NBA: Coming Out Of The Break

by Will Rogers

Wednesday, Feb 23, 2022
NBA: Coming Out Of The Break

Eastern Conference

The top four teams in the East are Boston, Miami, Cleveland and Milwaukee. I say that based on two things: point differential and net efficiency. 

That doesn’t match up with the standings where the top four are Miami, Chicago, Philadelphia and Cleveland. In particular, look for Boston to move up the standings. They are only sixth right now, but statistically have the best profile. Over the last 10 games, they held opponents to an average of 95.9 points per game. The only worry I have is whether or not the All-Star Break “came at the wrong time” and will lead to a loss of momentum.

Chicago and Philadelphia will round out the top six, who are all currently separated by only 4.5 games. Really, the thing to look for is Boston and Chicago flipping spots in the pecking order.

As for the play-in spots, Toronto, Brooklyn (despite the awful losing streak) and Atlanta look to be safe bets. The last spot will go to either Charlotte or New York. Nothing about the other remaining teams - Washington, Indiana, Orlando and Detroit - says “playoff team.” The Knicks have more ground to make up than the Wizards, believe it or not, so right now I’d say they finish as the team on the outside looking in. Charlotte is somehow 0-6 in overtime games this year, an unfortunate record that will probably improve. 

Western Conference

There’s a clear top four here: Phoenix, Golden State, Memphis and Utah. Utah has actually outscored its opponents - per possession and per game - by a larger margin than Memphis, but trails the Grizzlies by four games. I would be shocked if these teams didn’t finish as the top four at the end of the regular season.

Dallas, Denver and Minnesota will battle for the last two remaining spots in the top six, who get to avoid the play-in round. Of those three, Dallas is most likely to finish in front. 

The Lakers and Clippers are going to be relegated to the play-in round. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. In fact, the Lakers are projected for only 37 wins right now. 

The race for the last play-in spot is going to be interesting. I think San Antonio deserves it. They’ve scored more points than they’ve allowed this year, something that neither the Clippers or Lakers can say. Statistically, the Spurs are having a much better season than the Blazers or Pelicans. 

Best ATS Teams

  1. Memphis 39-20-1
  2. Oklahoma City 37-19-2
  3. Cleveland 33-22-3
  4. Chicago 35-24
  5. Miami 33-24-2

Worst ATS Teams

  1. Houston 22-35-1
  2. Brooklyn 22-35-2
  3. Washington 22-33-2
  4. Orlando 25-34-1
  5. Atlanta 25-32-1

Best Over Teams

  1. Houston 35-21-2
  2. Minnesota 36-23 
  3. Chicago 33-24-2
  4. Miami 34-25
  5. LA Lakers 32-24-2

Best Under Teams

  1. Dallas 36-21-2
  2. Cleveland 35-21-2
  3. Philadelphia 34-24
  4. Oklahoma City 33-24-1
  5. Boston 34-25-1

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