Tag Archives: Miami Heat

Lebron Loses WWF Mashup

Nothing like a good ol WWF mashup to explain why the Heat lost. From Lebron fighting Riley and his teammates to Barkley and Stern, then Dirk walking away with the belt, can’t get more classic than this.


Playoffs Getting Interesting…

It’s been a entertaining NBA playoffs thus far. Teams that we thought were favorites aren’t turning out to be the powerhouses that we originally thought they were. Like I said back on 4/20, there’s a changing of the eras in the NBA. I didn’t think it would be this year, but thought it was on the horizon. More and more it’s looking like this year is the year of change. Another good thing is I don’t think any of these series are rigged so far. Well done Stern, usually we can tell!

Mavs 2, Lakers 0 –  As they say once the home team loses the series really starts. I think someone forgot to tell the Lakers that the series started after game 1. Last night’s Lakers game was disturbing to the fans down here in LA, much to my enjoyment. It’s fitting that this is the first year I was somewhat rooting for them because I didn’t want any of the Eastern Conference teams to win it all. I can’t believe I admitted that, but yes, I was rooting for the Lakers a little. I am enjoying that some Lakers fans said they would win the series in 3 games against this soft Mavs team. Obviously, that can’t happen, but it was an indication of how they overlooked Mavs in general. Maybe the players were listening to the radio shows and got full of themselves or maybe this team is just plain dysfunctional. I won’t call this series done, because the Mavs have a long history of choking in the playoffs when the pressure is at it’s highest. The pressure of closing the Lakers out is going to be big, and close to the pressure of closing the Heat out in the Finals four years ago. That Mavs team was much different though, they have only two players from that finals roster, and were much softer without Chandler. This version of the Mavs feels a lot better, but I won’t believe it until they close out this series. Either way, the winner will lose next round to one of the young guns in the changing of the guards.

Memphis 1, Seattle 1 – Everyone thought the young team that would make an impact out West was going to be the Supersonics when it’s really been the Grizzlies who have shocked the world. I didn’t pick the Grizz to win that first series against the Spurs, especially without Gay in the lineup, but did think they were a good team all the way back in November when I regretted leaving them off my playoff predictions. Both franchises have figured out how to build a contender, and they have one glaring thing in common, size. Size matters in the NBA, just ask Steve Nash. It was always the Lakers biggest advantage for the last three years, and what do teams have to do to knock them off? Get bigger. Memphis did that through free agency and trades (Gasol, Z-Bo). Seattle did the same (Perkins, Ibaka), and now both teams look like they could beat anyone with solid role guys and their stars knowing exactly what is needed of them to be successful. I’m going to say whoever wins this series will be representing the west in the finals. I’m rooting for it to be Memphis, because I still have a hard time rooting for Sam Presti to succeed on any front.

Miami 2, Boston 0 – The team I picked to represent the East is looking about as good as it has all season. I thought that Boston was in trouble before this series started. Wade ALWAYS gives Boston fits, and that’s going back to when Wade was the only player worth anything in Miami. Last year I think he dropped close to 50 one playoff game in Boston to help the Heat avoid getting swept. Now that he has Lebron and Bosh who can also give Boston fits, he no longer has to put up 50 to will his team to a win. What’s even scarier about this Miami team is they look more comfortable playing together than they have all year. The Celtics on the other hand look a lot like the Lakers this postseason. They haven’t really looked good for more than one or two games the whole second season. They know it’s their last shot with their great coach, and might be pressing a little too hard or could just be old. Is it a lame duck coaching situation for Boston and LA that’s getting them down? Are they not playing as hard because they know there’s a new coach on the horizon after this season? Probably not, but I have to throw it out there. I guess this series hasn’t started yet since the home team hasn’t lost, but this video seems to sum up how high people are on the C’s right now…

