We have a tie for basket case of the week. So congratulations to the Orlando Magic (dropping from 5th to 18th) and the New York Knicks (now ranked lower than the Nets).
So guess which happens first:
_ Mike D’Antoni gets fired.
_ Dwight Howard gets traded.
_ Billy King acquires Chris Kaman.
Please, wager amongst yourselves. ‘A’ is the frontrunner, but don’t rule out ‘C.’ As for ‘B,’ I’m not so certain anymore that the Magic wait until the trade deadline.
In the West, I’ve dropped the Lakers from 12th to 17th. As enjoyable as that victory of theirs over the Clippers was to watch, it was fool’s gold. They are a dreadful offensive team.
Big risers this week include the Hawks, Blazers, Celtics and Nets. And there’s a trade idea involving Boston and Indiana that is worth debating. It is only an idea, but it could help both teams in big ways.
We also have a new No. 1 and a new No. 30. So congratulations to the Thunder and the Bobcats.
|LAST WEEK: 4-0 THIS WEEK: 4 games KEY GAME: MON at LAC|
Flip Saunders in his next job interview. “Well, my last victory was over the Thunder, and … ” Play three tough ones on the road this week, including their first meeting with the Clips. On Wednesday, they play at Dallas and give Dirk Nowitzki a chance to eat his words: “I haven’t seen one team in the West that I’m scared of.”
|LAST WEEK: 2-1 THIS WEEK: 5 games KEY GAME: SUN at MIA|
The problem with doing rankings on Sunday mornings is that many readers will have seen this by the time the Bulls played the Heat on Sunday afternoon. Vegas says they are 4 1/2-point dogs. I say they’ve been the better, more consistent team throughout the first 5 weeks. Don’t play at home again until Valentine’s Day. How does anyone pack for a nine-game road trip?
|LAST WEEK: 3-1 THIS WEEK: 4 games KEY GAME: SUN vs CHI|
Lest anyone forget, they were 0-3 vs. the Bulls last year during the regular season, 4-1 when it counted. They’ve ironed out their halfcourt game, they have Dwyane Wade back, and they’re “the best team in the NBA,” Chris Bosh said without a hint of modesty. Will be interesting chess match between coaches Tom Thibodeau, who has the NBA’s No. 1 defense, and Erik Spoelstra, who has the No. 1 offense.
|LAST WEEK: 2-0 THIS WEEK: 5 games KEY GAME: FRI vs LAL|
Enter the week with a 6-game winning streak, the league’s longest, with the first five all coming on the road. Two vs. Clips this week, and the big Friday night home game on ESPN vs. Lakers in the middle of their second back-to-back-to-back set. Al Harrington shooting 3s better than Gallo, and FG pct ahead of Nene’s. Does 3-year extension for Kosta Koufos mean Birdman is trade bait?
|LAST WEEK: 3-1 THIS WEEK: 4 games KEY GAME: FRI vs. MIA|
I don’t care what they do all week except for Friday, when they play the Heat, who beat them by 21 two weeks ago. And if it comes down to the last shot, no one in the Wachovia Center will want Andre Iguodala to take it. Until they beat Miami and Iggy hits one in the clutch, they are a paper tiger. Of the four bare minimum (10-10-10) triple-doubles in NBA history, Iggy has two of ’em.
|LAST WEEK: 2-1 THIS WEEK: 4 games KEY GAME: SAT vs PHI|
I’ll bump their number of quality wins up to 4 by recategorizing 1/14 victory over Minnesota. Lost by 22 to Spurs and needed OT to beat Pistons last week, but 4-0 week is possibly ahead of them (no back-to-backs) if they beat Sixers on Friday night in what should be a letdown game for Philly a night after death match with Heat. Rumblings around the league that they are looking to shed payroll.
|LAST WEEK: 2-1 THIS WEEK: 5 games KEY GAME: SAT at WAS|
Light schedule no more: 5 this week, four of which are tough (2 vs. Den, Utah, OKC), and Wizards game is the start of a 6-game road trip. Watching hoops on TV all week, it occurred to me that Blake Griffin is the league leader in endorsements. Chauncey Billups begins week with homecoming game at Denver. Team FT pct is .662.
