With less than 2 weeks left in the season the playoff picture is looking a little clearer, but there are some interesting developments we should take a look at:

Eastern Conference

Chicago has pretty much clinched the #1 seed and Miami isn’t a great road team. This is something to keep an eye on should the two teams meet in the conference finals.

It looks like Indiana is going to end up as the #3 seed and Orlando is most likely going to end up in the 6th seed. Dwight Howard is also out for the rest of the season and maybe the playoffs. If he’s out for the playoffs Indiana should destroy Orlando.

Boston has pretty much locked up the #4 seed which would put them against Atlanta. I don’t see how Atlanta wins this one, but it might end up being the closest of the 4 1st round eastern conference series. That being I think the first round of the playoffs in the east is going to be really boring unless….

The Knicks have Stoudemire coming back on Wednesday. If he’s anywhere near healthy New York will be a tough matchup for Chicago or Miami (probably Miami). If not then expect a lot of 1 on 5’s by Carmelo Anthony, a lot of streaky shooting by J.R. Smith (Us at the Knicks podcast have decided that J.R. stands for Just Ridiculous because he always plays ridiculously good or ridiculously bad with nothing in between), and a lot of old rickety turnover filled minutes at the point.

Who’s going to end up with the 8th seed, Philly or Milwaukee? We’ll know by Wednesday as Philly has a back to back to back. If they win 2 of those they’re pretty much a lock to get swept by the Bulls in the 1st round, if they lose 2 or more it will make things a lot more interesting but I still see them finishing 8th.

 Western Conference

Oklahoma City and San Antonio are in a dogfight for the #1 seed. Popovic has been known to rest his starters in order to make them fresh for the playoffs so the Thunder might end up with the #1 seed by default. The only way this will have an effect on the 1st round is if Dallas falls to the 7th seed as I think they’re a tough matchup for either team. If not I don’t see Houston Denver or Phoenix doing much against the Thunder or Spurs.

Right now the Lakers will play the Mavericks, which is a shame because it would have been fun to see the Lakers and Clippers go head to head. This will be a fun matchup to watch as there will be bad blood from the start considering how last year’s series ended. In case you don’t remember it ended in a sweep with LA getting blown out in game 4 and Bynum losing his cool and getting ejected after trying to take Bareas head off. I’m sure you all remember I just like talking about the Lakers getting swept.

I don’t think the LA hallway series happens this year because Memphis has a better team than the Clippers and should pull off an upset (if that’s what you want to call it) in the first round to set up a Thunder Grizzlies rematch.

Steve Nash is keeping the Suns in the playoff picture until the very end. They probably won’t make it, but the fact that Nash has kept the team in it this long with the team he has is just amazing. He’s also second in the league in assists with Gortat as his main scoring option. At 38 years old. Wow. Hopefully he’ll go to a good team next year that isn’t named Miami and finish his career with a chance at a title.

We’ll know the exact seedings by next update so I’ll give the rest of my playoff predictions then.

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