With the NBA All-Star break set to come to an end on Thursday, all eyes are on the stretch run to the postseason. This isn’t a huge deal for the teams at the very ends of the spectrum — squads like Golden State and Phoenix know their playoff prospects at this point — but for the ones in the middle, the next however many games mean it’s time to prepare for a postseason push.
Currently, there are six teams in the Eastern Conference and seven teams in the Western Conference within three games of the 8-seed in either direction. Whether it’s a team that’s 2.5 games up like the Brooklyn Nets in the East, or a team that’s three games down like the Los Angeles Lakers in the West, every game really does count for those 13 squads down the stretch.
We decided to take a look at those franchises and answer a simple question: Are they going to end up making the playoffs this season? This will, in all likelihood, end up being completely wrong, but for some of these teams, their predictions seem rather easy.