Chicago 1, Atlanta 1 – Of the teams left in the playoffs, I’ve probably watched these two teams the least. I’m not sure why, but I was never totally sold on Chicago. Derrick Rose’s ankle is what this series hinges on, and personally I think getting the MVP is a jinx. No guard since Jordan has won a title the year they won the MVP. This day in age only big men that win the MVP get championships. Like I said before, I haven’t watched Chicago a lot, but is there anyway their defense is overrated a little? Indiana and Atlanta aren’t exactly offensive juggernauts ranking in the middle of the pack in the NBA, but are putting up over 90 in the playoffs where scoring is usually down against the unbreakable Thibodeau defense. Atlanta is the toughest team for me to figure out. They blow teams out, and get blown out just as much. You’re never really sure what you’re going to get from them. I can’t figure out why they went away from Jeff Teague, who was lighting Chicago up in game 2, but that happened, and they didn’t come close to winning. I actually like a lot of Atlanta’s players, but for some reason just can’t seem to talk myself into rooting for them. Don’t they feel like they are Mavs of the East? Good enough to be in the playoffs every year, but not good enough to go very far…


Things I’m Tired Of Hearing About This NBA Season

Anything Heat Related – There might have been one or two Miami Heat squads I actually liked during their entire existence. I can’t name any off the top of my head, but I’d guess that Glen Rice was on the team. To this day, when I think of the Heat, I think of guys like Kevin Edwards, Jon Sundvold, and Rony Seikaly. No matter how much the NBA is trying to shove this Heat team down my throat, I’m not gonna budge. But it’s like Stan Van Gundy said, when you hold the championship celebration in August, the scrutiny will come. I can barely even watch Heat games anymore. If they didn’t have Erick Dampier, they wouldn’t be worth watching at all.

David Stern Still Being David Stern – Seriously, how has this guy not been fired, sued, or bitch-slapped yet?! He’s by far the most arrogant commissioner in the sport with the biggest egos. How is he still in control? (I know, the answer is obvious… money) He has pretty much single-handedly destroyed my favorite sport. I love basketball, but I can barely tolerate the NBA anymore. The officiating has blatantly become just a means of manipulating  the outcome of games. It’s like recess was in elementary school: just as you started breaking a sweat and having fun, some asshole blows a whistle and everyone has to go back in the classroom. Or in this case, stand around and watch one guy shoot a ten foot set shot. Add to that the special treatment various players get no matter how obvious, and it just makes me wanna text Rasheed Wallace and say “look at this sh!t NOW, record hater.” I think I’m even more peeved than usual after reading Stern’s cocky-ass comments about SVG today.

The Spurs – zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Sacramento Kings: Will They or Won’t They? I know… no one outside of Sacramento really has to put up with this news, but there is literally a new story about whether or not the Kings plan to leave town after this season, and more often than not, it’s not even news. For example, today’s biggest story is that fans are trying to sell out the second to last home game of the season, fittingly against the team formerly known as the Seattle SuperSonics. Look, few people spent as much time at Arco Arena as I did growing up (not Power Balance Pavilion, not the Livestrong Center, not the Tiffany Dome, and not the Friendship Bracelet Fieldhouse. Sorry, I’ll stop), but at this point, I feel so alienated by this franchise, I don’t even feel like they’re my home team anymore. This is a city that sold out every game for the first 13 years here, and then after a few down months, the next 7 or 8 again. It’s not the city that’s the problem. I love the movie Major League, but I hate seeing the same strategy being employed in real life. At least the movie had two things the Kings don’t: Charlie Sheen, and duh – winning!


NBA Fast Break!

Just some quick thoughts on the young NBA season …

Despite getting absolutely destroyed by Chicago tonight, my Golden State Warriors currently hold a 6-3 record going into Saturday’s game in Milwaukee.  Things to note:  Keith Smart appears to be an excellent coach, who seems to understand today’s players.  Steph Curry has not fallen into the Sophomore slump.  David Lee is the right acquisition for this team.  Dorrell Wright is the perfect acquisition for this team.  And finally, the team chemistry is at an all time high.  I love this squad.  All praise the “Smart” era!

If the Heat crowd consisted of this 24/7, I might change my tune.

Coming into the season, all the talk was about the Miami Heat, and rightfully so.  They assembled a baby “Dream Team”.  Well, they’re currently 5-4 (not as good as the Warriors) and show no signs of being capable of beating Boston.  But, the most shocking thing to me about Miami is, well, they’re boring to watch.  LeBron and Wade are a highlight reel waiting to happen but without a soundtrack.  What I mean by that is their crowd is weak.  LeBron’s posterizing dunks will never quite be the same without the Cleveland crowd behind him.  I’m sorry Miami, I’m sure there are some real Heat fans out there, but they’re currently not in the stands.

