Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The NBA Playoff Picture

In the NBA, all 8 playoff spots have been locked up, and now we just have a few more battles over seeding remaining in the season's final days. Below is the current standings and my projections as well as my award picks for the year.

Eastern Conference

1. Indiana Pacers 
Current record: 55-26
Prediction: 55-27
With their last game of the season being Wednesday at home against the 23-57 Magic, the Pacers have no reason to play their starters against Orlando seeing as how they've already clinched the #1 seed in the East. Which is relieving for Pacers fans since their starters desperately need rest. 
2. Miami Heat
Current record: 54-27
Prediction: 55-27
Although the Heat have nothing left to play for in the regular-season, they should be able to grind out an ugly win against the 18-63 76ers in their season-closer. Right now, getting the Big 3 healthy for the playoffs is a bigger concern though.
3. Toronto Raptors
Current record: 48-33
Prediction: 49-33
With Wednesday night's showdown in New York against the nothing-left-to-play-for Knicks looming, the Raptors have as good a chance of securing the #3 seed [and thus avoiding Brooklyn in round one] as they do of losing it. They own the tiebreaker over the Bulls, with whom they are tied in the win-loss column, and a win against New York would give them the #3 seed.
4. Chicago Bulls 
Current record: 48-33
Prediction: 49-33
The Bulls should win their last game of the season Wednesday night against the Bobcats [who are settled in as the East's #7 seed], but even then it is unlikely that they will get the #3 seed. I don't see Toronto pulling off a huge blunder and settling for a first-round matchup with the dark-horse Nets.
5. Brooklyn Nets 
Current record: 44-36
Prediction: 45-37
Although technically they haven't yet mathematically clinched the East's #5 seed, they will likely win one of their two final games against mediocre New York and Cleveland. But here's an interesting question: Would you rather have the #6 seed? If they got it they would have an easier first-round matchup against Toronto and [if they won the series] would [almost definitely] face rival Miami in the second-round. The same Miami that are looking for a three-peat and the same Miami that Brooklyn swept 4-0 in the season-series.
6. Washington Wizards 
Current record: 43-38
Prediction: 44-38
The Wizards have what should be an easy-win in their last game of the season Wednesday night against the 25-56 Celtics in Boston. Why is getting the #6 seed so important? Because with it Washington can avoid facing the Heat in the first-round, and rather face a more-winnable Toronto.
7. Charlotte Bobcats 
Current record: 42-39
Prediction: 42-40
The Bobcats were in position to snag the #6 seed a few weeks ago, but a hot-streak by Washington has put them back down to #7 in the East. Even if the Wizards lose, it'll be tough to win against a Chicago team that still has quite a lot to play for. Although they'll likely be defeated handily by Miami in Round One of the playoffs, it has been a breakthrough year for a team not expected to make the playoffs anyway.
8. Atlanta Hawks 
Current record: 37-44
Prediction: 37-45
The Hawks lost one of their best players [Josh Smith] in free agency, but added a player that has proven to be just as good if not better than Smith in first-time All-Star Paul Millsap, and the Hawks were headed for the #4 seed in the East. Then their two best players [Millsap and Center Al Horford] went down to injury and they struggled greatly. Now they've limped to the finish-line and just barely made it to the playoffs. They might have been better suited purposely missing the playoffs and settling for a lottery-pick, because the odds of them beating Indiana in Round One are…not exactly great.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals 

Indiana Pacers [55-27] over Atlanta Hawks [37-45] 

Game 1: Pacers 
Game 2: Pacers 
Game 3: Hawks 
Game 4: Pacers 
Game 5: Pacers 

Miami Heat [55-27] over Charlotte Bobcats [42-40]

Game 1: Heat 
Game 2: Bobcats
Game 3: Heat 
Game 4: Heat
Game 5: Heat 

Washington Wizards [44-38] over Toronto Raptors [49-33] 

Game 1: Raptors
Game 2: Wizards 
Game 3: Wizards 
Game 4: Raptors
Game 5: Raptors 
Game 6: Wizards 
Game 7: Wizards 

Chicago Bulls [49-33] over Brooklyn Nets [45-37] 

