Jan 17, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Shane Larkin (3) tries to keep control of the ball against the Phoenix Suns forward Marcus Morris (15) and guard Ish Smith (3) in the second half at US Airways Center. The Mavericks won 110-107. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

NBA WILD WEST: Which two teams will hang on for playoffs?


The 2014 NBA playoffs are just around the corner. And, in the West, things are far from settled. We’ve got nine teams that all would make the playoffs easily in the East, and yet, one of these good teams will miss out. Which one?

I’ll be focusing on the 7th, 8th, and 9th, seeds in this post. As I write this late March 22nd, 2014, those teams are the Mavericks, Grizzlies, and Suns. The Suns are in 9th place but, if they were in the East, they would be 3rd best record-wise. Yeah, it’s a real joke. Anyway, only two of these teams will survive. We’ll look at remaining schedules as well as recent news like injuries and such.

Currently, the Suns are only 1.5 games behind the 7th place Mavs. So yeah, this race is far from over. Grizzlies sit in 8th place, a game above the Suns and half a game behind the Mavs.

Schedules:

Mavericks: Nets, Thunder, Clippers, Kings, Warriors, @Clippers, @Lakers, @Kings, @Jazz, Spurs, Suns, @Grizzlies

Grizzlies: Timberwolves, @Jazz, @Warriors, @Blazers, @Nuggets, @T-Wolves, Nuggets, @Spurs, Heat, 76ers, @Lakers, @Suns, Mavericks

Suns: @T-Wolves, @Hawks, @Wizards, Knicks, @Lakers, Clippers, @Blazers, Thunder, @Pelicans, @Spurs, @Mavericks, Grizzlies, @Kings

Holy cow, did you catch that!? These teams meet against each other all around the same time. In fact, for the Suns, it’s a back-back. If they remain close to each other, who knows what could happen? Just because of this special event, let’s look at the season series they have so far against each other:

Suns are tied with Mavericks 1-1

Grizzlies lead Suns 3-0

Mavericks lead 3-0 over Grizzlies.

Great, so now we have a sort of rock, paper, scissors thing going on. Mavs beat Grizzlies, who beat Suns, and then Suns even up with Mavs. So, we really don’t know who could take this all down.

Okay, so the Mavs have the better home schedule. Suns have the least amount at home. Here are my projected records EXCLUDING the two games where they meet their competition in this post:

Mavs: 6-4

Grizzlies: 6-5

Suns: 6-5

Oh man. Things are still going to be close. It could come down to the games against each other. I’m going by current season series. So, basically, each team would go 1-1. Right? Well…not exactly. The Grizzlies would sweep the Suns and the Mavs would sweep the Grizzlies. What about the Suns and Mavs? So far, the Suns had two home games. This final match-up is in Dallas. I think Dallas takes home court. So, Mavs would actually be 2-0. Suns would be 0-2. And the Grizzlies would be 1-1.

So, overall record of remaining games:

Mavs: 8-4

Grizzlies: 7-6

Suns: 6-7

Yes, I took into account Marc Gasol’s recent injury. The Suns are without Eric Bledsoe, although that’s been a long while ago. However, they have been sliding since and it’s not looking too good for their chances.

Basically, I’m predicting that these three teams stay where they are. Could things change? Well, for the Grizzlies, they could take the 7th spot if Gasol’s injury doesn’t keep him out. He played last night, so that’s a good sign. Do the Grizzlies shut him down for a playoff run? But then, the playoffs aren’t guaranteed so, if he can play, I’m sure he will. Also, the Suns did blow the Mavs out in their win. Meanwhile, the Mavs won by only three next time around. So, could the Suns have the upper hand?

Let me know what you think. I am fully aware of the Warriors and them being only 1.5 games ahead of the Mavs. However, I don’t think the Warriors slide too much. The Mavs do have a game vs them so things could get interesting. But, for the sake of this post, who takes the 7th seed? What about 8th?

Tags: Dallas Mavericks Memphis Grizzlies NBA NBA Playoffs Phoenix Suns

  • Ray Qadri

    Very wrong assessment. My prediction Mavericks will falter. Grizllies will end up 7′th and SUNS will take the final spot. Yet another miss for Dallas in the playoffs.