The NBA All-Star break is over, which means that it is time for teams to ramp up during the race for the playoffs. Some teams will have it a tad easier than others due to less difficult schedules. Which teams have the easiest remaining NBA schedules and will have an easier route to the playoffs?
Easiest Remaining NBA Schedules in the West
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder will have an opportunity to squeeze into the play-in tournament if they can capitalize on one of the easier remaining schedules. 17 of their remaining games are against a weaker Eastern Conference. Ten of which will be against teams that are outside of the top four.
They have one of the easier schedules remaining due in part to the fact that they do not have to face off the team with the best record, because it is them. Utah plays 25 of their remaining games within conference, something to monitor as the season progresses.
In regards to strength of schedule, the Mavs have one of the easiest second half schedules. The biggest note regarding Dallas’ schedule is the last 11 games. The Mavericks should have a late push considering 10 of their last 11 games are against teams currently at or below .500.
Denver has the most home games remaining in the Western Conference. 20 of their remaining games are in the high altitude out in Denver. In fact, there is a stretch where the Nuggets play 12 of 16 at home. Should be smooth sailing for Denver.
Easiest Remaining NBA Schedules in the East
As if it could get any better for the Nets, the remaining schedule for them is one of the easiest in the NBA. Not only do they have any stretches of five games in a week. But their schedule is the easiest regarding to opponent winning percentage.
It may be tough to tank for Detroit. The Pistons close out their season with a home-heavy schedule against some of the weaker defenses. They should be able to benefit from playing the fewest games against the NBA’s 10 best defenses.
Bradley Beal might be back in the playoffs this season. He will at least have a chance to get in to the play-in tournament. Washington has the most games remaining against teams with losing records. Expect Beal and co. to benefit and make a push to the playoffs.
The Heat have one of the easiest schedules for playoff teams in the East. Miami will capitalize on the fact that their remaining games are some of the easiest in regards to opponent winning percentage.
Boston’s schedule will start tough to open the second half. But after the first stretch, the Celtics will get to finish their season playing five straight games against teams that are in the bottom ten in offensive efficiency.
Remaining Schedules Can Dictate Playoff Hopes
For teams like the Wizards, Mavericks, and Thunder, having one of the easiest remaining NBA schedules will only help their chances in getting into the playoffs without a play-in tournament.
Obviously, each game is not played on paper, so having an easy schedule will not create a forgone conclusion that these teams will win the games they are supposed to, but weaker schedules can give a team on the outside looking in confidence that they will be able to get into the playoffs.
STAY SAFE FOLKS
Follow us on Twitter @OT_Heroics for more great content!
Come discuss this and everything to do with sports at the Overtime Heroics forums!
Follow me on Twitter @craines38
Check out Nothin’ But Airtime for Sports Talk!
Main Image Credit: