The playoff picture in the Western Conference is still a bit fuzzy, but right now, the Golden State Warriors are crushing the NBA odds en route to what could be their first conference title in 40 years.
Jason’s record as of Mar. 30: 64-61-5 ATS, 7-11 Totals, plus-1.15 units ML
Things are not all quiet on the Western front. Yes, our projected playoff matchups in the Western Conference are the same as they were the last time we checked in, based on the standings heading into Tuesday’s action – as before, not taking into account games in hand and seeding rules and stuff. But there are only three games separating second and sixth place. Teams have flipped positions back and forth since last week, and they’re likely to do it again.
On top of that, the injury situation in the West has changed significantly. What affect might this have on the postseason? Let’s stare directly into that crystal ball – no frosted glass, no cardboard box contraptions – and see if we can make some sense of it all. Included with our projections are the NBA odds for each team to win the West, as per the futures market at Bovada as we go to press.
No. 1 Golden State Warriors (5-4) vs. No. 8 Oklahoma City Thunder (16-1)
No. 2 Memphis Grizzlies (6-1) vs. No. 7 Dallas Mavericks (18-1)
No. 3 Houston Rockets (7-1) vs. No. 6 San Antonio Spurs (7-2)
No. 4 Portland Trail Blazers (16-1) vs. No. 5 Los Angeles Clippers (9-1)
The Warriors (60-13 SU, 44-28-1 ATS) are back, baby. They had a bit of a lull there in February, but the Dubs have won nine straight games at 8-1 ATS to head into the postseason with all cylinders firing. The Thunder (42-32 SU, 37-35-2 ATS) have done remarkably well without Kevin Durant; the midseason trade for Enes Kanter has worked out marvellously, but Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson are both out right now. We’ll take the Warriors in an entertaining series.
Just when it looked like the Grizzlies (51-24 SU, 35-38-2 ATS) were ready for a deep playoff run, Tony Allen ended up aggravating his tender hamstring. Allen is one of the best defensive players in the NBA. Memphis can probably get away without his services for now against the struggling Mavericks (45-29 SU, 32-40-2 ATS), who are 1-4 SU and ATS in their last five and don’t have Monta Ellis. Go with the Grizz again, at least in this round.
The Rockets (50-24 SU, 43-31 ATS) briefly took over second place from Memphis, and they’d better get back into the 2-slot if they’re going to make it through the first round. The Spurs (47-26 SU, 35-36-2 ATS) have won six of their last seven SU and ATS; all their players are back, while Houston has lost Patrick Beverley for the season with a torn ligament in his wrist. In the immortal words of Jalen Rose: Go, Spurs, Go.
There might not be a peskier team in the West than the Portland Trail Blazers (48-25 SU, 37-35-1 ATS). Despite the loss of Wesley Matthews and the poor play of his replacement, Aaron Afflalo, Portland has turned things around lately with four straight wins at 3-1 ATS. But we’ll take the Clippers (49-25 SU, 34-40 ATS) now that Blake Griffin has worked his way back into the mix. L.A. has won seven in a row at 5-2 ATS.
No. 1 Golden State Warriors vs. No. 5 Los Angeles Clippers
No. 2 Memphis Grizzlies vs. No. 6 San Antonio Spurs
As it turns out, we’ve got the same four teams projected to advance to the Western semis with our NBA picks. And we still like the Warriors to get past the Clippers in this round, although L.A. should have Jamal Crawford back by this point in our kayfabe postseason. We’re changing our minds on the Grizzlies, though. They’ve had success against the Spurs, but now that Allen is on the limp and San Antonio is healthy, we have to switch our basketball pick to the defending champions. Spurs in six.
No. 1 Golden State Warriors vs. No. 6 San Antonio Spurs
It’s the matchup everyone wants to see, and the one the NBA odds think is most likely to happen. These two teams have played twice this year, both in Oakland, splitting the two games SU and ATS. Golden State will have younger legs and home-court advantage, so we’ll pick the Warriors, but it’s a coin flip otherwise. May the sphere be with you.
Free NBA Pick: Take the Warriors