08 - 04
By Guillaume Mahot
A few days before the end of the regular season (April 12) and the official starting of the 2018 NBA playoffs, damage has already been done. Atlanta, Chicago and the two franchises from New York (Knicks, Nets) will not be part of the final struggle in the East, while Memphis, Dallas and both Los Angeles squads (Lakers, Clippers) have already been eliminated from the ultimate race in the West.
San Antonio, Oklahoma and New Orleans have great chances to be part of the upcoming playoffs but still, danger prevails, whose names are respectively Minnesota and Denver. One small victory currently makes the difference between the 5th one in the West (57,5% victory rate) and the 9th one (56,2%), while the eight best teams will participate in the playoffs. The Pelicans (5th), Thunder (6th), Spurs (7th), Timberwolves (8th) and Nuggets (9th) are fighting but one will be kicked out anyway.
For Houston, Golden State, Portland and Utah, no worries since the qualification has been acquired without too many hardships, and the ranking should normally remain like written.
In the East, things are a little simpler because the eight ones are known (not the ranking). The Pistons of Blake Griffin are officially eliminated, and Toronto, Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Indiana, Miami, Milwaukee and Washington will have the privilege to play for a potential NBA ring.
Special mention for the Raptors, that will end up at this first place no matter what happens next week, a premiere for the Canadian franchise. Good job for Boston as well, that suffered the injury of former Jazz player Gordon Hayward very early in the season but got back, while Philly’s performances are to underline too, ranking third for a squad that used to live in the basements of the East league over the last few years.