After erasing a 17-point first half deficit and a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter, the Heat overcame Jeff Green’s career-high 43 points and extended their winning streak to 23 games. Now, 30 is actually in sight. The second-best NBA winning streak of all time merits kudos everywhere, so here is my hat tip.
But back to the teams that actually matter for our rankings.
Without Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard has led the Lakers to a 2-1 record. That one loss came at the hands of the Phoenix Suns, who drubbed the Hollywooders on Monday night, 99-76. We are of the opinion, though, that that loss is offset by the club’s improbable win at Indiana last Friday. Superman lives (as No. 1) for another week, but Chris Paul and his division-leading Los Angeles Clippers may take exception, and rightfully so. We shall see what the next week holds.
All of a sudden, New York City has become a place to keep an eye on. The reeling Knicks managed to salvage a win on their five-game road trip Monday night at Utah. But without Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire, the Brooklyn Nets are nipping at their heels. The Nets are suddenly 5-2 over their last seven, and it’s about time we showed some love to the team’s sixth man. They are, after all, trailing the Knicks by just a single game in the Atlantic Division.
But as far as this last week? Ignore John Wall and his Washington Wizards no more, I say. At just 23-43, the Wizards are not a threat to make the playoffs this season, but they are 18-15 since Wall returned to action on Jan. 12. And Martell Webster has helped Wall make this team watchable. We had a tough time omitting him from this week’s rankings, but them’s the breaks.
In Chicago, the story is Derrick Rose and whether or not he will play this season. It has been somewhat easy to overlook the contributions of Nate Robinson as a result. So we will give him some special love here after his 34-point effort in Monday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets, who have won 12 in a row.
Though the loss came as a result of a controversial call, these rankings are getting increasingly competitive. So, since it was a loss, nevertheless, we will give Nate an “honorable, honorable mention” and in the spirit of March Madness, call him the “first out.”
Let’s see what next week brings, and let’s move on to the rankings.