NBA Playoff Standings 2014: Updated Bracket, Championship Odds and Predictions

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NBA Playoff Standings 2014: Updated Bracket, Championship Odds and Predictions
Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

The first round of 2014 NBA playoffs has arguably been the most exciting opening slate in the history of the league, but it’s also been hectic.

An average fan may be a little overwhelmed by everything that has been happening as we head to the end of Week 2 of the playoffs. Overtime contests and unlikely upsets have been occurring at an unprecedented rate while some series have, surprisingly, already ended.

If you need to catch up on what the postseason bracket currently looks like, fret not—I have you covered. Keep reading for a peek at the standings, plus updated championship odds and a prediction for the winner of the madness that has become the NBA playoffs.

 

Updated NBA Playoff Bracket

For a printable 2014 NBA playoffs bracket, check out NBAPlayoffsBracket.com.

Updated 2014 NBA Championship Odds - April 30
Team Odds
Miami Heat 8-5
San Antonio Spurs 5-2
Los Angeles Clippers 5-1
Oklahoma City Thunder 10-1
Washington Wizards 20-1
Portland Blazers 25-1
Brooklyn Nets 25-1
Memphis Grizzlies 25-1
Indiana Pacers 30-1
Toronto Raptors 50-1
Atlanta Hawks 50-1
Golden State Warriors 65-1
Dallas Mavericks 65-1
Houston Rockets 100-1

VegasInsider.com

Remaining First-Round Schedule for 2014 NBA Playoffs - April 30
Game Date Time (ET) TV Info Projected Winner
(1) Indiana Pacers vs. (8) Atlanta Hawks ATL 3 – IND 2
6 Thurs., May 1 7 p.m. NBATV Hawks
7 Sat., May 3 TBD TNT N/A
(3) Toronto Raptors vs. (6) Brooklyn Nets TOR 2 - BRK 2
5 Wed., April 30 7:30 p.m. NBA TV Nets
6 Fri., May 2 TBD TBD Raptors
7 Sun., May 4 TBD TBD Raptors
(1) San Antonio Spurs vs. (8) Dallas Mavericks SAS 2 - DAL 2
5 Wed., April 30 7 p.m. TNT Spurs
6 Fri., May 2 TBD TBD Spurs
7 Sun., May 4 TBD TBD N/A
(2) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (7) Memphis Grizzlies MEM 3 – OKC 2
6 Thurs., May 1 8 p.m. TNT Grizzlies
7 Sat., May 3 TBD TNT N/A
(3) Los Angeles Clippers vs. (6) Golden State Warriors LAC 3 - GSW 2
6 Thurs., May 1 10:30 p.m. TNT Clippers
7 Sat., May 3 TBD TNT N/A
(4) Houston Rockets vs. (5) Portland Trail Blazers POR 3 - HOU 1
5 Wed., April 30 9:30 p.m. TNT Rockets
6 Fri., May 2 TBD TBD Blazers
7 Sun., May 4 TBD TBD N/A

NBA.com

 

Potential Dark-Horse Finals Winner: Washington Wizards

The Wizards weren’t hailed by many as a potential contender in the Eastern Conference heading into the playoffs but appear quite dangerous after taking down the Chicago Bulls. SportsCenter pointed out that Washington had only won two playoff series in the last 35 years prior to this one:

Not only did the Wizards oust favored Chicago to start their quest for a championship, they also did it in convincing fashion. The Wizards now look to be one of the more intriguing contenders and could give the Miami Heat a run for their money if they meet in the conference finals.

Washington has a relatively easy road to that matchup, as it now awaits the winner of the Atlanta Hawks-Indiana Pacers series. The eighth-seeded Hawks appear to have an edge and are currently in the driver’s seat with a 3-2 series lead going into Thursday’s pivotal Game 6.

Regardless of which team emerges on top—be it the unraveling, dysfunctional Pacers or the surging Hawks—the Wizards will likely be favored to win in the second round. They showed their full capabilities in Round 1, beating an extremely strong defensive team and left no doubt about which side was better.

With a core that includes a dynamic young duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal in the backcourt, plus a plethora of veteran frontcourt contributors in Marcin Gortat, Nene and Trevor Ariza, there isn’t much to dislike about how this team plays.

The Wizards proved that their defense is one of the toughest in the league, beating Chicago at its own game to close out the series. They held the Bulls to just 33.3 percent shooting and a season-low 69 points in Game 5, proving they can win games when the offense isn’t on fire (Washington scored just 75 points on 40.5 percent shooting).

Give Nene credit for Washington’s transformation into a defensive powerhouse. The Brazilian big man never shies away from contact, living in the paint and outmuscling opponents for position and rebounds on both ends. He is going to be an X-factor going forward for this team and a key to its chances of pulling off another series win in 2014.

While the Wizards couldn’t get much going in terms of point production in Game 5, down nights like those aren’t common for the franchise’s offense. It has a variety of weapons capable of exploding at any given time. That much was evident when the team boasted a different high scorer in each of its playoff wins (Nene piled in 24 points in Game 1, Beal had 26 in Game 2, Ariza dropped 30 in Game 4 and Wall chipped in 24 in Game 5.)

Could the Wizards beat the Heat in a best-of-seven series?

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Wall touched on the potential of this group in an interview after clinching a second-round berth Tuesday night, as per The Associated Press (via ESPN.com):

"The main thing is to focus in and know what this team is capable of," Wall said. "I just give a lot of credit to my teammates and the coaching staff and the great game plan and making adjustments and committing ourselves to play on every given night."

Don’t sleep on Washington making a lot of noise in a lackluster Eastern Conference. This hungry, motivated team could give Miami all it can handle in a likely conference finals matchup and is well worth a bet at 20-1 odds to claim a championship in 2014.

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