|LAST WEEK: 2-2 THIS WEEK: 5 games KEY GAME: TUE vs NJ|
Gotta beat the Nets to begin stretch of four games in five nights, the final three difficult (unless Dwight Howard has been traded by next Saturday). Loss to depleted Celtics was telling. Larry Bird, year-to-year on a handshake contract, might want to upgrade at point guard to get team to the next level. Pacers are 29th in assists, 2nd in rebounding.
|LAST WEEK: 3-1 THIS WEEK: 4 games KEY GAME: MON at UTA|
Five of next seven are at home, where they are 9-1 (tied with Chicago for 2nd-best behind Spurs). Marcus Camby did not score a point but grabbed 20 rebounds in 38-point win over Suns. It was the second 0/20 game of Camby’s career. There have been only 10 other 0/20 games in NBA history. Dennis Rodman had seven of them.
|LAST WEEK: 3-1 THIS WEEK: 4 games KEY GAME: WED at SA|
David Stern veto was the best thing that happened to them since Hakeem Olajuwon was drafted. Now, if they can get Chris Kaman for spare parts (not Scola), they will be two deep everywhere. Winners of 9 of 10 entering this week, let’s see how they fare vs. Spurs at NBA’s toughest venue. Already have played Spurs 3X (2-1).
|LAST WEEK: 2-1 THIS WEEK: 5 games KEY GAME: SAT vs OKC|
Temptation here is to drop them a little lower coming off loss to Wolves, but history has taught us they tend to catch fire in the second month of the season, and they’re 10-1 at home. Annual rodeo trip (nine games) is just over a week away. Can they outbid Rockets for Kaman?
|LAST WEEK: 2-1 THIS WEEK: 5 games KEY GAME: SUN vs SA|
Dirk Nowitzki acknowledged playing for Germany in EuroBasket was a mistake. Mark Cuban says David Stern will not allow an owners’ vote on banning NBA players from the Olympics. On this, I side with Stern. If Cuban ever spent any time around Team USA, he’d change his mind. For cultural awareness and character building, plus national pride, there is nothing like it. Jason Kidd could explain.
|LAST WEEK: 1-2 THIS WEEK: 4 games KEY GAME: SAT vs LAL|
Why do I get the feeling Ty Corbin trusts Earl Watson more than Devin Harris? Last 3 things I did Saturday night: Watched Harris miss clutch free throw, watched Jimmer Fredette airball potential tying 3-pointer, followed someone on Twitter.
|LAST WEEK: 2-1 THIS WEEK: 5 games KEY GAME: SUN vs. LAL|
I got your respect right here, Kevin Love. But a warning: Y’all could finish with a better record than the Pacific Division winner and still miss the playoffs. Convincing wins over Dallas and San Antonio merit the high ranking. Now let’s see if they can beat the Rockets twice in a week.
|LAST WEEK: 1-3 THIS WEEK: 4 games KEY GAME: TUE at DEN|
Massive comeback at Golden State must have drained them, as they lost next three. A pair of very tough back-to-backs upcoming. And a question to ponder: Who is the better Gasol? Even Mike Conley acknowledged after missing potential game-winning 3 at Phoenix that Grizz need to feed Marc the ball more in the paint.
|LAST WEEK: 4-0 THIS WEEK: 4 games KEY GAME: FRI vs NY|
Here they come: Pierce 34-19-24-28 in undefeated week. Another one ahead with Cavs-Cavs-Raptors-Knicks? Question for Celtics Nation: Would you do Rondo and JO’Neal for Collison and Hibbert? ESPN trade machine calls it a wash. Would save $12M in luxury tax.
|LAST WEEK: 1-2 THIS WEEK: 4 games KEY GAME: TUE vs CHA|
Only one guaranteed win in what will be a tough week (three games on road, where they are 1-7). So they beat the Clippers? Big deal. Lost next one to Bucks w/o Bogut and Stephen Jackson, making it 13 straight sub-100 point games. Gilbert Arenas could be exactly what they need.
|LAST WEEK: 1-3 THIS WEEK: 4 games KEY GAME: SAT at IND|
“Rock bottom” was what Stan Van Gundy called the 26-point loss at New Orleans — and this in a week in which they scored 56 in a 31-point loss to Celtics. Dwight Howard still hasn’t answered my tweets re Clippers as a fallback option. (He told me to tweet him, but he has my number. He can call).
|LAST WEEK: 3-2 THIS WEEK: 4 games KEY GAME: WED vs. MIA|
Take that, Matt Winick. Emerged from hell week 3-2. Ersan Ilyasova entering Sixth Man race (if Lou Williams hasn’t won it already). Shaun Livingston contributing more and more each game as a starter. Let’s see if Scott Skiles can knock off LeBron twice in 10 days.
|LAST WEEK: 3-1 THIS WEEK: 5 games KEY GAME: SAT at NY|
See what one good week can do for you in the weak East? Just 1 1/2 games out of a playoff position. Jersey tweeps liked my proposed Kaman band-aid deal. 3-2 week possible if they beat Knicks at Garden.
|LAST WEEK: 1-2THIS WEEK: 4 games KEY GAME: TUE vs. BOS|
I smell an 11-game losing streak. ROY race: Kyrie Irving: 16.6 ppg, .504 FG pct. 4.8 ast; Rubio: 11.4 ppg, .387 FG pct, 8.8 ast.
|LAST WEEK: 1-3 THIS WEEK: 4 games KEY GAME: WED at NO|
Only win came despite shooting 36 pct Sat. night vs. Grizzlies. Continually come through with bounce-back wins when things look most bleak. Gortat double-figure rebounds in 11 straight. Should have a 2-2 week.
|LAST WEEK: 1-3 THIS WEEK: 4 games KEY GAME: TUE vs. DET|
Donnie Walsh wanted to give up W.Chandler, E.Curry, A.Randolph and a No. 1 for ‘Melo. Would have thrown in L.Fields. Then Jim Dolan stepped in, and ‘Melo conspired with Masai by using Nets as false leverage. League source tells me Stoudemire is being shopped. 1-9 in last 10.
|LAST WEEK: 1-2 THIS WEEK: 3 games KEY GAME: THU vs UTA|
Quality win vs. Portland last week, but outmanned in such a deep conference — especially when you give up 100 points a night. Key game vs. Jazz, because a 3-0 week is possible if they win that one. Other two vs. Sacto.
|LAST WEEK: 2-2 THIS WEEK: 4 games KEY GAME: TUE vs ATL|
I underestimated them. Shame on me. Ain’t easy winning in Utah on second night of a road back-to-back. No beat writer blogs better than Smitty.
|LAST WEEK: 0-3 THIS WEEK: 3 games KEY GAME: SAT vs GS|
An airball on the biggest shot of the game, Jimmer? In Utah, no less? You out-uglied Tyreke Evans, who showed the passing skills of the late Yinka Dare. Kings had won their last 6 decided by 3 points or less.
|LAST WEEK: 1-2 THIS WEEK: 3 games KEY GAME: MON vs SA|
Two victories in last 17 games — by 13 over Nuggets and 26 over Magic. Go figure. To those who say I overvalue Kaman, I retort that decent centers are next to impossible to acquire.
|LAST WEEK: 2-2 THIS WEEK: 4 games KEY GAME: SAT vs LAC|
Beat Charlotte twice last week. Big deal. Wondering whether President Obama will take in the Clippers game next weekend.
|LAST WEEK: 0-4 THIS WEEK: 5 games KEY GAME: WED at ATL|
Schedule was brutal for past 8 games, but catch somewhat of a break with last two-thirds of back-to-back-to-back at Knicks and at Nets.
|LAST WEEK: 0-5 THIS WEEK: 3 games KEY GAME: TUE at LAL|
If they beat the Lakers at Staples, rioting will ensue. Nice triple-double by Kemba Walker, who is distant third in ROY race.