Miami at Cleveland
Rob: Even though these two are both in the East, this game highlights to me the yawning gulf between East and West. Here we have a 7th seed that is one game away from being equal with the already eliminated Utah Jazz. In fact, the 6th seed Bucks would be 11th in the West. And while the Cavs have turned into an exciting beast, 27 losses at 0.640 would put them in the 7th sees in the West. That is brutal. No doubt the Cavs should win this, but it is just not on the level of the Western Conference match ups.
Houston at Dallas
Rob: An interstate slug fest. Dallas got the better of a fighting OKC team and piled on the points as a group, while the Rockets escaped embarrassment at the hands of the Kings (just). The Rockets will want to go into Dallas and make a statement, will the old legs on the Mavs hold up. Got to go with the spreadsheet here.
Phoenix at Golden State
Rob: Trade deadline meltdown aside, I really feel for Phoenix. They are constantly taking average to good players and turning them into very good players. The fact that they have fought their way to .507 amid a mini rebuild is amazing and they deserve to be in the 6th or 7th seed in the East. Unfortunately they are in the West and unfortunately times 2 they have the 61 – 13 Warriors on a 10 – 0 run. Ouch. And as NBA’s John Shuhmann points out, they are great players on a well coached team….