The NBA regular season concludes in just 20 days on Wednesday, April 17. Between now and then, boy, there’s going to be a whole lot of exciting back-and-forth action.
Most notably as it relates to the Cavs besides their own draft position, fans should be paying attention to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference playoff race. Back on March 8, I shared an update about how the Lakers were closing in on Utah. But now, there’s a new competitor: Dallas.
After a busy Wednesday night in the Association, here’s the most recent look at how the bottom of the West playoff standings play out right now:
|Rk||Team||W||L||Pct||GB||Left||SRS||JH Rt||JH Rk||JH Odds|
Now, with data through Tuesday’s games, here is a look at these teams’ remaining schedules:
|Rk||Team||Left||P/L||H/R||P: H/R||L: H/R||W Pct||JH Avg||SRS Avg|
Key: JH stands for John Hollinger’s ratings, rankings and playoff odds at ESPN. SRS is a standardized ranking system built around an average of 0.0. P/L is playoffs and lottery teams, while H/R is home and road games.
Both Golden State and Houston appear to be playoff locks with only a few weeks left. Thus, after all the positioning thus far, it appears these next four teams are battling only for the No. 8 spot.
With Wednesday’s win, the Lakers actually jumped from about 42% playoff odds to over 54%. That’s also because every other team besides Utah (win) and Dallas (didn’t play) lost last night. But it shows how the Lakers’ progress had been stagnant over the last few weeks.
In terms of remaining schedules, Dallas and Utah are both at a slight advantage over the Lakers. The Jazz play the fewest remaining playoff teams (5), while the Mavericks have the easiest opponent winning percentage, Hollinger rating and SRS rating by a slight margin.
Portland’s blowout loss Wednesday against Brooklyn (they trailed 46-17 just 14 minutes into the game) probably ended its playoff hopes. The Trail Blazers also have a brutal schedule left — facing eight playoff teams in their 11 remaining games.