Heisler’s Wednesday Power Rankings

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Dog day afternoons, and nights, or ask the Miami Heat how abbreviated a 66-game feels now….

We must be past that part of this season in which half the veterans come in out of shape, or looking like they retired but forgot to announce it, giving the advantage to the young cohesive teams that defend, like the Bulls and Heat.

Well, the Bulls still do, anyway. As for Miami, take the Heat… please.

This Heat team has two advantages over last season’s: 1) No hysteria attending everything, and 2) no need to play, uh, what’s the right word, stiffs—no, that’s mean, uh, guys so far past their prime they can’t remember it?

Unfortunately, they’re too close to last season’s team for comfort, still starting Joel Anthony with Dexter Pittman not ready, Eddy Curry still Eddy Curry, leaving only 6-7 ½ Udonis Haslem to come off the bench and thump someone.

Then there’s Chris Bosh, in one of his rebounding funks, otherwise known as his Heat career, at 5.9 a game this month, or 0.1 more than Dwyane Wade.

Appropriately for a team built by Pat Riley, whose mantra was “No rebounds, no rings,” they were plus-3.3 a game before the All-Star break.

This month, they’re minus-2.7 on the boards, while going 8-6 in the games.

People always say the Bulls play Miami at a disadvantage, with one superstar facing two.

It’s true, as if Chicago’s advantage up front where the pint-sized Heaters face a veritable Pamplona stampede of Bulls (Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson and Omer Asik).

Happily for the Heat, this isn’t last season or news helicopters would be flying figure eights over Erik Spoelstra’s house.

This time Tim Legler bumped ESPN’s “Panic Meter” up to five, as in, yeah, right, yawn, check back in May and June when being red-hot or in a funk means something.

