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NBA Scheduling

   by ASA - 03/05/2010

Analyzing the rest of the NBA schedule and the playoff bound teams we find some great statistical information for you to sink your teeth into. Who has the easiest remaining schedule and should only improve their current seeding? Who is going to struggle down the stretch with a tough schedule as we head towards the post-season? Keep reading and we'll answer those difficult questions for you based each team's schedules.
Two teams we won't talk about are the Lakers and Cavaliers as they have the two best records in the league and are destined to meet in the Finals. Yes, some other teams might beg to disagree with that statement but there's no reason for me to think otherwise as they've easily been the two best teams in the league this year without question.
The way things are shaping up right now we could see a great playoff race in the East between the 2, 3 and 4 seeds along with the 5-8 seeds. The second seed in the East right now is the Orlando Magic with a 42-20 overall record. Third is Atlanta at 39-21 followed by Boston who is 38-21. The bottom half of the East (teams #5-#9) are all separated by just 3 games.
Shifting gears to the West here's how things are shaping up on the 'left coast'. The Lakers are set as the top seed but a great race is heating up for the #2 through #6 seeds. The Mavericks are currently sitting at the #2 seed but they better not get too comfortable as they lead the Nuggets by just a half game, the Jazz by a game and a half, Phoenix by 3 games and Oklahoma City by 4 games. San Antonio and Portland are five games back of Dallas with Memphis on the outside looking in for the 9th spot in the West.
Orlando Magic: The Magic are sitting pretty with the #2 seed as they have 20 games remaining and only 9 of those twenty are against teams currently with better than .500 records. Of the nine games they play against winning teams, only four are away. They also get 11 of their remaining games at home where they are 24-6 SU this season. The one minor negative for the Magic is that they play four sets of back-to-back games but they are 19-12 SU (17-14 ATS) when playing without rest the past two seasons.
Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks also have a VERY easy schedule remaining and could move up from the third overall position in the East to the second ahead of Orlando, should the Magic stumble. Atlanta has 21 games left in the regular season and only nine of those are versus teams with winning records. Five of those nine are at home where the Hawks are 24-7 SU on the year, 58-20 SU dating back to the start of last season. Atlanta also has the 6th best scoring differential in the league at home, outscoring opponents by an average of 8.6 ppg.
Miami Heat: The Heat are currently in the 8th and final playoff spot in the East but only 1.5 games separate them and the Raptors for the 5th seed. Looking over their shoulders they have the Bobcats just 1.5 games behind them. But the Heat may have the easiest remaining schedule of all the teams in the East or West as just 8 of their final 21 games come against teams with winning records, 5 of those eight are at home. They benefit from playing the worst team in the league New Jersey twice and the second to last team in the league Minnesota once. They also get 22-38 Philly two times, 21-39 New York, 20-41 Indiana and 21-40 Detroit twice. In other words, 10 of their last 21 games come against teams that combine for a .285 percent winning margin this season.
San Antonio Spurs: The elderly Spurs have to play 24 games in 40 days and they will have to play without rest six different times. To make matters worse they have to play four games in a six day span on three separate occasions. The older Spurs haven't done well when playing the second night of a back-to-back this year with a 4-6 SU record. Of their 24 remaining games, 14 are on the road and 10 of those games are against playoff bound teams. The Spurs are lucky they have a 4 game lead over the Grizzlies who have a tough schedule remaining too or the Black and Silver might not make the post season this year.
Boston Celtics: The Celtics have all but assured themselves a home series in the first round as they currently sit 4th in the East with a 7-game cushion over the rest of the East. But they'll more than likely have to win a road series after that to advance further than the first round. Boston trails the #3 seed Atlanta by just a game but they have a brutal schedule to close the season out. The Celtics have 23 games to finish the season with 15 of those coming against teams with a .500 or better record. Eight of those fifteen games against winning teams are also on the road. They have five different back-to-backs and play a really tough four game stretch that will have them at Houston, at Dallas, at Utah then home against Denver in a six day span.
Denver Nuggets: The Nuggets have 21 games remaining on their schedule and 16 are versus .500 plus teams. They have to close out the season by playing 9 of their last ten games against teams with winning records. They have a four and five game road trip remaining and must play without rest on six different nights. Eight of the Nuggets last eleven road games are against playoff caliber teams which isn't good news for Denver as they are just 14-16 SU away on the season.
Best of luck with all of your NBA wagers the rest of the way!

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