NBA: The Final Games and Who to Watch


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With playoffs right around the corner, the competition is fierce. Check out what to look out for.

The NBA has been faced with the difficult challenge of starting a season after having their playoffs pushed back to late summer. The NBA finals normally ends in early June and the new season starts around mid to late October. With the 2020 playoffs being pushed back, the last game of the finals was on October 11, with the 2020-2021 season starting on December 22, and the season length going from 82 games to 72 games. 

These shortened seasons have created some very good story lines for the end of the seasons. 

The NBA is trying a new playoff system this year, instead of their traditional top eight teams from each conference making the playoffs, the league is implementing a format where the top six teams get a bye and the seventh through tenth seeds are in a play in round. The seventh and eighth seeds play each other, the winner of that game becomes the seventh seed and the loser plays the winner of the game between the ninth and tenth seed, to decide which team will be the eighth seed. 

With playoffs starting May 18, here is what to look out for:

Eastern Conference 

Atlantic Division 

The Boston Celtics have had a somewhat disappointing season, but have still been good enough to hover around the sixth seed. The Celtics have gotten great plays from Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown, but still need Kemba Walker to step up for their playoff push. 

The Brooklyn Nets have assembled a super team and are one of the favorites to win the finals. Having already clinched a playoff spot, the only thing slowing the Nets down is injuries, but even with their best players hurt, their bench players have stepped up leading the team to one of the best records in the league. 

The New York Knicks are one of the most surprising teams this year, sitting around the fourth and fifth seed down the stretch of the season. Julius Randle’s all-star season has only gotten better as he is averaging a double double, and solid play from Derrick Rose and Immanuel Quickley. 

The Philadelphia 76ers are going to the playoffs again this year, and star center Joel Embiid is in the MVP race. With players like Tobias Harris, Ben Simmons, and Seth Curry having some of their best seasons in their careers, the 76ers have been one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. 

The Toronto Raptors have had a down year, and have been eliminated from the playoff contention.


Central Division

The Chicago Bulls have had a good season for the recent standards. Though their winning percentage is below .500, they are still in the fight for a spot in the play-in round. First time Zach LaVine is having his best season, and with second year point guard Coby White, the Bulls can possibly make a push into the play round. 

The Cleveland Cavaliers had a strong start to the season but have fallen out of playoff contention. 

The Detroit Pistons haven’t had a good season and are looking to rebound next season. 

The Indiana Pacers had a very good start to their season, but have slowed down as the season has progressed. They are currently in a spot to be in the play in round, but still have room to improve. 

The Milwaukee Bucks have lived up to expectations being one of the top teams in the conference this season. Now all they need to do is continue the success they have had in the regular season into the playoffs. 



The Atlanta Hawks’ big offseason moves have worked really well so far, and the team’s star player, Trae Young, has really stepped up to lead them. They look to lock up a playoff spot in the next week, and make some noise there. 

The Charlotte Hornets have been one of the most exciting teams this year, with the young core living up to its potential. With players starting to return from injuries, they look to move into the top six of the conference, but still have some ground to make up.

The Miami Heat got off to a rough start, but they’ve really picked it up and have fought their way up the standings. With players returning from their injuries, the Heat are trying to repeat their run to the NBA finals like they had last year. 

The Orlando Magic traded most of their starters, and are looking towards the future and developing their young talent. 

The Washington Wizards were one of the worst teams in the league at the beginning of the season, but have turned their fortunes around. With one the top scorers in the league Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook on a tear right now, and the Wizards are looking to make a push into the play-in round. 


Western Conference


The Denver Nuggets have had a great season, and their center, Nikola Jokic, is one of the favorites to win the MVP. The Nuggets have been playing well even without their starting point guard who will miss the r

As the NBA season comes to an end, teams are hoping that they can make a run to the NBA finals. “NBA Finals” CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
(Paolo Rosa)

est of the season. 

The Minnesota Timberwolves and Oklahoma City Thunder have both been eliminated from playoff contention, and are looking to improve next year. 

The Portland Trailblazers have played really well this season being led by Damian Lillard. They are currently locked into an entertaining fight for the sixth seed with the Dallas Mavericks to avoid playing in the play-in round. 

The Utah Jazz had a great start to their season and have been able to win throughout the season. They have been one of the top teams in the league and look to continue their winning ways in the playoffs. 



The Dallas Mavericks have had a good season so far and are looking to move into the top six for the playoffs. 

The Memphis Grizzlies had a solid season and are looking to stay in a play in the round. 

The San Antonio Spurs have had an up and down year so far, but still hold a spot in the play in round. They are looking to hold on to this spot and restart their play appearance streak. 

The New Orleans Pelicans haven’t had the season that they wanted and have been eliminated from playoff contention. 

The Houston Rockets have a disastrous season and have already been eliminated from playoff contention. 



The Phoenix Suns have possibly been the biggest surprise of the season so far, as they are one of the best teams in the league. With the addition of Chris Paul and great play from Devin Booker, they look to carry their success into the playoffs. 

The Los Angeles Clippers have had the season that they were advertised to, and it’s been a great one. 

The Los Angeles Lakers have battled injuries, but are now starting to get healthy and look to move into the top six in the conference. 

The Golden State Warriors have also battled some injuries, and are now being carried by Steph Curry, as he tries to lead the team into the play-in round. 

The Sacramento Kings have had a disappointing season and would have to go on an insane run to make it into the play- in round.