PS – Chris Bosh plays defense like he’s still at the beach, just enjoying the view  …

Free Kevin Love!

David Kahn is probably the worse President in basketball.  I take that back, that’s an understatement.  David Kahn is absolutely the worse president in basketball.  So it’s fitting he’s hired, and kept the worse coach in basketball in Kurt Rambis, employed.  Here’s an “NBA Coaching For Dummies” tip for you Rambis, play your best player.  I don’t know what Kevin Love’s done to Rambis behind closed doors, perhaps a Delonte/LeBron situation but involving his daughter, but whatever the case, Rambis can’t be limiting Love’s minutes due to “lack of defense”.  If that were the case, Michael Beasley should be riding the pine right next to him.  Of course, I wouldn’t be concerned about what’s going on in Minnesota, had I not drafted Kevin Love as a keeper in my fantasy league.

M.V.Pau!

Could the Lakers be attempting to chase down history?  Some people, including myself thought the Heat would be challenging the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls for ultimate team supremacy and bragging rights, by eclipsing Chicago’s 72 wins season.  Well we got the wrong team.  It’s the Lakers laying down the foundation towards team immortality.  Why didn’t I see the signs?  Phil’s last run.  Kobe’s competitive nature.  I’m sure the moment LeBron announced his plans to hit the W on South Beach, Kobe hit the gym.  Plus, Pau Gasol has emerged as the best player on this team, and in the league.  Yes I said it.  That title has belonged to him ever since the NBA Finals two seasons ago.  He was robbed of a Finals’ MVP trophy last season.  The Lakers are so good, and so deep, they can cut Andrew Bynum and be O.K.  Name another team that could do the same.

John Wall and Blake Griffin are fresh, new and exciting!  Like seeing Tony Hawk execute the 900 during the first X Games exciting!  At this point, I don’t see either the Wizards or the Clippers making a playoff push, but the race for Rookie of the Year will only continue to heat up!  When it’s all said and done, I believe John Wall will edge out Griffin due to the fact that he can do the feminine version of the “Dougie”.

Here …

PS – He dances like a girl.


NBA Season is Creeping Up On Us

People let me tell you about my best friend!

D-Wade Officially Makes it Lebron’s Team

I actually caught some of the first look at the new Miami trio last night (only the first quarter). They looked really good even though D-Wade got hurt. I think the Pistons in general make most teams look good, especially ones that are supposed to be favorites for a title. At first I didn’t think much of Wade’s injury since he won’t really miss all that much time, and its still preseason. As the game progressed it became apparent that Lebron unsurprisingly would be the man without Wade in the lineup. Shocking revelation, I know. It seemed like as soon as Wade left the game, Lebron’s urgency stepped up a little. He took over that game, and showed us why this will eventually be his team. There’s no mistaking his godlike talents on the court, and even Bosh said after the game he’s never seen that many wide open shots. D-Wade is a fantastic player (easily top 5 in the league), but if you’re on the same floor as Lebron you are going to be overshadowed. Was last night the first step into the team transitioning to being all about Lebron? Probably. He even said in a pregame interview that he would not defer to anyone, and that was before Wade got hurt. Lebron endured the worst summer I can recall of any professional athlete. It was even more brutal because he didn’t even get into any kind of legal  trouble. Now it’s time for him to show us why we made such a big deal out of his decision, tanking the Boston series, and making retarded tweets and comments siding with Maverick Carter (the worst agent in the history of agents). After watching one preseason game, Lebron reminded me that he will overcome all the bad press, and will be vindicated this season through his amazing presence on the court. He is the Mike Vick of the NBA, he’s different than everyone else, and you can’t take your eyes off him when he’s playing. Miami might be Wade’s city, and it might still be his franchise, but after one missed meaningless preseason game from Wade, I think it’s already Lebron’s team.

