NBA Preview — The Tortured East

With only two nights of basketball remaining, nothing seems clear in the East

From NBA.com

Look at the picture above. It looks eerily similar to the Hawks/Cavs game on Sunday afternoon, where Cleveland led all afternoon, only to finally blow a huge lead late. Sure, it’s not a perfect analogue, but in each case it was a huge win for the team facing down the Cavaliers. In this case, the Miami Heat turned a huge deficit into one of the most import wins of the season.

This win kept alive one of the most improbable playoff stories in years, as the Heat are now on the cusp of a playoff berth with only one game left on their schedule. Miami needs help, and another win, but still has a solid chance.

From the NBA.com recap:

‘’We think it’s meant to be,’’ Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ‘’But we have to take care of business.’’
That, and get some assistance. For Miami to reach the postseason — a near-impossibility after its 11–30 start — either Indiana or Chicago must lose.
Here’s Wednesday’s slate: Miami hosts Washington (which is locked into the №4 spot), Chicago hosts NBA-worst Brooklyn, and Indiana hosts Atlanta.
‘’It’s win or go home,’’ Heat guard Josh Richardson said. ‘’Win, and we still might go home.’’

The Indiana/Atlanta game looks enticing for Heat fans. The Hawks clinched a playoff berth a few days ago, but may still be fighting for position on Wednesday night. A win may be the difference between 5th and 7th place, and I’d expect that Atlanta will want to win that game. Indiana’s quest to actually make the playoffs will fill the Pacers with desperation too, obviously, but at least this should be a competitive game. Chicago vs. Brooklyn could be interesting as well, since the Nets beat the Bulls recently and have no incentive at all to tank.

With only two nights of action left — and really only one meaningful night for these teams—the end of the regular season has been absolutely insane. Three teams are fighting for two playoff spots, and the only way this could be more entertaining is if two of them actually played each other tonight or tomorrow. In any case, this is one of the most entertaining regular-season finales I can remember in some time.

Predictions

2–0 last night, and for the week so far as well. Tonight, NBA TV has just one game, which probably won’t be terribly entertaining.

Oklahoma City at Minnesota: Oklahoma City

These teams don’t have a whole lot to play for, as they’re each just waiting for the season to end. Given each team’s at least partial lack of incentive, I’m picking OKC here. They have the better talent, and that should be enough.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.