15. Philadelphia 76ers (15): After getting three games above the .500 mark, they have faltered a little bit, but they seem to have enough ground on New York to hold onto the sixth seed. They’ll likely get blown out in the first round of the postseason, however, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them steal a couple games away from one of the Conference’s top teams.
14. New Orleans Hornets (13): Losing David West to a torn ACL is a devastating blow for the Hornets, especially with the playoffs on the line. However, Carl Landry is more than a serviceable backup, he’s a legitimate starter, and if the Hornets can overcome even greater depth problems, they should be able to hold on to at least the eighth seed.
13. Houston Rockets (11): Two consecutive losses isn’t favorable for any team trying to make a final playoff push, but the Rockets are by no means out of the race just yet. Five of their final nine games will be played against non-playoff teams, and if they can finish out the season with only two or three more losses, that should be enough for the Rockets to sneak into the playoffs.
12. Atlanta Hawks (12): They have been struggling as of late, and with four of their final eight games set to be played against elite teams, things don’t appear to be getting any better for the Hawks as they look to wrap up the fifth seed in the East.
11. Memphis Grizzlies (14): Rudy Gay is out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury, but luckily the Grizzlies still had Shane Battier ready to fill in. It’s too bad, for the Grizzlies’ sake as a growing team, that Gay won’t get any playoff experience this season, because he’s going to be an instrumental piece in their growth over the next five seasons.