RANK TEAM THE RUNDOWN LAST
1 BULLS
(40-11)
LAST WEEK: 2-1  
Turning out to be dream season: At least, that’s the theory now with Bulls 12-5 without Rose, pulling away from Heat, removing any pressure to play their star until he’s 100%.
1
2 THUNDER
(38-12)
LAST WEEK: 4-0 
If young teams shrivel in playoffs, this one doesn’t need to run plays with KD, Westbrook, Harden who can get their own shots. Thunder is No. 3 in scoring at 103.6, No. 2 in shooting at 47.5%–and No. 28 in assists at 18.5.
2
3 SPURS
(34-14)
LAST WEEK: 5-0
Look which geriatrics all but locked up No. 2 in West: On 5-0 run, Spurs are four games up on the stumbling Lakers whom people were starting to call “the team to beat in the West.”
4
4 MAGIC
(32-18)
LAST WEEK: 3-0
One for Otis Smith: Ryan Anderson, acquired from Nets, becomes ideal floor-stretching power forward alongside Dwight, leads NBA with 143 threes—39 more than No. 2 Jason Terry. Unfortunately, they also got Vince in deal.
6
5 HEAT
(35-13)
LAST WEEK: 1-2 
They’re more anxious for Derrick Rose to play than Bulls fans. Otherwise, it’s embarrassing to drop off Chicago’s pace with him watching from the bench.
3
6 PACERS
(29-19)
LAST WEEK: 3-1 
Did someone say back-to-back losses to Knicks cost them their credibility? Oh yeah, me. Knicks aren’t that bad. Pacers just hammered Heat into ground like tent peg in 105-90 win.
8
7 LAKERS
(31-19)
LAST WEEK: 3-1 
Brown hasn’t gotten on Kobe’s last nerve but we’ll see how many are left the next time he takes him out of another fourth quarter as in Sunday’s home loss to Griz.
5
8 HAWKS
(30-21)
LAST WEEK: 4-1 
From old Joe Johnson to Joe Johnson of old: At 30, he was looking older at 18 a game, shooting 43% before All-Star break. Since, he’s at 24 and 49%.
12
9 MAVERICKS
(29-22)
LAST WEEK: 2-2
Lamar “confused” at boos after quadruple-single (one point, rebound, assist, steal) in loss to Lakers—but with his versatility at 6-10, with or without a clue, the smart play is hanging on to him for next season… as it was for Lakes.
7
10 CLIPPERS
(28-21)
LAST WEEK: 3-2 
Vinny should be OK rest of this season but after that, time’s not on his side as they try to extend Blake with CP3 free in 2013 and Mike D, Nate McM, J Sloan available.
9
11 GRIZZLIES
(27-21)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
Precariously-balanced Griz loses hard-working attitude with all its stars healthy: Took off without Gay last season, played better without Zach this season, losing four of seven since he returned.
10
12 SIXERS
(28-22)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
Neck-and-neck in Atlantic Division with Celtics, whom they led by four games in mid-February. Winner looking at home-court advantage vs. Indiana, loser at going to Miami.
11
13 CELTICS
(27-22)
LAST WEEK: 3-1
They’re 10-5 this month. Unfortunately, two of the losses were to the 76ers, who locked up their three-game season series.
14
14 NUGGETS
(27-23)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
In the good news, just won in Chicago. In the bad news, went just 5-4 on super-long nine-game homestand, with only six more in Denver the rest of the way.
13
15 ROCKETS
(27-24)
LAST WEEK: 2-2
Surprised everyone a year ago, staying up there as Lowry replaced Aaron Brooks. In another surprise, just went 6-4 with Lowry out as Dragic averaged 17 points, 9.5 assists, shot 50%.
15
16 JAZZ
(27-23)
LAST WEEK: 3-1 
One for Ty Corbin (the guy who replaced Sloan, if you didn’t hear): Jazz was a major surprise, starting 9-4. Just went 7-1 as surprises continue to mount in these rankings.
16
17 KNICKS
(25-25)
LAST WEEK: 3-1
Oops: 7-1 under Woodson who actually has them D’ing it up. Unfortunately, Amare just went out indefinitely with bad back, Lin has sore knee and Melo just twinged sore groin again.
18
18 SUNS
(25-25)
LAST WEEK: 2-2
Gentry who took over in 2009 when Terry Porter was swallowed alive trying to succeed Mike D., got them to 2010 West Finals, still putting Humpty Dumpty back together: Team that was 12-19 on Feb. 17 is 13-6 since.
19
19 WOLVES
(24-27)
LAST WEEK: 1-3 
Anyone seen my friend, the T-Wolf fan, who insists Love plays for his numbers? Averaging 31-14 this month with 51 in one game, two in 40s, five in 30s, Kevin can play for anything he wants.
20
20 BUCKS
(23-27)
LAST WEEK: 2-3
Two games out of last playoff slot after losing in New York, but Bucks have 10 of last 16 at home to Knicks’ 7-9 and lead season series, 2-1.
17
21 BLAZERS
(23-27)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
Oregonian’s John Canzano, calling out owner Paul Allen, who’s in Guam, watching deep-sea diving experiment: “This organization isn’t all that different from the Mariana Trench.”
21
22 CAVALIERS
(17-30)
LAST WEEK: 0-4 
Lottery pick, here we come: Bottom drops out in 4-12 nosedive. In good news, if this seems disappointing, they’re only two wins from 2010-11 win total in 82 games.
22
23 WARRIORS
(20-28)
LAST WEEK: 2-3 
I owe the family one after leaving Laker broadcaster Mychal Thompson’s son off every draft list until the one before he went No. 11 last spring: Klay just went for 31-10-27-17-20.
23
24 KINGS
(17-32)
LAST WEEK: 0-3 
Add to core young guys: Jason Thompson, who has had impressive spurts in first two seasons, is on his best to date, averaging 18-14 in his last five.
24
25 PISTONS
(17-32)
LAST WEEK: 1-3 
Nice-looking backcourt, or may be soon: Stuckey’s had nice season between groin injuries, averaging 23, shooting 49.7% since break alongside promising rookie Knight.
25
26 RAPTORS
(16-34)
LAST WEEK: 1-3 
There’s disagreement as to whether Bargnani has returned or not, and if so, why? Whoever’s wearing his uni averaging 14-4, shooting 34% this month.
26
27 NETS
(16-35)
LAST WEEK: 1-3
First, Kim, now this: Humphries expected to be dumped as team seeks better rebounder alongside Lopez–like KG? Not that Kris is a pain but he’s averaging 11 a game to KG’s 8.1.
27
28 HORNETS
(12-37)
LAST WEEK: 1-3 
Late as it is, Eric Gordon cleared to practice, hopes to play. Hey, if he couldn’t get max extension from these guys, he still has to show someone he’s worth it.
28
29 WIZARDS
(11-38)
LAST WEEK: 1-4 
We still haven’t seen the John Wall we expected but at least this one, who needed until February to get shooting percentage over 40%, is at 17.6, 8.4 assists, 44% from floor since the break.
29
30 BOBCATS
(7-40)
LAST WEEK: 0-3 
Getting even with MJ for making him baby-sit this D-League team, Paul Silas lets son Stephen coach 102-89 loss in New Jersey. Next: Kids from Paul’s neighborhood?
30
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Comments

  1. Looking increasingly likely like it’ll be Bulls-Thunder to me. Heat have a shot, but I think they lose in the East. Still don’t trust the Spurs to keep all of this up.

  2. frank vogel is GOD says:

    I doubt the 4 seed gets home court advantage in the East this year. Indy and Atlanta’s schedules are too easy.

    The Complex Sports banner is murdering this site.

  3. frank vogel is GOD says:

    I doubt the 4 seed will have home court advantage in the playoffs. Indy and Atlanta have too easy a schedule.

    The Complex Sports banner is murdering this site.

  4. How can the Jazz, after an impressive couple of weeks, still be ranked lower than the rockets and nuggets?

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