The cast is now complete. 16 teams remain to battle for one trophy. Will the Miami Heat achieve the vaunted three-peat? Will another team take the throne this time? These questions will be gradually answered starting on Easter Sunday as the NBA playoffs unravel until the finals in June.
The San Antonio Spurs continue to defy the passage of time as last season’s finalists finish the regular season on top. Meanwhile, the youth movement rallied by teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers, Portland Trailblazers, Houston Rockets, and the Golden State Warriors want to create their own legacy.
The Dallas Mavericks continue to plod along with battle-hardened veterans Dirk Nowitzki and Vince Carter at the helm, while the Memphis Grizzlies had to directly eliminate the Phoenix Suns by winning on them just to take the eighth seed in a competitive Western conference. If only the Suns were playing at the Eastern conference, their above-.500 win-loss record is enough to net them the fifth seed.
Speaking of the east, the Indiana Pacers claimed the top seed of the Eastern conference, guaranteeing that they will have homecourt advantage until the conference finals. Their emotional playoff tussle against the Heat last season still on their minds, the Pacers prefer that the crucial game seven will be played at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis in the eventuality they meet again.
Teams not expected to make a dent this season made a considerable amount of noise as the Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards, and Charlotte Bobcats made the most out of circumstances and the manpower that they have to be able to play in the postseason.
After a slow start, the Brooklyn Nets found their form at the turn of the year as Jason Kidd will be in the playoffs for the first time as a coach. The Atlanta Hawks experienced the opposite as after a relatively hot start they went on a free fall by the All-Star break that nearly cost them their playoff opportunity.
Expect the action to pick up in the next two months. No more easy games, no more players in autopilot. Tears will flow and blood will shed as teams sweat it out and leave their all on
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