More Than One Reason For Lack Of Drama In Playoff 'Races'

Besides the obvious lack of any real interest in the playoff push in the NBA this season for Cavs' fans, there is a general shortage of drama as the season winds down. Seven of the eight spots in the East are already decided, and although three spots are open in the West, it is more a matter of positioning, as the top eight are just about settled out west as well.

New York clinched a playoff spot last night with their win over the Cavaliers and Charlotte's loss to Washington. At present the Knicks hold down the seventh spot in the East (and would play the Miami Heat If The Season Ended Today, as the mantra used to be about playoff races), and all that is left in the Cavs' conference is to decide the final spot...otherwise known as the first-round lamb to the Bulls' slaughter.

Indiana resides in the final spot right now, and is three wins up on the Bobcats. The Pacers have four games left, while Charlotte has six, including tomorrow's game at the Q against the Cavs. The Milwaukee Bucks also have an outside shot -- at 31-45 and with six games left for the Bucks.

Imagine being fourteen games under .500 and still with a chance with less than two weeks left in the regular season.

Out west, there is a three-game gap between the present eighth and ninth spots. One might almost say that things are already decided and it is just a matter of positioning, although -- as Yogi Berra said -- it ain't over til it's over. After Houston...everyone else is already eliminated.

Imagine, now, that your team is the Houston Rockets. Houston is 41-36, a tidy five games over .500 -- and the Rockets are in the ninth spot and just about done for. Memphis and New Orleans are tied for the seven/eight with 44 wins, so the Rockets would have to just about win out and hope for a collapse from either the Hornets or the Grizzlies.

So there you would be, if you were a Rockets' fan, with your team already assured of no worse than a .500 record, observing the Indians Pacers, with a cool 35-43 record, sitting pretty for the last spot in the other conference.

There are those who advocate lumping every team into one mega-conference and just taking the top 16 to the playoffs. The inequity between the eight-seeds in the West and the East lend some credence to such an idea.

No playoffs for the Cavs this year, and not much drama left for the general NBA fan who likes to observe playoff possibilities. I guess those are good reasons to be a baseball fan, where you can talk about Your Team setting a record on consecutive days for lowest-attendance ever at a beautiful facility.

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