As this 2017-18 NBA season comes near an end, we definitely realize how interesting of a season this has been -- from injuries to trades to seeds.
Seeding, especially, is one of the more surprising things to happen this season. For the first time, in the long time, neither the Golden State Warriors nor the Cleveland Cavaliers are at the top of their conferences.
The Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers have really brought their A-game to the court this time around.
James Harden and Chris Paul are balling out down in Houston, DeMar Derozan has been holding it down in the 6--as he has been--, Kyrie Irving has made his mark in Boston and the Sixers are just proving everyone wrong.
Of course, with their success, a lot sports analysts and reporters constantly question whether or not the Warriors and Cavaliers are losing their touch.
However, let's not focus on that--instead we'll take a look at things on the more positive side.
According to the Sporting News' AccuScore analysis, here's what they say:
Eastern Conference playoff picture
The East playoff field is almost set. The Pistons aren't mathematically eliminated yet after winning five straight games, but it's a case of too little, too late for Detroit.
The Raptors are currently the favorite to take top seed in the Eastern Conference over the Celtics with a two-game lead in the standings, but look out for the 76ers.
Philadelphia has found top form just before the playoffs with an 11-game winning streak, pushing the Sixers to fourth in the Eastern Conference. Based on simulations, they will stay in that position just behind the Cavs.
Western Conference playoff picture
There hasn't been a ton of movement since last week in the West. The teams that have been on track to reach to playoffs based on simulations — the Spurs, Thunder, Jazz, Timberwolves and Pelicans — still hold high probabilities for the postseason. Only New Orleans is sliding in terms of playoff security following a four-game losing streak. That could be trouble for Anthony Davis and the rest of the Pelicans.
The Clippers have notably improved their playoff odds. Los Angeles still has some control of its own destiny, as the Clippers will battle playoff teams in three of their final four games. Currently, they are just two games behind the Pelicans for the No. 8 seed in the West.
Denver has a chance to make serious progress as well. The Nuggets face the Timberwolves twice before the end of the season, and with only one game of separation between the two teams, those matchups could determine whether the Nuggets reach the playoffs for the first time since 2013. Simulations show Denver still has an uphill climb to reach the postseason.
The Rockets and Warriors have secured home-court advantage through the first two rounds of the playoffs. The Trail Blazers also locked up home-court advantage for the first round.
It appears the Spurs will be the fourth in the West and have home-court advantage in the first round. They are predicted to win 48 games by the end of the season, while the Thunder and Timberwolves are projected to hit 47 wins based on the latest simulations.
The playoffs begin April 14, so let's see where this takes us.