Less than three weeks away from the playoffs, the race for seeding is heating up. The top teams should be solidified, but the bottom seeding will be tight.
Last week, TGH discussed teams that have the best odds in the play-in games. Some of those teams being the Trail Blazers, Warriors and Heat. In this article, TGH is looking into the teams that should be worried about their run for the title.
There are many reasons why these three teams should be worried. Whether it be competition, injuries or more, these teams should have the panic button on stand-by.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are hitting the panic button. As a matter of fact, the button may be broken. LeBron James came out and spoke to the media after a loss to the Toronto Raptors over the weekend, citing his frustration with the play-in games.
“Whoever came up with that s- -t needs to be fired,” James said in the press conference.
It’s clear the Lakers are worried. Prior to James’s injury two months ago, the Lakers were a top three seeded team in the West. Then James went down, and the Lakers started going south. They are 8-12 this season without LeBron, and currently hold the six seed in the West.
Things just aren’t looking good for LA. Right now, they’re looking at a seven-game opening round series with the Denver Nuggets. Considering Anthony Davis continues to have the health issues he’s been dealing with in the second half of the season, no one will be able to contain Nikola Jokic.
Not to mention, the older Lakers squad won’t be able to run all over the court with the youthful Nuggets. The Lakers are in trouble, but you can’t count them out considering they have LeBron James.
The Celtics are having a horrible year, especially for Boston sport standards. First off, they should hit the panic button because right now, they’re set for the play-in game. If they lose the game, their season is over.
Perhaps the biggest reason for being worried about their playoff odds is because they have a high possibility of being a first-round exit. They’re looking to face Philadelphia or Brooklyn in the first round, and either of those teams would put the smackdown on the Celtics.
With all of that in mind, it makes fans think what the state of the Celtics franchise is. They might be the biggest failure of a “successful” franchise in recent memory. They’re a failure because of all the great pieces they have, yet they can’t ever win. Getting into the playoffs doesn’t cut it anymore in Boston, especially since the Celtics have been able to do that.
Regardless of what the future holds for the Celtics, it’s clear they don’t have favorable odds in the playoffs.
The Dallas Mavericks have some pressure on their shoulders. They have a young superstar in Luka Doncic, with a great supporting cast of role players.
The Mavericks have pressure because they haven’t won a playoff series since their Finals Championship run in 2011. Since then, they’ve been a first- round exit in 2014 (loss to Spurs), 2015 (loss to Rockets), 2016 (loss to Thunder) and in 2020 (loss to Clippers).
This year’s playoffs will be a huge dictator as to where the franchise should move. Luka is the obvious centerpiece, but who should stay, and leave will be seriously considered. The Mavericks are a few pieces away from being a Finals contender. The fact that they’re a five-seed with this roster shows how good Luka Doncic really is.
The Mavs don’t have a for sure competitor in the first round yet because their seeding isn’t solidified. They could be looking to face any of the top four teams in the West.
All stats were taken from ESPN.com and basketballreference.com.
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