By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer
The Eastern Conference is basically settled with the 33-8 Indiana Pacers crushing the Central Division ahead of the 21-20 Chicago Bulls, and the 30-12 Miami Heat dribbling past the 22-19 Atlanta Hawks in the Southeast Division.
As the East’s top two seeds, the Pacers and Heat have nothing to worry about from the Atlantic Conference leader, the 21-20 Toronto Raptors.
Now, when it comes to the Western Conference, the competition is a lot more fierce with eight teams sporting records above .500.
While injuries may upset the balance of power at any time, the current top contenders are the 33-10 Oklahoma City Thunder, the 32-10 San Antonio Spurs, and the 31-11 Portland Trail Blazers.
Keep an eye, though, on the 26-17 Golden State Warriors. They might be second place in the Pacific Division, but they’ve got an underdog history of coming up from behind in a playoff series and winning.
The Western Conference picture gets more interesting when you take a closer look at the top six seeds in their one-on-one matches.
While the overall 32-10 Spurs seem untouchable, you can’t ignore the difficulties they’ve had against the top-notch teams. In fact, they’re a combined 1-8 against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Houston Rockets, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Los Angeles Clippers. The good news for San Antonio is that they’re a combined 4-0 against the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns.
As for the Blazers, with the exception of defeats by the Rockets, they’ve held up well against the elite with a combined 7-3 record. Keep an eye on the Thunder as well, because they have managed 8-3 against the Western Conference’s best teams.