With under 30 regular season games left on every team's plate, the finish line is visible at the horizon. The NBA Playoffs tip-off on April 18th and teams will be itching to give it their all in these final few games to fabricate a solid foundation for a deep postseason run.
While the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers have separated themselves from the pack, the rest of the promising squads are playing for a better playoff seeding and eventually, home-court advantage. A closer look at the crammed standings in each conference gives us a feeling that a bunch of teams won't enter the postseason with their current rankings.
With the All-Star break done and dusted, it is time to get back to business as usual. Franchises will set their sights on the matchups remaining in the 2019-20 regular season and hustle with their opponents to collect as many wins as they can.
Let's skim through those five squads on whom we should definitely keep an eye during this final stretch of 20 odd games.
#1 New Orleans Pelicans
Ever since Zion Williamson's debut on January 22, the New Orleans Pelicans are 7-5 and showing an evident surge in intensity. The team held the second-worst record in the West for a long time, despite Brandon Ingram putting together All-Star numbers.
As of now, the Pels are sitting at the 10th spot on the West standings with a much improved 25-32 (0.439) win-loss record. Having won seven of their last ten matchups, NOLA has kicked into top gear at just the right time.
They are just 3.5 games behind the eighth seed Memphis Grizzlies and hoping to make a legit playoff push down the stretch. They're playing every game with a new-found drive and have the third easiest remaining schedule for this last stretch. It would be interesting to see how and if this young core edges past the Portland Trail Blazers and Memphis Grizzlies to bag a playoff spot at the eleventh hour.