Game 1: Bulls 
Game 2: Nets 
Game 3: Bulls 
Game 4: Bulls 
Game 5: Nets 
Game 6: Bulls 

Eastern Conference Semifinals 

Indiana Pacers [55-27] over Chicago Bulls [49-33] 

Game 1: Bulls 
Game 2: Pacers 
Game 3: Bulls 
Game 4: Pacers 
Game 5: Pacers 
Game 6: Pacers 

Miami Heat [55-27] over Washington Wizards [44-38] 

Game 1: Heat 
Game 2: Heat 
Game 3: Heat 
Game 4: Wizards 
Game 5: Heat 

Eastern Conference Finals 

Indiana Pacers [55-27] Miami Heat [55-27]

Game 1: Pacers 
Game 2: Heat 
Game 3: Pacers 
Game 4: Heat 
Game 5: Pacers
Game 6: Heat 
Game 7: Pacers 

Western Conference 

1. San Antonio Spurs 
Current record: 62-19
Prediction: 62-20 
The Spurs are the only team in the league to win 60 games this year, and they will have home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. If they make it to the Finals, that is. 
2. Oklahoma City Thunder 
Current record: 58-23
Prediction: 59-23 
It would take the Thunder losing their final game [an easy win against Detroit], and the Clippers winning their final two games for OKC to somehow slip out of the #2 spot in the West. In other words, they're locked-in as the #2 seed. 
3. Los Angeles Clippers 
Current record: 56-24
Prediction: 57-25
As I stated above, it would take some unforeseen calamity for the Thunder to slip down to the West's #3 seed. With games on consecutive nights coming up, the Clippers will go 1-1 in their final two games. 
4. Houston Rockets 
Current record: 54-27 
Prediction: 54-28
The Rockets are locked-in as the #4 seed, and that should be the deciding factor in their Round One series against the Trailblazers. However, home-court won't matter at all if they can't get starting Point Guard Patrick Beverly [torn meniscus] healthy for the playoffs. 
5. Portland Trailblazers 
Current record: 53-28
Prediction: 54-28 
The Blazers' last game of the season, against the Clippers, will most-likely be a game in which neither team has anything to play for. And it'll be on national television. But the Clippers will be on the second-night of a back-to-back so I see Portland winning it in a somebody-has-to-win contest. 
6. Golden State Warriors 
Current record: 50-31 
Prediction: 50-32
Locking up the #6 seed was huge for this team, but their chances of upsetting the Clippers took a devastating blow when starting Center [and defensive-anchor] Andrew Bogut went down with a broken rib that will likely sideline him for the entire playoffs. 
7. Memphis Grizzlies 
Current record: 49-32 
Prediction: 50-32 
8. Dallas Mavericks 
Current record: 49-32
Prediction: 49-33
These teams have fought hard through the entire season and they managed to knock a deserving Phoenix Suns team out of playoff-contention. They will play each other Wednesday night in Memphis in a game that will decide the #7 seed in the West. In my book, the game being played in Memphis gives the Grizzlies an advantage. 

Western Conference Quarterfinals 

San Antonio Spurs [62-20] over Dallas Mavericks [50-32] 

Game 1: Spurs 
Game 2: Mavericks 
Game 3: Spurs 
Game 4: Spurs 
Game 5: Mavericks 
Game 6: Spurs 

Oklahoma City Thunder [59-23] over Memphis Grizzlies [50-32] 

Game 1: Thunder 
Game 2: Thunder 
Game 3: Grizzlies 
Game 4: Grizzlies 
Game 5: Grizzlies 
Game 6: Thunder 
Game 7: Thunder 

Los Angeles Clippers [57-25] over Golden State Warriors [50-32]

Game 1: Clippers 
Game 2: Clippers
Game 3: Warriors 
Game 4: Clippers 
Game 5: Warriors 
Game 6: Clippers 

Houston Rockets [54-28] over Portland Trailblazers [54-28] 

Game 1: Rockets 
Game 2: Trailblazers 
Game 3: Rockets 
Game 4: Trailblazers 
Game 5: Rockets 
Game 6: Rockets 

