BOSTON -- The NBA playoffs begin in two days and as far as Celtics head coach Doc Rivers sees it, there is not a clear-cut favorite to take it all.
I think the playoffs are wide open, he said prior to the Celtics regular season finale against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday. Obviously there are favorites out there and they earned that right, but I dont even know what youd call everybody else -- unfavorites? I think all of them have confidence, too. Everybody.
The Chicago Bulls (49-16) and Miami Heat (46-19) have dominated the Eastern Conference all season, and then it gets closer in the standings after that.
The Indiana Pacers (42-24) hold the third seed, followed by the Celtics (38-27) at fourth. The Cs first round opponent, the Hawks, are right behind them at 39-26. After that, only two games separate the Orlando Magic (37-28), New York Knicks (35-30), and Philadelphia 76ers (35-30).
In the Western Conference, seeds one and two (San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder) are separated by 2.5 games; seeds three through five (Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Clippers) are separated by three games; and the final three spots (Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz) are just two games apart.
I think every single team thinks they have a shot this year, said Rivers. I think if it had been 82 games, I just think this is one of those years that the favorites are the favorites, they deserve to be the favorites, but the underdogs, theyre confident. And I think were in that group.
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