We are hitting the home stretch in the NBA regular season and in the East, it is an all out battle for the 3rd spot with 4 teams in the running.
The Hawks are currently 3rd with the Heat and Hornets tied for 4th just a game out of 3rd. The Celtics are in 6th a game and a half out of 3rd. This sets up for an exciting week and a half to close things out.
The big question in Charlotte is can the Hornets finish in 3rd? I say they can and will.
Among the 4 teams, Charlotte has the easiest schedule. The 3rd place Hawks have the toughest.
Charlotte has 8 games remaining in the regular season with 5 of those on the road. Three of those are against teams with a winning record including the Cavaliers (53-22), the Raptors (50-24), and the Celtics (43-22). That doesn't sound good but remember, since the All Star break, the Hornets are 8-3 away from the Hive. Charlotte has some games that you can pencil in as wins against the 76ers, Nets, and the Magic to end the regular season.
The Hawks only have 6 games to go, but have 2 games against the Cavs, and one each against the Raptors and the Celtics. The saving grace for Atlanta is that 4 of those 6 are at home in the Highlight Factory, but their final 2 are on the road.
The Heat have 8 games remaining and much like the Hornets, 5 of them are on the road. They catch a break with 2 games against the Magic and one at the Kings, but play 4 teams still battling for the playoffs as they have 2 games against the Pistons, one at Portland, one vs the Bulls, and finish the regular season at the Celtics.
Boston has 7 games remaining and it starts with a game at Golden State... OUCH! Their final 3 games will decide their fate if they can take care of business against the Lakers, Pelicans, and Bucks before this finish. On April 9th, they are at the Hawks. On April 11th, they host the Hornets. On April 13, they host the Heat. Yes, the 3 teams they are battling with to get the 3rd position in the East. That Heat at Celtics game may be the key game in this entire equation.
I for one and not a huge NBA fan and feel things don't really get interesting until the playoffs. Well folks, the playoffs start NOW! These 4 teams are fighting it out for 3rd in the East. What does that mean? Well, 3rd will keep you from having to take on the Cavs until the Eastern Conference Finals providing they remain #1 in the East and don't lose before the conference finals.
Bottom line, it's about to get GOOD in the NBA.