Asian’s Breaking Ground in the NBA

You know we get up as much Asian pride posts as we can, so I couldn’t resist introducing our readers to this Chinese guy. Yesterday Sonny Xiao bought a small stake (5-10%) of the new Dallas expansion NBA D-League team named the Texas Legends. This isn’t all that exciting news since I can’t even name all the D-League teams nor have I really watched any of their games aside from a youtube clip or two. What makes Xiao so special? Is it because he’s only 27? Being 27 and owning a stake in a team was one of my goals, unfortunately it never came to fruition, and I’m older than 27 now… The real reason it’s unique though, is because he is the first Chinese born person to own a stake in a team. Mikhail Prokorov became the first overseas owner this year buying the New Jersey Nets this offseason, and now Xiao becomes the first guy from Asia to buy into the NBA, even if that happens to be a D-League team. Xiao came over from Beijing ten years ago as a foreign exchange student to attend SMU in San Antonio. He returned to Beijing to build up a couple of companies only to sell them off, and is now back in the states trying to help get this team going. It might be the first bridge to China that the NBA has been looking to find for awhile.


Oh My… Point Taken!

I’m not the biggest Dan Le Batard fan, but Dyslecix sent this clip out in the e-mail chain today, and I found this pretty damn funny. I like how he threw in a picture of Terrance farting on Phillip, and the real King (of burgers) was pretty solid as well. He even threw in a little spoof of the double rainbow clip that MCeezy put up over the weekend! All this added up to one hilarious 3 1/2 minutes, which is about as long as Lebron’s special should’ve been! The best part about all this, was that Dan is a Miami native, so he’s making fun of his own team!


Lebron Just Dethroned Kobe As Most Hated Player in the NBA

It’s true.  The title Kobe Bryant held for so long has been snatched out from underneath him. Long considered the spoiled brat of the NBA, Kobe may very well be sitting back watching Lebron get ripped by every fan, franchise, and media outlet in the nation, smiling uncontrollably. I know I would be. See, Kobe grew out of the bad boy stage a couple years ago. Somewhere, he realized he didn’t need to be a villain. Moreover, in order to be regarded with the Jordans, Magics, and Birds, he needed to be liked. I’m not saying he changed his personality, but he simply became tolerable. Many still hate him, but not as passionately as they used to. I actually came around a lot earlier than most. I think it was a combination of going to college with his cousin and the Kings fall from contention and no longer having to deal with him in the big moments. What really did it for me was that Kobe simply is THAT GOOD. I was a damn good swimmer all through high school, and somewhere along the line, I realized you had to KNOW you were that good to BE that good. That’s all Kobe was doing. You need your opposition to believe that they can’t beat you. Kobe has mastered this. Up until now, Kobe was the bad guy and Lebron was the good guy.

Not so anymore. Lebron James was a man among boys ever since he was in high school. Grown ass men were looking up to him because he seemed to have the world in the palm of his hands. Thursday night ended up being the biggest heel turn – to put it in WWF terms – the NBA has ever seen. It was almost as if Lebron ripped off his Cavs jersey to reveal an NWO shirt underneath. Now, it’s not like the Heat are a hated franchise or anything. They’re not the Lakers or the Knicks or even the Celtics. Had he gone to the Knicks, which was highly speculated, it would’ve been fine because it would’ve been HIS team.  Instead, he goes and joins D-Wade’s team. Even if he wins a championship, it won’t be his. But clearly he doesn’t care about it. I don’t know if I’m going to hate the Heat as much as I’m going to root for the Cavs. Even though Cleveland is widely regarded as one of America’s shitholes…. the Mistake by the Lake, if you will…. I grew up during the Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance, Craig Ehlo era. They were a solid franchise when I was young. They’re not really a poor hapless franchise like, say, the Sacramento Kings or Golden State Warriors, in my book. But on one fateful night, the Cavs became the biggest underdogs the NBA has ever seen. Can anyone really root against them? I mean sure, Daniel Gibson could go away and no one would miss him. But Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams deserve better. I was never much of a Dan Gilbert fan, and as much as he may have been going a little overboard, I am now. I avoided “The Decision” at all costs, but I’ll definitely be tuning in for Lebron’s first game back in Cleveland as a flamer. You can take that to the bank.


