With about 16 games remaining per team in the regular season, there are only six teams officially eliminated, but the reality is that in the East things are more than defined and only the last two places in the West are still in discussion. What will be interesting will be to see the positions, because outside of Houston, Toronto, Golden State and Boston, the other 12 places could change in these next 4 weeks.
1) Houston (53-14)
The Rockets’ losing streak ended in 17 at the hands of the Raptors, but the two Warriors defeats basically secured them first place in the Western conference.
2) Toronto Raptors (50-17)
His run goes in 8 wins in a row, and they have just one more loss than the Warriors. Of course, that great record of little will serve them well in the postseason do not do something important.
3) Portland Trailblazers (41-26)
They have 10 games in a row without losing and Damian Lillard looks unstoppable in the last quarters. This is a team that nobody wants to see right now in the postseason.
4) Golden State Warriors (52-16)
It is only the second time that the Warriors have lost two consecutive games throughout the season, but this last month they need to find motivations to go out and play. Without Steph Curry, who is out with an injury, they look downright bored.
5) Boston Celtics (46-22)
There are so many injured players in Boston that it’s hard to blame them for their lack of shine in recent weeks. They will be second in the East and they seem to be fine with that.
6) Indiana Pacers (40-28)
Their victory over the Celtics sent them to third place in the East, half a game over Cleveland. In addition, the Pacers have the jump-off against the Cavs in case of being with the same record, to finishing the series between both 3-1.
7) Oklahoma City Thunder (41-29)
The Thunder is the most desperate team in the league. When they look good, they are scary, and when they look bad, they feel sad. And everything can happen two days apart. Right now they look good, with 3 consecutive wins.
8) New Orleans Pelicans (39-28)
Two defeats at home sent the Pels to fifth place in the West, and although Anthony Davis celebrated his 25th birthday with 10 blocks, New Orleans needs to readjust some things before the playoffs begin.
9) Utah Jazz (38-30)
One of the New Orleans defeats came at the hands of the Jazz, who have put together another very impressive unbeaten run. Now they are 6 in a row and 8 out of 10, after having one of 11 without losing. They have the same record as Denver and San Antonio, but out of the 3 they are the best team playing.
10) Cleveland Cavaliers (39-28)
Since all the changes they made in which they practically changed the roster, Cleveland goes 6-6. Apparently that was not the biggest problem.
11) Washington Wizards (39-30)
The Wizards have had every opportunity to take third or fourth place in the East, and still don’t take advantage of that.
12) Philadelphia 76ers (36-30)
They are sixth at this moment, but the East is so close that the difference between being third and being eighth is just 3.5 games.
13) Minnesota Timberwolves (40-29)
Minnesota signed Derrick Rose this week. And since his arrival, the Wolves haven’t lost. Rose had nothing to do with winning that one game, but it can be a good sign.
14) LA Clippers (37-29)
In the end the Clippers managed to separate a bit from the rest of the contenders for the eighth place. They have one less defeat than the Spurs, Jazz and Nuggets, and that’s enough for them to be seventh. And to make things more interesting, between April 3 and 7, the Clippers play against them in that order.
15) Denver Nuggets (37-31)
Denver has not dropped its arms either, and after losing to Cleveland, they have won a pair. But things are going to get rough in Denver, who play 11 of their last 15 games against playoff teams.
16) Los Angeles Lakers (31-37)
The 19-9 record in their last 28 games has fans thinking about what would happen if Lebron or Paul George arrive at the team this year. And the impressive victory against Cleveland seemed almost like the casting for Lebron James.
17) Miami Heat (36-33)
A tragedy would have to happen for the Heat don’t qualify for the playoffs. Erik Spoelstra, the coach who has the most time in front of an NBA team with 10 years, could always be in the conversation for coach of the year.
18) Milwaukee Bucks (36-32)
The arrival of Brandon Jennings could shoot the Bucks a couple of places up the table. For now, they have won two in a row.
19) San Antonio (38-30)
If San Antonio doesn’t qualify for the playoffs, something that seems entirely possible at this time, it would be the first time in 20 years that this has happened, and only the second in 28 years.
20) Detroit Pistons (30-37)
If Miami wins, say, 5 games out of the 14 that remain, they would force the Pistons to win 12 of the 16 that remain. It is not impossible, but damn.
21) Charlotte Hornets (29-39)
Of the teams that aren’t going to qualify for the playoffs, they are the ones that are playing the best. Go comfort.
22) Chicago Bulls (23-44)
Kudos for staying mathematically alive for another week, although their job of losing on purpose is being seen at risk by the Knicks.
23) Brooklyn Nets (21-47)
This week they will be eliminated from the playoffs, but they still have the incentive to win to ruin the lives of the Cavs with their selection in the next draft.
24) New York Knicks (24-44)
They’ve lost 7 in a row and 9 out of 10, and to put it in two word, they stink.
25) Dallas Mavericks (22-46)
As if things couldn’t go worse this year, Wesley Matthews broke a leg and will be out for the rest of the year.
26) Sacramento Kings (22-47)
It’s hard to watch them play, because they are very bad. But also because you really see that they want to win and they can’t.
27) Atlanta Hawks (20-48)
Again we have a virtual tie in the bottom of the table. Who will end up worse, Orlando or Atlanta? Atlanta has lost one less, so they are up for now.
28) Orlando Magic (21-48)
Fortunately for Orlando, being down means more chance of being up in the draft order. Right now they are third in line.
29) Phoenix Suns (19-50)
The Suns have been so bad this year that even though Memphis has a run of 18 straight games without winning, the Suns only have one more win over them throughout the season.
30) Memphis Grizzlies (18-49)
They could still finish the season with the longest streak of consecutive losses in a single year, which is 26, shared by the Cavs and the Sixers.