The NBA season is in its final stretch and the Association is less than a month away from finishing its regular season. Three team's postseason future is already set as Golden State and San Antonio have sealed their tickets into the NBA Playoffs. Meanwhile, Brooklyn is the only team that is officially eliminated from the postseason.
With NBA playoff spots up for grabs, who looks like the real deal going into the postseason?
The Eastern Conference is still wide open as three teams have a legitimate shot at finishing in the top spot. Cleveland currently leads the way, but the Cavs have looked like anything but a sure thing of repeating as NBA Champions.
LeBron James is averaging 30 points per game while Kyrie Irving is chipping in with 28 points a night. While the Cavs have been good at home, it has been the road where the team has tripped up. The team's away record could come back to haunt them in the playoffs.
Washington and Boston have proven to be the next best teams in the east. The two have flip flopped in position in recent weeks and by the season's end who knows which will be second and third.
Boston has been good for long stretches this season behind Isaiah Thomas. The point guard is averaging 22 points per game, which is 14th best in the Association.
The Wizards have been a bit of a surprise behind Bradley Beal and John Wall. Both have been solid for the team this season; and both are averaging more than 23 points per game. Washington has benefited from a strong February and March, which has pushed them to the top of the NBA's Eastern Conference.
Compared to the west, the Eastern Conference looks a bit more wide open and the lower NBA playoff seeds of Toronto, Atlanta and Indiana could push the top three. But seeing someone outside of Cleveland, Washington or Boston in the finals doesn't look likely.
The west's elite teams are by far Golden State and San Antonio. Is there ever a season in which the Spurs aren't around the top of the Western Conference? The team is the definition of professional, and as good as Golden State was in the early part of the season, the Spurs could finish as top seed in the west.
San Antonio is fourth in the NBA in field goal percentage at 47.3% and rank second in blocks per game. Golden State on the other hand top the league in points per game (116.3) and assists (30.3).
The team has practically picked up where it left off at the end of last NBA season, and Kevin Durant has lived up to the hype. However, Durant picked up an injury at the end of February, which has been the catalyst for the Warriors' recent skid.
Durant is suffering from a hyperextended knee and it looks like he may not be back until playoff time. Without him, the Warriors' chances of getting that top spot in the west are diminishing by the day.
Outside of the Warriors and Spurs there are plenty of teams that NBA experts would love to make fans believe have a shot at winning the title. But in reality, the odds of Houston, Los Angeles Clippers, Utah and Memphis are long. It is highly unlikely and of the four have what it takes to win a seven game series against either San Antonio or Golden State.
So, where does that leave us in the west? There are really only two sides capable of coming out of the conference unless a major catastrophe happens. Will the NBA Champion also come from the west? It looks likely based on the strength of the conference. But we will have to wait until June to find out.
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