With one week left in the NBA regular season, the pressure is on for two Eastern Conference teams and four Western Conference teams fighting for the final playoff spots. Millions will intently watch what transpires over the next seven days as teams face must-win games, and the effort and intensity pick up. Each of these half-dozen teams have a player who will greatly impact the fate of their clubs the rest of the way.
How about those Indiana Pacers? For five straight games they have been held below 90 points — and in four of those games they were sub-80. Their last two victories have been quality wins against the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls, but they have lost five of six overall and are now tied in the loss column with LeBron James’ team. All in all, it is fair to call them something close to a mess as they head into Monday
It’s been a while since the Western Conference wasn’t jam-packed with high-end teams, and this season is no exception. If anything, it’s been even more absurdly competitive. Five teams will almost certainly finish with 50 wins, and at least one team with a win total in the mid-40s is guaranteed to miss the playoffs. We know this because as of this writing, the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Memphis Grizzlies own the 7-9 seeds with identical 43-30 records. Last I checked,
Sunday night’s self-destruction against the Cavs was about as bad of a loss as the Knicks could have imagined, given that they had a chance to pull within two games of the Atlanta Hawks, who had lost earlier in the day. Well, to be fair, it wasn’t totally a self-destruction. Jarrett Jack was phenomenal for Cleveland on offense, repeatedly burning Raymond Felton, and Luol Deng did a terrific job on Carmelo Anthony, keeping the ball out of the NBA’s second-leading scorer
While Victor Oladipo and Trey Burke chase Michael Carter-Williams for Rookie of the Year, a handful of other rookies are helping their teams chase postseason berths and higher seeds. The Eastern Conference has three teams in the playoff chase whose finish will be somewhat impacted by the play of their rookies. The Western Conference has five teams in the hunt with rookies playing a prominent role. The team relying most on rookies is undoubtedly the Atlanta Hawks, who have two rookies in
Tuesday’s contest between Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors was supposed to be something of a showdown – a dog fight – between two teams trying to establish their position to ensure that they make the playoffs in the insanely-competitive Western conference. Instead, the Mavericks looked lifeless for much of the night and suffered an embarrassing 108-85 loss to the Warriors, who have now won five consecutive games to gain a firm three-game lead over Dallas and the Memphis Grizzlies in
I’m kinda high on what the Charlotte Bobcats did with Ben Gordon. The Bobcats waived Gordon on Sunday, preventing him from appearing in the postseason should he sign with another team. While they may have alienated his agent – not a trifle thing in the business world of the NBA – two things should be pointed out. 1. When teams waive or buy out players at this time of the season, they are essentially establishing a price they are willing to pay
February’s buyout season is becoming more interesting than the trade deadline itself. There’s a case to be made that the goings-on surrounding Danny Granger, Caron Butler, Jimmer Fredette and others could make a bigger impact than all those moves made one week ago. With Granger, Butler and now Jimmer Fredette (as the Kings announced) officially bought out and ancillary players like Beno Udrih, Earl Clark and Shannon Brown finding new teams, it’s time to really ramp up the races for players who