I had boatloads of schoolwork to finish (one more week!), so I didn’t get to watch any of the NCAA tournament games before the last one of the night, which hasn’t been a great contest.
A look at the overall NBA standings shows four teams at the top – Indiana, Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Miami – separated by one game in the loss column. In fact, they were dead even until three of them lost Sunday.
Just a notch below them are three more teams – Houston, the Los Angeles Clippers and Portland – separated by two games in the loss column. They also would have been dead even had the Blazers held on Sunday against the Rockets.
Let’s call these teams the Magnificent Seven, because your NBA champion is somewhere among them. Dismiss any of them at your own peril; these are the only teams who, at the season’s three-quarter pole, have won at least two-third of their games.
If you were hoping for a blockbuster, “Woj Bomb” type of trade on Thursday, you were out of luck.
The trade deadline came and went on Thursday without any real stars packing their bags, but plenty of teams made relevant moves throughout the day to bolster their franchises in some way.
Our Chris Sheridan has the trade analysis of all the deals, but you can find more on everything that went down and everything else that fell through below.
There are three days left until the trade deadline, the best Thursday of the season, no matter what TNT might say. Folks stay glued to their Twitter feeds awaiting word of who is heading where, with 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET the most riveting two hours of the entire season.
This season, with so many weak Eastern Conference teams trying to add a difference maker that would allow them to compete with the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers, and with the Western Conference race basically a nine-team affair, there is a strong desire to get better immediately among at least half of the teams in the league.
Does that mean that 15 teams will be involved in trades? Heck no. That only happens on draft night.
All-Star Saturday is one of my favorite days of the NBA season, because it’s the best chance we get to see players just having fun. More than just about any other sports league on the planet, the NBA likes to show off its players’ charisma, flair, and general ability to entertain. And it’s working. Just ask every company that uses an NBA player in their advertising. Any of the twenty or so of them.
I rounded up some NBA players’ reactions to the dunk contest, so click through for that. Personally, I thought the freestyle round was a cool addition, and the East team had some really slick teamwork. The battle format was a little iffy, though, and only getting to see one dunk from each competitor was a bit of a letdown. Ben McLemore’s rumored 720 never materialized, though his dunk was pretty easily the runner-up to John Wall’s runaway winner. He also had my favorite individual dunk of the freestyle round and showcased his ridiculous hops. On the whole, the dunkers (especially the East, who clearly had a game plan, whereas the West seemed a little starstruck) brought it, but the format held them back.
The other great thing about All-Star Saturday is that everyone’s in one place, and that means one-of-a-kind trade rumor coverage. It’s like baseball’s winter meetings, only with dunks also. It’s a pretty great time for the basketball blogger.
Now let’s get to the news: