The Daily Update 4.8.11

Are late season struggles indicative of what we can expect from teams in the post-season? If we’re to look to last season for evidence, the answer would be a resounding no. The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics both stumbled into the playoffs, going 4-6 and 3-7 respectively in their final 10 games. Both proceeded to dominate their way into the Finals for a 7-game classic.

This season both the Celtics and the San Antonio Spurs seem to be struggling as the regular-seasons’ final game closes in. In their last 10 games, Boston has gone 5-5 and the Spurs have gone 4-6. The Lakers are 7-3 in their last 10, but have also lost their last 3 games. Even the Dallas Mavericks are struggling. The two elite teams that aren’t struggling are Miami and Chicago. The Bulls have won 6 straight and 9 of their last 10, while the Heat have gone 8-2.

So does this mean anything for either teams’ playoff hopes? Last year two teams finished the season stronger than their elite counterparts. The Orlando Magic won 9 of their final 10, and the Dallas Mavericks won 8. However, The Mavericks were eliminated in the 1st round by San Antonio, and the Magic were knocked out in the Eastern Conference Finals by the Celtics.

So while it’s never a good thing to see teams struggle, don’t take end-of-season losses to seriously. Once the playoffs start, the game will change completely. We saw it last year, as the Lakers and Celtics turned on their championship-worthy ability seemingly with a push of a button.

Scores from yesterday:

Chicago 97, Boston 81 – The Bulls blew out the Celtics to take full control of the East. Their magic number to earn the conference’s top spot is now just 1. Celtics are now tied with Miami for 2nd, but hold the tie-breaker.

Portland 98, Utah 87 – The Blazers once again move past New Orleans in the West standings. The Jazz have now lost 9 of their last 10.

Game of the Night:

Los Angeles Lakers @ Portland – Big game for both teams. Trailblazers are hoping to stay in the 7th seed, and Lakers are trying to end a 3-game losing streak and stay ahead of Dallas in the West as well as Miami and Boston in the East. Prediction: Lakers by 7.


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