It's a Six-Week Sprint to the Playoffs
The calander has turned to March and the NBA finds itself in the final six weeks of the regular season.
We're already seeing the two-time defending champion Miami Heat rounding into form, having won ten of their last eleven games. The usual characters are performing well for the Heat, ie- LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, etc. If Miami can get anything out of the often injured Greg Oden in the playoffs, it could very well three-peat come June.
Indiana is the one team that can keep Miami out of the finals, and the Pacers have added Andrew Bynum, Evan Turner, and LaVoy Allen for the stretch run. Don't sleep on the Brooklyn Nets, however, as they creep towards .500. The Nets can score, play defense, and have added Marcus Thornton, who scored 25 points in a win over Milwaukee.
The West is like Southeastern Conference football in that it's loaded.
There are five teams with 40+ victories, and you can take your pick from any of those as to who will reach the finals. Oklahoma City (44-15) will go as far as Kevin Durant will take them. San Antonio (43-16) will go as far as their legs will take them. Portland (41-18) has snuck up on everyone, led by La Marcus Aldridge and Damian Lilard.
One team to watch in the West could be Los Angeles, and that would be the Clippers, not the Lakers. The Clips (41-20) added Danny Granger and Glen Davis to their roster, both of whom will help their depth.
The final six weeks of the season will be all about home court advantage and then finding a way to overtake Miami in May and June. Indiana thinks it's ready, and the top teams in the West will have to battle just to get a shot at them. It should be good theater.