Adam Silver recently came out and said that if the season resumes, fans will not be allowed at the games. Although it sounds inherently negative without context, it’s actually a good thing. It means they are seriously considering reopening the 2019-2020 season.
I believe it’s something the world needs right now: a bit of healthy competition and hope for the near future. The main caveat is that the final decision won’t come until June, meaning we probably won’t see any NBA action until at least July. So, what are the latest facts regarding the NBA? Let’s dig in.
If The NBA Goes Straight to Playoffs:
If the NBA season resumes and goes straight to the playoffs, Here would be the first-round matchups:
No. 8 Memphis Grizzlies vs. No. 1 Los Angeles Lakers
No. 7 Dallas Mavericks vs. No. 2 Los Angeles Clippers
No. 6 Houston Rockets vs. No. 3 Denver Nuggets
No. 5 OKC Thunder vs. No. 4 Utah Jazz
No. 8 Orlando Magic vs. No. 1 Milwaukee Bucks
No. 7 Brooklyn Nets vs. No. 2 Toronto Raptors
No. 6 Philadelphia 76ers vs. No. 3 Boston Celtics
No. 5 Indianapolis Pacers vs. No. 4 Miami Heat
Considering that the Washington Wizards are a full 5.5 games behind the Magic for the 8th place cutoff and the Blazers just 3.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies, and with the Grizzlies next on their schedule, they and then another meeting against Memphis 11 games later, it makes sense to try and finish out the regular season because Portland was still very much in the hunt.
Washington is only a couple more games behind than Portland, so they are not out of it either. That said, they are ranked the No. 25 team on the power rankings charts and have an exceedingly tough remaining schedule. Point being, I think they’d actually fall in the standings if the rest of the regular season were to play out. So, it will be interesting to see what the NBA does regarding regular-season play-out vs. direct to playoffs.
No. 8 vs. No. 1 Matchups
Grizzlies vs. Lakers:
The Lakers are rated as the No. 2 team in the league and sit on the odds boards as the clear favorites to win the Western Conference, while the Grizzlies are ranked as the twentieth strongest team. It isn’t often that the No. 8 team Beats the No. 1 seed.
The Knicks beat the Heat back in 1999. But the first time that it happened in the best of seven formats was when the Warriors beat the Mavs back in 2007. That said, this Mavericks team is not going to be the one
to complete this rare feat in 2020.
The Lakers are 49 and 14 and put up 114.3 points per game, winning by an average margin of 7.4 points. Defensively, they allow 106.9 per game. The Grizzlies have some offensive potency, putting up 112.6 per game, but they allow 113.7 and have a negative scoring margin.
With this type of defensive play, we’re likely to see the Lakers score into the low 120s and sweep this series, perhaps lose just one. It’s no wonder they are +235 at 5Dimes to win the Championship.
Magic vs. Bucks:
Again, this isn’t a matchup where I see any possibility of the No. 8 seed taking down the No. 1 seed. Orlando has one of the weaker offenses in the NBA at just 106.4 points scored per game. They do have a decent defense, that allows just 107.3. The Bucks boast the most potent offense in the NBA and the No. 5 defense at 107.4 ppg allowed.
These teams have already played each other four times this season and the Magic lost by double-digits in all but one meeting — that one still wasn’t close; the Magic lost by 9. In their first matchup of the season, the Bucks routed the Magic 123 to 91 … 33 points. Wow. The Orlando Magic are no match for the Milwaukee Bucks who are +275 at BetOnline to win it all. Look for a series sweep in this one, if the NBA goes straight to the playoffs.