Monday, January 28, 2013

Clippers to win NBA title?


Every once in a while I like to take the mid-season standings in the NBA or NHL and run through a simulated playoffs to see who might win the championship. You might think such an exercise is entirely meaningless, but in 2011, my NHL simulation showed the Los Angeles Kings beating the Boston Bruins. Of course, the Bruins won the cup in 2011, the Kings in 2012. Coincidence? I think not. So get your betting hats on, contact your bookie, and read on.

The standings at the 41-game mark of the NBA follow. Remember the NBA has a slightly different seeding system whereby the three division champions in each conference must appear in the top four playoff spots (as opposed to the top 3 in the NHL) although that doesn't impact things this time.

East          W   L
Miami        28  13
New York     26  15
Indiana      25  16
Chicago      25  16
Brooklyn     25  16
Atlanta      23  18
Milwaukee    22  19
Boston       20  21
   
West          W   L
OKC          32   9
LA Clippers  32   9
San Antonio  30  11
Memphis      27  14
Golden State 26  15
Denver       24  17
Utah         22  19
Houston      21  20


First, the tiebreakers: Indiana beat Chicago in their only meeting so far so they are the Central Division champions and get the 3rd spot in the East. Out West, the Thunder beat the Clippers both times they have played so they take top spot.

Playoffs based on season series so far:

1st Round
Miami vs Boston - Heat 1-1, Heat lost in 2OT so they advance
NY vs Milwaukee - Knicks 1-0
Indiana vs Atlanta - Hawks 2-0
Chicago vs Brooklyn - Bulls 1-0

OKC vs Houston - Thunder 2-0
LAC vs Utah - Clippers 3-0
San Antonio vs Denver - 1-1, Spurs advance on better record
Memphis vs Golden State - Grizzlies 2-0

2nd Round
Miami vs Chicago - Bulls 1-0
NY vs Atlanta - 0-0, Knicks advance on better record (the teams played Jan 27th, which was after game 41 for both so not counted)
OKC vs Memphis  - Grizzlies 1-0
LAC vs San Antonio - Clippers 2-0

Conference Finals
Chicago vs NY - Bulls 3-0
LAC vs Memphis - Clippers 2-0

Final
Chicago vs LAC - Clippers 2-0

So there you have it. The Clippers are your NBA favourites halfway through the season. Of course, since then, they have lost 4 in a row and are now 32-13, much like the LA Kings did after my prediction in 2011. And with Derrick Rose due back in late February, the Bulls are probably the team to beat. Look for the Clippers to take the title in 2014 instead.

Best,

Sean

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