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Play-In for the Playoffs Outlook

There’s a little over a month to play in the regular season, and there is still no clear picture in the playoff hunt with plenty of spots still up for grabs.

This includes the Play-In Tournament to make the playoffs!

 

Things got a little messy out West earlier this week, with Jamal Murray going down with an ACL injury, ruling him out for the rest of the season (and the Olympics in July).

Denver was motoring in the right direction since the acquisition of Aaron Gordon, looking well entrenched in that top 4 position, but this is sure to force a little spiral towards the back end of the season.

Denver sit 4.5 games ahead of Dallas in the 7th position (who are right on the cut off for the Play-In), and with Luka Doncic hitting ridiculous game winners like he did yesterday, they won’t want to be looking over their shoulder with the young Slovenian doing everything possible to get them out of the play-in and lock up a higher seed.

 

Portland are flirting with danger also, sitting only a game ahead of Dallas in 6th, and are dropping far too many games they should be winning at home now, with their squad just about back to full strength.

As good as Portland are offensively, they sit worst defensively in the playoff race in both conferences, so this will need to be a point of emphasis if this team wants to take the next step and compete come playoff time, and not just rely on the brilliance of Dame and CJ to get them over the line.

 

The Lakers are holding on tight to the 5th spot, and with LeBron and AD still 2-3 weeks away, they’ll be desperate to avoid falling into the Play-In.

They currently sit 3.5 games ahead of Dallas, and with 4 tough games approaching (Utah twice and Dallas twice) this next week will be crucial!

 

Steph Curry is doing everything in his power to get his team into at the very least a 2nd chance spot in the Play-In tournament, currently sitting in 9th position (0.5 game back on Memphis in 8th), and arguably playing the best basketball of his career.

Earlier in the week Steph became the franchise leader in Points scored for the Warriors, deservedly so, and would be hard pressed to argue against Steph being the greatest shooter of all time!

 

There isn’t much that separates 9th and 4th in the East, with the Hawks sitting in 4th spot ahead of Indiana in 9th by only 3 games.

It’s a log jam for positioning in the East, with what appears to be a clear top 3 (Brooklyn, Philly and Milwaukee), every other spot is still up for grabs, so you wouldn’t think there will be a whole lot of “load managing” down the stretch out East.

 

Indiana will be looking to force their way into the 8 getting their troops back, and with Charlotte on the slide without Hayward and LaMelo, this shouldn’t take too long.

It brings back the ROY argument for LaMelo, given the team was a top 4 seed in the East before he went down, and haven’t looked the same since without their young superstar.

 

Chicago are holding on tight to the 10th spot, and with a resurgent Wizards team coming up right behind them, LaVine and Vucevic will be vital for this team to hold off Beal and Westbrook to get into that last Play-In spot.

Chicago have been very disappointing since acquiring Vucevic, and from a viewer’s standpoint, who wouldn’t want to see Beal and Westbrook try and make a run at this from 10th spot and sneak into the playoffs!

 

There’s still some basketball to be played this season, and the best month of basketball is upon us.

Bring on the last month of the NBA season and the madness that’s to come!

 

Bauky

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