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Feb 26, 2018

The Run To The Playoffs

With the NBA All-Star game in the books, it is time to look ahead to the final two months of the NBA season. With a little over 20 games left in most teams’ schedules the playoff picture is slowly forming. In the West there is a battle for the top spot between the Rockets and the Warriors. The Rockets entered the break riding a ten games win streak, and both teams sit a comfortable ten games ahead of the Spurs in the third spot. The Rockets added Joe Johnson and Brandon Wright which should bolster their bench down the stretch. One major stat to keep an eye on is the fact that the Rockets are 28-1 when Chris Paul, James Harden, and Clint Capela all play. However number one and two spots shakeout in the West, there is a pretty good chance we will be seeing these two teams in the Western Conference Finals.

The bottom of the playoff picture in the West is just as exciting as the top. Only three games separate the Thunder in the fifth spot from the Jazz in the tenth spot. The Jazz are surging on an 11-game win streak that has improved their record from 19-28 to 30-28. Much of this success is on the back of rookie sensation Donovan Mitchell who has topped 25 points in four straight games. The Pelicans, on the other hand, are trending in the other direction. After the loss of Demarcus Cousins at the end of January, New Orleans dropped five of their next six games. With six teams gunning for spots five through eight, the Pelicans need to pick up the pieces fast to secure a playoff spot.

In the East, the Raptors sit on top, two games ahead of the Celtics and seven ahead of the Cavaliers. The Raptors are riding a seven-game win streak, as DeMar DeRozan looks to keep his breakout year rolling into the playoffs. Some of the Raptors success can be attributed to surprise rookie OG Anunoby. While his presence doesn’t necessarily show up on the stat line (he has only topped 20 fantasy points seven times this year), his defensive ability and physicality have allowed the Raptors to hold opponents to just over 103 points per game. The Raptors hope he can continue to develop throughout the rest of the season, and hopefully make a Championship run. The Cavs made seismic moves right before the break and look like they are beginning to turn things around. LeBron James looks rejuvenated as he has now scored over fifty fantasy points in five straight games.

At the bottom of the playoff picture in the East, the Pistons are looking to crack the eighth spot. They currently sit a game and a half behind the Heat who have lost seven of their last ten. Andre Drummond is having a career season, and with the acquisition of Blake Griffin, the Pistons are poised to make a run at the postseason.  The Wall-less Wizards could just as easily enter the postseason in eighth place, or as high as third if they can continue their recent success.

There is plenty of NBA fantasy to be played and don’t forget that Dynasty continues into the playoffs. Game on!

Dan Quinn