Rumors, Signings, and the Upcoming Lockout

Didn’t pay much attention to the NBA free agency bonanza over the three day weekend (or sports for that matter), but caught up the last couple days on the rumor mill, and it sounds like all the rumors that were swirling on Friday, sound just about the same as they do today. Maybe there’s a little more of the I think so and so is leaning towards staying/going here, but nobody’s opinion is truly relevant, since nobody knows what factors are in play for these guys in making their final decisions so rumors will continue. There was one big commitment over the weekend with Amare Stoudemire agreeing to a five year $100M contract with the Knicks. I think it’s good for the guy, he wasn’t going to get a max deal in Phoenix, so why not go where someone that is willing to dish out the cash! He might not be exactly what they were hoping for, and as MCeezy said, they still aren’t relevant without another big player, but he is as worthy as anyone for a max offer. He’ll probably hold his fantasy value rejoining the anti-defensive D’antoni coached team. They might actually come out of this free agency period a winner depending on what else they get. I’m not going to say I think this was the greatest signing, but it’s far from a bad one as some would have you believe. If he somehow recruits another superstar, then he would be an all-time Knicks without even stepping on the court. It was much better than signing Joe Johnson or Rudy Gay to the “max” deals. I’m starting to wonder where Boozer will land since there are really no rumors about him. I do like the ring of Boozer’s Vodka if he ends up on the Nets. D-Wade and Chris Bosh are going to team up in Miami, just as I predicted. It’s tough to tell how much of a supporting cast they can have with only four players (Chalmers and Beasley) on the roster, but if they really don’t care about the money that much, maybe they’ll be able to bring in another big name.

I found the rumor of Carmelo waiting it out until next year’s free agency to go join Amare in New York as a laughable scenario. Does Melo even really have a choice on waiting it out with the lockout scheduled for next year? He could’ve been part of this free agent frenzy, but chose to take the extra year and some extra cash instead of opening up his 2010 summer. The Baltimore native has lived the rough life, so I don’t see him passing up any guaranteed money. Could he really pass on an extension that would guarantee him close to $20M per year for the next three? I’ll say no. The way money is flying around this summer is going to get even crazier after Lebron makes his choice tomorrow. You may think it already has with contracts like Amir Johnson (5 years $34M), Darko Milicic (4 years $20M), Drew Gooden (4 years $39M), but this summer there will be even more of those unfathomable numbers for guys that are at best bench players, especially if all these big free agents end up staying put. There’s a lot of teams waaay under the cap that were hoping to lure a Lebron or Wade to their city, but all these potential suitors forgot one thing, what if they don’t want to leave and want the extra $20-30M guaranteed that these guys can have tacked onto the last year of their contract in their current cities. So in essence, some teams will be overpaying for guys this summer that aren’t going to change a franchise into an instant contender. I’m thinking Richard Jefferson, Luis Scola, Raymond Felton, and Ray Allen will all eventually get some ridiculous money thrown their way from teams that are desperate to make a splash. They are good, but should only be additions to an already good team not THE addition that makes them a team. Continue reading


Four Game Fours, Four Series at 3-1

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

Sunday featured a full docket of NBA Playoff games to keep fans busy. I’m a little over 7/8 of the way through the quadruple header, and I’m going out on a limb to assume the Jazz will hold on to their 20 point lead at the time of posting. First, Miami was able to stay alive thanks to the heroic effort of Dwyane Wade. I got a sense of overexposure dating back to the Heat’s last Championship run – Wade was everywhere and got all the calls. But now that his team is a lower seed again, I’ve come to appreciate, once again, the will and ability of one of the game’s great players. D-Wade single-handedly took over the fourth quarter with a barrage of clutch baskets. He finished with 46 to make sure the Heat held on to this one to send the series back to Boston for at least one more game.

In Chicago, the Cavs ran away from the Bulls despite a monstrous effort from Joakim Noah. I had all the doubts in the world about this kid coming out of Florida. I didn’t see him ever becoming anything more than a role player, but today, he was the Bulls best player on the floor. Noah put up 21 points to go with 20 rebounds, and repeatedly came up with big buckets when other Bulls couldn’t. Problem is, too often were the times no one else could come through. On the other side of the ball, Lebron James was dominant once again, posting his fifth career postseason triple-double with 37 pts, 12 reb, and 11 ast. Mo Williams chipped in a couple huge three pointers and finished with 19.

