NBA: 5 bold predictions for the remainder of the season

Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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Russell Westbrook
Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

As the playoff push begins, we explore five bold predictions for the remainder of the 2019-20 NBA season

We are just a few days into the final stretch run of the 2019-20 NBA season, and it is clear that many things will be up for grabs coming down the stretch. Playoff spots, award races, important seeding situations, and of course, the Larry O’Brien trophy are all coveted awards that players and coaches are currently chasing.

Let’s take a look at five bold predictions that I have for the final stretch of the 2020 NBA season.

The Houston Rockets will make the Western Conference Finals

Are the Houston Rockets the second-best team in the Western Conference? No. Will they make the Western Conference Finals? I think so. Right now the Western Conference standings are an insanely close race, as per usual. Before the season it was almost a lock that the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers would meet in the Western Conference Finals for a classic battle for Los Angeles.

Right now, the Rockets trail the Clippers by just one game for the third seed. If the Rockets could find a way to jump the Clippers, then the Clippers and Lakers would most likely meet in the Conference Semifinals. Meaning the Rockets would be a favorite in a bracket that most likely consisted of the Nuggets, Thunder, and Mavericks to get to the Conference Finals.

Many people will argue that it is highly unlikely that the Rockets would jump the Clippers in the standings, and that is the part that makes this prediction bold. The reason I think the Rockets will get the third seed is because of how the Clippers have chosen to handle their rotations this season.

It is obvious that the Clippers have solely the playoffs in mind, and don’t really care what seed they get as long as they make the playoffs. Their load management process they have used this season has cause Paul George and Kawhi Leonard to barely see any time together on the court this season. The Rockets, on the other hand, take every single regular-season game extremely seriously.

Russell Westbrook has an incredibly motor that he can’t seem to turn off no matter what game he is playing in. He gives full effort every single game of the year. James Harden is a walking bucket in every game he is in as well, meaning that the Rockets are a tremendous regular-season team. Their small ball lineup has proven to give other teams problems as well, making them a dangerous team come playoff time.