Western Conference Semifinals 

San Antonio Spurs [62-20] over Houston Rockets [54-28]

Game 1: Rockets 
Game 2: Spurs 
Game 3: Spurs 
Game 4: Spurs 
Game 5: Rockets 
Game 6: Spurs 

Oklahoma City Thunder [59-23] Los Angeles Clippers [57-25] 

Game 1: Clippers 
Game 2: Thunder 
Game 3: Clippers 
Game 4: Thunder 
Game 5: Clippers 
Game 6: Clippers 

Western Conference Finals 

San Antonio Spurs [62-20] over Los Angeles Clippers [57-25]

Game 1: Spurs 
Game 2: Spurs 
Game 3: Clippers 
Game 4: Clippers 
Game 5: Spurs 
Game 6: Spurs 

NBA Finals 

Indiana Pacers [55-27] over San Antonio Spurs [62-20] 

Game 1: Pacers 
Game 2: Spurs 
Game 3: Pacers 
Game 4: Pacers 
Game 5: Spurs 
Game 6: Pacers 
Finals MVP: IND SF Paul George 

Award Picks 

Most Valuable Player [Top 5]: 
1. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder 
2. Lebron James, Miami Heat 
3. Paul George, Indiana Pacers 
4. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors 
5. Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves 

Defensive Player of the Year [Top 5]: 
1. Paul George, Indiana Pacers 
2. Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers 
3. Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls 
4. Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets 
5. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs 

Most Improved Player [Top 5:] 
1. Lance Stephenson, Indiana Pacers 
2. Goran Dragic, Phoenix Suns 
3. Markieff Morris, Phoenix Suns 
4. Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix Suns 
5. Isaiah Thomas, Sacramento Kings

Coach of the Year [Top 5:]
1. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs 
2. Tom Thibodeau, Chicago Bulls 
3. Frank Vogel, Indiana Pacers 
4. Terry Stotts, Portland Trailblazers 
5. Rick Carlisle, Dallas Mavericks 

Rookie of the Year [Top 5:] 
1. Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic 
2. Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia 76ers 
3. Trey Burke, Utah Jazz 
4. Tim Hardaway Jr., New York Knicks 
5. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

6th Man of the Year [Top 5:]
1. Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers 
2. Nick "Swaggy P" Young, Los Angeles Lakers 
3. Taj Gibson, Chicago Bulls
4. Manu Ginobli, San Antonio Spurs
5. Jeremy Lin, Houston Rockets 

Least Valuable Player Compared To Their Contract [Top 5:] 
1. Gilbert Arenas, Free Agent 
Salary: $20,300,000
2. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers 
Salary: $30,453,805
3. Amare Stoudemire, New York Knicks 
Salary: $21,679,893
4. Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets 
Salary: $18,166,430 
5. Kevin Garnett 
Salary: $12,433,735 



    Are infants proper candidates for baptism? Do babies meet the requirements to be baptized? The short answer is no.

    Acts 8:26-40 ....36 As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, "Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized? 37 [And Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."]

    Unlike the Ethiopian eunuch; babies cannot believe with all their heart. Infants cannot make the confession, that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God. Babies do meet the requirements for water baptism.


    Acts 2:22-37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?"

    There were no infants baptized on the Day of Pentecost. Why not?

    1. They could not believe in Jesus the Nazarene.
    2. Infants could not believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
    3. Babies could not realize that God made Jesus both Lord and Christ.
    4. Infants could not be pierced to the heart, nor could they ask, " Brethren, what shall we do?"

    Acts 2:38 Peter said to them,"Repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    Infants do not need to repent; because they have no sin to repent from. Repentance means to turn from sin and turn toward God. Infants are not candidates for water baptism.

    Acts 2:41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.

    There were no infants added to the church that day. Why not? Because babies could not receive Peter's word. Infants are not capable of understanding the gospel. Infants are not qualified to be baptized in water.


    Acts 16:31-34 They said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.....33.....and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household. 34 ....having believed in God with his whole household.

    The jailer and his whole household believed before they were baptized. There were no babies baptized. Infants are not capable of believing. Infants are not qualified to be baptized.




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