Spurs secure best NBA record
The San Antonio Spurs (62-18) will have home advantage throughout the post-season after securing the best record in the Association, with roughly two games to go for most teams.
San Antonio had secured their place from much earlier in the week, however, when Danny Green sank seven three-pointers in scoring 33 points to inspire his team to a 112-104 win over the Suns. The play-offs are inherently unpredictable, but at this point it is hard to see a team that can compete with the depth and the steadfast quality of the Spurs.
Meanwhile the Dallas Mavericks (49-32) clasped a play-off position with a victory over the Phoenix Suns (47-33) who are embroiled in a neck-and-neck battle with the Memphis Grizzlies (47-32) for the final spot. Monta Ellis had that look in his eye from early on and went for 37 points and 5 assists while Dirk Nowitzki was his usual self, scoring 21 of his 23 points in a key second-half run for the Mavericks to win 101-98.
At news-time, it seems that all teams that have secured a post-season will stay in the spots they are currently in, with the only further contention being whether the Suns can pip the Grizzlies to the final play-off spot. The following is a list, in order of first to seventh, and who they will likely play in the play-off first round: 1) The San Antonio Spurs who will play one of the Grizzlies or the Suns, 2)the Oklahoma City Thunder (58-21) who will play seventh placed Mavericks, 3)the LA Clippers (56-24) who'll play sixth, the Golden State Warriors (49-30) and 4) the Houston Rockets (53-27) who'll play fifth, the Portland Trailblazers (52-28).
All systems go
All eight teams who will play in the Eastern Conference post-season now know who they are. The only contention now is the squandering for positions, in the hope of getting prospectively easier competition in the first round.
The Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers, with equal records of 54-26, will continue to battle for first place in the East, hoping to get the Atlanta Hawks - the only team in the play-offs with a percentage lower than .500 - in the first round. If both teams win their remaining two matches, and with Miami having drawn the season series 2-2 with a 98-86 win over the Pacers on Friday night, the Pacers will have the advantage as they have more wins in the Eastern Conference. It is not likely to matter too much however as both teams have emphatically won their season series' against the seventh-placed Charlotte Bobcats (41-39).
Impressively, third-ranked Chicago Bulls (47-32) have been on a seven-game unbeaten run as the regular season comes to an end, and they will likely face sixth, the Washington Wizards (42-38). The Toronto Raptors (46-33) will prospectively face the Brooklyn Nets (43-36).
The regular season comes to an end tomorrow (April 16) and the NBA Playoffs begin on Saturday, April 19.