Inside 10 games now, and the battle for the West (top end this time!) is really hotting up. Currently New Orleans sit atop the rankings, and the Spurs share the honours.
LA Lakers, Phoenix, and Houston are all but a game, game and a half back.
The Jazz are 3 games behind the NO/SA pairing, and with the schedule they face, it’s unlikely they’ll be in the fight to be top.
For that matter, given the way Houston have been playing post-streak, we can probably eliminate them from the discussion too.
So that leaves us with New Orleans, San Antonio, the Lakers, and Phoenix. Yes, other teams are a mathematical shot, but hey – the earth could stop spinning on it’s axis tomorrow and we could all fall off the planet too. Shoganai. So, Hornets/Spurs/Lakers/Suns… and what’s the road home like for them?
New Orleans face: @Orlando, @Miami, host New York, GSW, Utah, @Minnesota, @LAL, @Sacramento, Clippers, @Dallas (6 away games, 4 home)
San Antonio will see: GSW, @Utah, @Portland, PHX,
Sseattle, @LAL, @Sacramento, Utah (4 away, 4 home)
Los Angeles: Portland, Dallas, @Kings, @Portland, Clippers, NO, SA, Sacramento (2 away, 6 home)
Phoenix: Denver, @Denver, Minnesota, Dallas, @Memphis, @SA, @Houston, GSW, Portland (4 away, 5 home)
Of those games, New Orleans has 5 games that would could consider ‘tough’. The Spurs have 5 as well. LA has 3, and Phoenix 6 (ok, I’m counting Houston).
For argument’s sake, let’s say that New Orleans wins 7 of 10, San Antonio 6 of 8, LA 7 of 8, and Phoenix 6 of 9. That would mean that the Hornets finish with a record of 57-25, SA 57-25, LA 57-25, and the Suns at 55-27.
Egads man! A three-way tie? Well, if that occurred, it would make life interesting, and would rest on who won what games. Currently the series season between the Hornets and the Spurs is a tie, LA & NO – New Orleans has a 2-1 edge, vs LA the Spurs hold the same. Both play LA in the last few games.
I don’t believe it’ll be a tie – call me a pessimist but I cannot see LA going 7-from-8 in the home stretch. I mean, I hope they do… I just think they’ll find a way to lose a game they shouldn’t (like the last week we’ve seen from them).
At the lower end of the 8 it’s even more interesting, because someone from the nether regions of the standings is going to miss out. Currently Denver, Golden State & Dallas are all tied. If it were to remain that way, then by rights of how their games have gone the Golden State Warriors would miss out. But… their last games are:
Dallas: @LAC, @GSW, @LAL, @PHX, seattle, Utah, @Portland, @seattle, NO
Golden State: @SA, @Dallas, @Memphis, @NO, Sacramento, Denver, LAC, @PHX, seattle
Denver: @PHX, PHX, Sacramento, @Seattle, @LAC, @GSW, @Utah, Houston, Memphis
GSW finish that run winning 5 of 9. Denver lose 3 of their last 9.
I see Dallas dropping somewhere between 4 to 6 games, and not making the playoffs.
I think the end standings will be:
- New Orleans Hornets
- San Antonio Spurs
- LA Lakers
- Utah Jazz
- Phoenix Suns
- Houston Rockets
- Golden State
As I said before: find the man who thought of lottery protecting the 2008 pick in the Kidd deal, and give him a raise.