Top 10: Important Games Before the Playoffs

There are just about three weeks left in the NBA season and though teams heading for the playoffs may choose to rest their star/key players in preparation for the playoffs there are still quite a few important games left on the NBA schedule. While those non-playoff teams are now looking forward to the draft and others may be trying to play spoiler, the teams that are hoping to be playing for a championship may have their work cut out for them if they don't bring it in these meaningful games. So in today's Top 10 we will be looking at the most important games left for these teams with championship aspirations.

#10: Boston vs San Antonio, March 31st (Boston leads 1-0)
The Celtics haven't been playing their best ball as of late going 5-5 in their last 10 games, but this games against a Spurs team that is stricken with injury right now, will be a good chance for them to take down a good team and gain some ground on the Bulls.

#9: Chicago vs Orlando, April 10th (Chicago leads 2-1)
The Bulls have been perhaps the hottest team as of late in the league and have thus shown that they are legitimate title contenders, with both Boston and Miami less that three games behind, they are looking to solidify that lead and clinch that 1st seed. The Magic on the other hand are currently in the 4th seed and though they'll most likely finish with that seed, they will have to beat the Bulls in the playoffs if they want to advance to the Finals, and this game will give them a chance to beat an elite team and gain some momentum heading into the playoffs.

#8: Orlando vs Philadelphia, April 11th (Orlando leads 2-1)
The Sixers have been on of the surprises this season and have risen in the standings due to their stellar play over the last few weeks and with the Knicks struggles have slid into the 6th seed. They are only 4 games back of the 5th place Hawks and having a good record over their final 8 games, they could possible acquire that 5th seed of the Hawks don't play too well.

#7: Memphis vs Portland, April 12th (Series tied 1-1)
Both of these teams have seen their star players get injured, but yet they have both somehow found themselves in the playoffs and most likely holding onto those seeds and making the playoffs. While Brandon Roy has been back for a while now, Rudy Gay is done for the season, with a shoulder injury, but the Grizzles have been playing just as well without him. With the 6-8 seed only separated by 2 games, the winner of this game can gain some ground and even move up or end up dropping a seed.

#6: New York vs Philadelphia, April 6th (Philly leads 2-1)
After holding on to the 6th seed for quite some time the Knicks have struggled as of late and the Sixers have taken advantage of that and have moved into that seed and now have a 2 games lead over the Knicks. This game will prove to be crucial for both teams because NY could tie the season series with a win and if they finish the season tied with the Sixers, they could end up with that 6th seed if they had a better win percentage than the Sixers against teams in their division.

#5: New Orleans vs Memphis, April 1st and 10th (NOH leads 2-0)
The Hornets currently hold the 7th seed and are only 1 game ahead of the Grizzles who are at the 8th seed. So if theses games aren't important, then I don't know what is. The Hornets will be without David West though, so they'll need thier bigs to step up big time when going up against the likes of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.

#4: OKC vs Denver. April 5th and 8th (Series tied 1-1)
Since the end of the 'Melo'-drama, the Nuggets have been on a roll, and have been playing better than many, including myself, expected. Denver sits in the 5th seed, 5 games behind OKC, for the 4th seed. Though it may seen like OKC may hold on to that seed, if they lose a couple games, especially these two to the Nuggets, we could see the Nuggets finish with that 4th seed.

#3: Boston vs Chicago, April 7th (Boston leads 2-1)
Plain and simple if Boston wins this game they move closer to that #1 seed currently held by the Bulls and if Chicago wins they further themselves from the Celtics as well and tie the season series.

#2: Miami vs Boston, April 10th (Boston leads 3-0)
The Heat have yet to beat the Celtics this season and with both teams currently battling for that 2nd seed in the East and currently separated by only half a game, this game could be huge for them. It'll also be crucial for them to at least prove to the world that they can beat the Celtics at least once this season and gain a bit of momentum heading into the playoffs where they'll most likely have to play them again.

#1: San Antonio vs LAL, April 12th (SAS leads 2-1)
Currently 3.5 games ahead of the Lakers in the 1st seed the Spurs are looking to hold on and end the season with the best record in the league. The Lakers though have been on a tear since the All-Star break, having lost only 1 game to the Heat, and have their eyes set on that 1st seed. Though this game is on the second last day of the season, if the seedings haven't been decided yet this game can play a huge part in determining that. The Spurs have also been hit by the injury bug lately, but their bench players can hold their own against the best teams.

As the end of the season swiftly approaches and the playoffs edge closer, teams will be looking to solidify their seeds and finish the season on a high note. Though the playoffs has a different intensity that the regular season, there will be several teams who haven't made the playoffs in years or have been swept in past years who will be looking to shake things up and make a statement to the rest of the league. But to do that they'll have to finish the season strongly, but nevertheless, it's sure to be an entertaining next few weeks.

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