NBA Playoff Picture Preview

By: Michael Weil — Correspondent

With the NBA playoffs approaching, the Eastern Conference is coming down to a shootout. The Heat are currently the #1 seed, with the 76ers, Bucks, and Celtics all less than a game behind.

In the West, the Suns are leading the division and not a single team is within 9 games. The Suns are on pace to have a 60 win season, while the other top teams are all only within a few games of each other.

Senior Vanamali Vemparala says that the Suns should have a strong playoff run this year. “The Suns have been on a roll and have already clinched the playoffs. The rest of the conference will fight for the second seed due to the Suns being 9 games out. And with popular favorites like the Lakers and Clippers underperforming, I don’t think the Suns will have a hard time getting to the finals.”

In the East, senior Jacob Bleecker says he likes where the Celtics are in the standings. “I think the Celtics are in a good spot currently. They match up really well against the Bulls in the first round, especially if they’re hurt.”

Senior Jacob Spodek agrees with Bleecker.. He says that a matchup against the Bulls in the first round would be detrimental to a deep playoff run for the Celtics. “The Celtics are hot but they are going to have a very tough 1st round opponent if things play out as they are now. If they have to play the bulls in a 7 game series the bulls are going to win that in 5 or 6.”

With the seedings so tight, there are many different scenarios of matchups that are possible at this point in time.

“There’s a good chance Brooklyn ends up with the 7 seed and I wouldn’t want the Celts facing them in the first round. I do think the offense needs to catch up to the defense though” Bleecker added..

Vemparala says that these playoffs are going to be very close and could contain some major upsets. “East is packed and the race to the 1 seed might be a photo finish. In the east, all teams have a chance at making a deep playoff run. I wouldn’t be surprised if there ended up being some seeding upsets like 1 and 8 or 2 and 7.”

No matter the results, these last 2 regular season weeks of the season will be very March Madness like, with the top four seeds in the East being so close.

Spodek says the discrepancies between the number of teams in positions to win the Championship is unusual. “The east is up for grabs by really any of the top 5 or 6 teams. Anyone from the heat to maybe even the Raptors. The west is more wrapped up to basically only the Suns.”

The playoffs begin on Saturday April 16.

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