March Madness is upon us. Once college basketball season officially ends, basketball fans turn their attention to the NBA playoffs.
This NBA season has been an exhilarating journey. Full of rising teams, unexpected finishes, buzzer beaters, slam dunks, and historic performances. As the season starts to wrap up, teams are starting to make those final playoff pushes. With under two weeks left of games to play, the championship favorites are starting to become more clear.
In the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors rest at the top. However, they aren’t alone in the ultra competitive Western Conference. The Denver Nuggets are neck and neck with the Warriors in terms of standings, and the Houston Rockets, led by MVP favorite James Harden, are on fire right now. The Oklahoma City Thunder have started to stumble however, a team led by Russell Westbrook and Paul George will be a problem come playoff time. Also look out for the Portland Trailblazers, who have been hot as of late thanks to incredible play from Damian Lillard. The final 8 teams for the Western Conference are pretty much set, but with a couple weeks left to play, the rankings could still move around.
Moving onto the Eastern Conference, the Milwaukee Bucks sit at the top of the rankings, with a winning percentage which they’ve maintained all season. With impressive team play, an offensive boost, and one of the top 5 players in the league leading their team in Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks are the real deal come playoff time, and likely the favorite to go to the Finals. But the road to the finals won’t be an easy one for the East either. The Toronto Raptors have also been on a tear this season, after acquiring Kawhi Leonard and Marc Gasol. They sit at the 2nd seed, and could even possibly move to 1st seed by the end of the season. The Philadelphia 76ers will also be a very dynamic and difficult team to beat. Holding one of the best starting 5’s in basketball, including Joel Embiid, Jimmy Butler, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris, there aren’t many weak points in the team. Other teams to look out for are the Boston Celtics and the Indiana Pacers, who sit in the mid tier rankings in the East, but have a lot of potential to upset.
It’s almost playoff time, and it’s a time for NBA fans to get excited. If you think you’ve seen it all this season, just wait for what’s in store this postseason. It will be a show you won’t want to miss.