NBA Playoff Races Heat Up

( Boston, MA,01/22/16) Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) screams after the foul as the Celtics take on the Bulls at the Garden. Friday, January 22, 2016. (Staff photo by Stuart Cahill)

( Boston, MA,01/22/16) Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) screams after the foul as the Celtics take on the Bulls at the Garden. Friday, January 22, 2016. (Staff photo by Stuart Cahill)

There are only 10 days remaining in the regular season in the NBA. The world will be watching the Warriors to see if they can beat the Bulls record of 72 wins in a single season. We will take a look at the biggest games remaining in the western and eastern conferences involving the playoffs and the Warriors remaining games in their historic chase of the Bulls.

Eastern Conference

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers @ Indiana Pacers (Wednesday, April 6)- This game is important for four teams in the east. Detroit holds the 7th seed and Indiana holds the 8th so both teams will be fighting to get the higher seed to avoid the Cavaliers but both must also watch their back as the Bulls and Wizards both could catch them and knock them out of the playoffs. The Cavaliers are looking to tune up before the playoffs and this would be a good game to set the tone against their possible playoff opponent because if the playoffs started today, this would be the matchup.
  2. Chicago Bulls @ Miami Heat (Thursday, April 7th)- Miami has already clinched and is sitting at sixth in the east. They will look to finish the season strong because they are only .5 a game back from being the three seed. That would give them home court advantage in the first round. Meanwhile the Bulls need to win virtually every game remaining and see the Pacers or Pistons lose. This game is big for both teams in regards to the playoffs.
  3. Indiana Pacers @ Toronto Raptors (Friday, April 8)- This game is similar to the Cavs vs Pacers in that it is important for the Pistons, Pacers, Bulls and Wizards in just making the playoffs. As for the Raptors they can still catch Cleveland for the number one seed in the east and it would be a huge confidence booster if they were able to finish the season with the best record in the eastern conference. They are just three games back so it is possible. This game is big in the playoff seeding.
  4. Boston Celtics @ Atlanta Hawks(Saturday, April 9)-  The Hawks sit at fourth and the Celtics sit at fifth. This game will go a long way in deciding which team gets home court advantage in the first round. These teams are very evenly matched and having home court could be the difference from going to the second round or going fishing.
  5. Charolette Hornets @ Boston Celtics( Monday, April 11)- Half a game separates these teams and the Celtics still can get as high as the three seed and the Hornets can drop as far as the sixth seed. This game will go a long way in determine spots three through six in the east.
  6. Miami Heat @ Boston Celtics(Wednesday, April 13)- Like I have discussed the three through six spots are crowded and only separated by half a game. This game is on the last day of the regular season and this game could be the difference from holding home court or not. This could also be a preview of a first round series. This will be an exciting game on the last day of the regular season and it has playoff seeding implications to just make it better.

Western Conference

  1. Houston Rockets @ Dallas Mavericks (Wednesday, April 6)- The Rockets sit a game back of the seventh and eighth seed. The Mavericks hold the seventh seed so a win by the Rockets could jump them into the playoffs while knocking the Mavericks out of the playoffs. That is what makes this game so important in the chase for the playoffs. It could be win or don’t get in.
  2. San Antonio Spurs vs. Golden State Warriors (Thursday, April 7 @ GS and Sunday, April 10 @ SA)- The Spurs are sitting four games back of the Warriors for the first seed and with two games remaining against the Warriors it is still possible that the Spurs get that first seed if they win both of those games. This is also a hopeful Western Conference Finals preview for many basketball fans.
  3. San Antonio Spurs @ Dallas Mavericks( Wednesday, April 13)- This game is again important for the Mavericks, Rockets and even the Jazz. Only two of those three teams can make the playoffs and the Spurs may be in a position to rest their players for the playoffs and if that is the case it could be an easy win for the Mavericks which in turn could spell doom for the Jazz or Rockets.

Warriors Record Chase:

The Warriors only have six games remaining but must go 5-1 in those games to break the Bulls record of 72 wins.

April 5 v.s Minnesota Timberwolves- This should be a non issue for the Warriors. The Timberwolves have nothing to play for and this will just be another win on the Warriors schedule. Warriors win this one easily and get to 70-8 with four games remaining.

April 7 v.s San Antonio Spurs- The hardest thing to predict is if Popovich will rest his players or not. The Spurs still can get the first seed but Popovich has a history of not caring about seeding and just caring about health. He may decide to rest his stars to gain some kind of competitive advantage for the playoffs. The Warriors win this one in a very close game to get to 71-8 with three games remaining and two wins away from the record.

April 9 @ Memphis Grizzlies- This could be a trap game for the Warriors who sometimes struggle with physical teams. It is also hard to play in Memphis. They may be looking ahead to their next game which would be against the Spurs. I think the Grizzlies upset the Warriors in this one sending them to a record of 71-9 with two games remaining and still two wins away from breaking the record.

April 10 @ San Antonio Spurs- This is where things get interesting for the Warriors. The Spurs are trying to remain undefeated at home and with the Warriors coming off a game the previous night this could really be a bad game for them. The last time they played in San Antonio they shot bad and so did Curry. I think the Spurs will defend their home court and the Warriors will sit at 71-10 with one game remaining and will not be able to break the record but still may tie it.

April 13 v.s Memphis Grizzlies- The Warriors will rest their stars after being denied the record of 73 wins. The only thing they will be concerned with is being healthy for their title defense and winning a second straight championship. Because of that the Grizzlies will beat less than 100 percent Warriors team and the Warriors will finish 71-11.

It would be fun to see a team break a record as difficult to break as the 96′ Bulls but it seems like the end of the Warriors schedule is a bit tougher than they would like. I know a lot of people think they will break the record but seeing Curry break Jordan’s record of wins in a season just seems impossible. It may happen it may not but one thing all basketball fans can agree on is that it is going to be exciting to watch what happens.

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