The NBA is having its own March Madness


Erik Drost

Erik Drost | Wikimedia Commons

Aman Dharani

It’s about that time of the year where every game for all teams in the playoff hunt have become must wins. Teams in the hunt have also had to do some scoreboard watching. This week, the NBA reminded us all why we love the game. Ever since the All-Star Break, the NBA has gotten more competitive.

As of right now, the West playoff picture looks just as insane as it did in October. The fifth seeded Los Angeles Clippers and 13th seeded Portland Trail Blazers are separated by a mere five games.

The Clippers are the most recent team to go through the Russell Westbrook rollercoaster, with his minutes being cut in the fourth quarter of games. However, when Kawhi Leonard is averaging 28 points a game on 52% shooting, does anything else really matter? The Clippers have questions to answer, but it doesn’t look like they’re going to have time, since they might play the Suns in the first round.

Speaking of the Suns, the league got to see the dreaded KD-Devin Booker duo for three games. Now, we might have to wait until the first round to see them in action. Nonetheless, Booker and DeAndre Ayton are still paired with the best coach in the NBA, Monty Williams, who has done a great job in maintaining their playoff spot.

The Los Angeles Lakers, or the “New Look Lakers,” have been on a tear without LeBron James. Boasting a 7-3 record in their last 10 games. Having beat the Golden State Warriors twice, the Lakers have shot up the play-in standings. They now seem to control their own destiny for the postseason.

Their “bold” strategy of acquiring players that can shoot and defend seems to have worked out. However, in the wild West, nothing is guaranteed. They’re going to need to keep up their pace until LeBron is re-evaluated, which is reportedly happening in the next two weeks.

In the not-so-wild Eastern conference, the same status-quo has remained throughout the majority of the season. It still feels as if the Bucks and Celtics are on a collision course to the Eastern Conference Finals. Unstoppable force Jayson Tatum meets immovable object Brook Lopez.

The New York Knicks just had their nine-game winning streak broken at the hands of the Charlotte Hornets. A game Knicks fans all had penciled in as a win ended in an unfathomable manner. Nonetheless, the Knicks have been exceptional for quite some time.

The Philadelphia 76ers have been one of the best teams in the NBA. Joel Embiid scores an average of 35 points every game, which seems like a good recipe for success. Pair that with James Harden dishing out 10 assists every game, and the Sixers appear to be an elite team.

There’s no way to predict what’s going to happen over these next few weeks, and all that fans can do is buckle up. Play-in spots in both conferences are up for grabs and just about every major award has co-favorites. Put all that together, and it looks like fans are getting three iterations of March Madness this year.