NBA Playoff Picture: The League's Current Postseason Outlook

Eli ChesnerCorrespondent IJanuary 12, 2011

PHOENIX - JANUARY 07:  Amar'e Stoudemire #1 of the New York Knicks pumps his fist after Landry Fields #6 hit a three point shot against the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at US Airways Center on January 7, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Knicks defeated the Suns 121-96.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

As we come down to the mid-way point of the NBA season, everyone starts to look at the playoff picture—to see where their favorite team, and others, stand. 

So here is a look at the current playoff picture as of January 12, 2011.

(Note: this could change every day)


Eastern Conference:(current standings)

1. Heat 30-9

2. Celtics 28-9

3. Bulls 25-12

4. Magic 25-12

5. Hawks 25-14

6. Knicks 22-15

7. Pacers 15-20

8. Bucks 14-21 (They have the same record as #9 Bobcats, but own the tiebreaker)


#1 Heat vs. #8 Bucks

The Bucks have played well against the Heat so far this season, even though they lost all three meetings. The Bucks have been a disappointment so far this season, as they were expected to win the division.

The Heat struggled early but have found their rhythm. Lebron and Wade are playing like MVP's right now. But the only problem is outside the Big Three, they have been awful.

What would happen: Heat would either sweep or win 4-1.


#2 Celtics vs. #7 Pacers

Boston has had a fantastic season so far. They have gotten a lot older, but point guard Rajon Rondo is helping them get younger. Rondo has had a record breaking season.

The Pacers have been a huge surprise. Even with Danny Granger struggling, Indiana is coming up in the East.

What would happen: Celtics would win the series 4-2.


#3 Bulls vs #6 Knicks

What a matchup this would be. Wouldn't you love to see this rivalry get even bigger again? I would. The Bulls have been a fantastic team this year, large part to MVP candidate Derrick Rose.

The Knicks have been the biggest surprise all year thanks to MVP candidate Amare Stoudemire and underrated Raymond Felton. This would be a high scoring series.

What Would happen: The Knicks would upset the Bulls 4-3.


#4 Magic vs. #5 Hawks

The Magic have reloaded the team this year bringing in Jason Richardson, Hedo Turgulu, and Gilbert Arenas. So far, it has worked. Orlando had won nine straight, tied for the longest in the league with Miami.

The Hawks have been missing Joe Johnson for most of the season, but remain in fifth place—only two games ahead of the Knicks.

What would happen: Remember last year? Orlando 4-0


Western Conference:(current standings)

1. Spurs 32-6

2. Mavericks 26-10

3. Lakers 28-11

4. Thunder 25-13

5. Jazz 25-13

6. Hornets 22-16

7. Nuggets 21-16 (most likely to change)

8. Trail Blazers 20-19


#1 Spurs vs. #8 Blazers

In their only meeting this season, the Spurs dominated. The Spurs have been a huge surprise, thanks to the resurgence of Manu Ginobli during an MVP season.

The Blazers have been a huge disappointment. With the loss of Brandon Roy, Portland is only 1 game above .500. 

What Would happen: Spurs would win 4-1.


#2 Mavericks vs. #7 Nuggets

Trust me, the Nuggets won't be in the playoff picture for long. Trade rumors about Carmelo going to the Nets or Knicks may possibly happen by the trade deadline.

The Mavs, even though Dirk Nowitzki is injured, have been a fantastic team this season. The State of Texas is doing good in basketball (besides Houston).

What would happen: This will not happen, but if it did, Mavs roll 4-0


#3 Lakers vs. #6 Hornets

The Lakers struggled out of the gate, but have regained their championship play.

The Hornets have been the complete opposite. They were the last undefeated team left in the NBA, but have fallen apart since the Mavericks gave them their first loss.

What Would happen: Lakers would dominate 4-0.


#4 Thunder vs. #5 Jazz


This would be a fantastic match up. Two of the best point guards in the league would face off with Russell Westbrook and Deron Williams. And Kevin Durant could possibly win MVP before the series starts.

This would be the best 1st round matchup in the NBA playoffs.

What would happen: the Jazz will win 4-3.


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