Nuggets forward in a big way. He leads the team in points, rebounds, and assists per game. Coach Michael Malone has done his job to make this team great without a true second star. Isaiah Thomas still needs to improve his game and earn more time on the floor.
2. Golden State Warriors (50-23; L10 6-4)
Coach Steve Kerr is focusing on keeping his players healthy come playoff time. The star-studded roster can butt heads at times, however, winning makes a lot of problems go away. SG Stephen Curry will hope to continue his team’s domination of April and May as they make another Championship run. Will C Demarcus Cousins be the X-factor they hoped he would be in the playoffs?
1. Milwaukee Bucks (55-19; L10 7-3)
PF Giannis “The Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo has been dominant this season. His performance has been the force that has propelled this team to number one. After having a scary ankle turn and a sprain, will the Bucks continue to play their star or coast to the end? Nikola Mirotic and Pau Gasol will miss significant time and Malcolm Brogdon is out indefinitely. The number one seed may just have to limp to the finish line of the regular season if they aren’t careful with their health.
Featured Photo Credit: Via Media
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