With the NBA All-Star Weekend in the rear view, the second-half of the NBA will begin on Thursday night. It will also be a very critical stretch for some teams.
If the season ended right now, Lebron James and the Los Angeles Lakers would not be in the playoffs. Lebron has not missed the playoffs since the 2004-2005 season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. They currently sit in 10th place in the Western Conference with a 28-29 record and Los Angeles is currently three games back of the Los Angeles Clippers for the eighth spot in the Western Conference.
If the season ended right now, the Clippers (32-27) would face the Golden State Warriors (41-16), the San Antonio Spurs (33-26) would face the Denver Nuggets (39-18), the Utah Jazz (32-25) would face the Oklahoma City Thunder (37-20), and the Houston Rockets (33-24) would face the Portland Trail Blazers (34-23).
By the time the season is over, I think the Sacramento Kings will be the eighth seed and face the Golden State Warriors in the first-round. I think the Houston Rockets will drop to the seventh seed and play the Denver Nuggets in the first-round. I think the San Antonio Spurs will play the Oklahoma City Thunder as the 6 vs 3 match up and I think the Utah Jazz will face the Portland Trail Blazers as the 5 vs 4 match up.
In the east, the Detroit Pistons (26-30) would face the Milwaukee Bucks (43-14) right now. The Charlotte Hornets (27-30) would face the Toronto Raptors (43-16). The Brooklyn Nets (30-29) would face the Indiana Pacers (38-20). The Philadelphia 76ers (37-21) would face the Boston Celtics (37-21).
By the time the season is over, I think the Orlando Magic will be the eighth seed in the east and I think the Toronto Raptors will be the number one seed in the east. I think the Charlotte Hornets will be the seventh seed and the Milwaukee Bucks will be the number two seed. I think the Brooklyn Nets will be the sixth seed and the Philadelphia 76ers will be the number three seed. I think the Boston Celtics will be the fifth seed and the Indiana Pacers will be the number four seed.