In San Antonio, the 7th seed Spurs took a stronghold on their series with the Mavs, notching a 92-89 win to send the series back to Dallas with the home team in a 3-1 deficit. George Hill had a breakout game with 29 points to lead the way for the Spurs. The Mavs meanwhile looked like the same familiar disappointing team that continually fails to show up in the postseason. Jason Terry led a respectful comeback attempt, but the Spurs showed that they’re still the better team when the games mean something.

There’s still a lot of basketball left to be played in Utah, but barring a miraculous fourth quarter, the Jazz look poised to take a 3-1 lead back to Denver with three chances to close out the series. Deron Williams is building upon his legacy, further cementing his status as one of the top point guards in the league. Also, Carlos Boozer is showing that he can still be a dominating force in the post, something that teams with cap space will certainly be looking to add to their roster in the upcoming offseason.


In Your Face(s)

Did anyone get an opportunity to see what Dwayne Wade did to Troy Murphy, Brandon Rush and Josh McRoberts last week?  Well there are a lot of “cons” to how easily accessible things are with this “new” media (youtube), but this right here, is definitely a “pro”.

Enjoy.


Doin NBA Power Rankings

Thank you Fanhouse! You’ve given me the inspiration to do some power rankings. I couldn’t believe what their power rankings looked like, I mean really!?! I’m as big of a Laker hater there is out there, but putting the Mavs at numero uno over the Cavs and the Lake show is a little bold!! I’m not sure what Brett over at Fanhouse is smoking, but I need to get some! Anyways, here’s how I see the top 16 teams in the league at this point in the season.

#1 Los Angeles Lakers – They don’t have the best record in the league, but having Kobe sit out for a little will help them. Not missing a beat in the win column keeps them atop these rankings. They will most likely cruise to the Western Conference finals before they are truly tested. John Canzano at the Oregonian might have convinced me that they could be tested by the Blazers in the first round, but I won’t get my hopes up at this point of an early Lake Show exit.

#2 Cleveland Cavaliers – Best record in the league, and a very close 2nd to the champs. Is it a big deal that Shaq is out? No, but in case anyone forgot, they have Lebron. You could put him on the Bucks right now, and get through the first couple playoff rounds, so I’m not buying that the loss of the Diesel is that big of a deal at this point. If he ends up missing more time than expected, that might be another story. Lebron is playing in a different league than everyone else, he doesn’t need Shaq.

#3 Orlando Magic – Vince looks like he finally is fitting in, and the Magic are playing their best basketball of the year. If they keep playing like they have, they could be just as scary as Cleveland in the Eastern Conference. Stan Van Gundy reminds me of Rex Ryan in the NFL. He’s a little unpredictable and unstable, but if you were caught in a fight you would gladly take them on your side.

Continue reading


Doin NBA Power Rankings

Surprisingly we haven’t done any power rankings for hoops this year, so we were about due for this post! We’re approaching the halfway point in the season, and this is how we think the top 16 looks as of today.

1. Los Angeles Lakers – As negative as we are about the Lakers on Doin Work, we respect them. Aside from losing to their freeway rivals Wednesday, the Lake Show still have the best record in the league, and only have 7 losses on the season. I watch them more than I want to, and they’ve had a few injuries, but if Kobe is in the lineup they seem to find a way to win. Their defense might be a concern going forward, but when Ron and Pau are both healthy and back in the lineup they should be solid in the defensive department again. Bynum has been stepping up in a major way.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers – I’m not really sure how the Cavs lost to Charlotte, but other than that mini-speed bump they’ve been very consistent since destroying the Lakers on Christmas. I have a feeling that Nike could get their lame MVPuppet match up this year. It’s sad that I think beginning to be less of a Lebron fan because of those commercials!

3. Boston Celtics – No contending team outside of Portland has more injuries to key guys than the Celtics. Even without Rondo, KG, and Pierce they somehow beat a Toronto team that is playing surprisingly well lately. I guess it’s not a surprise for the leagues oldest team is having injury problems. I’m sure they’re just hoping that they are healthy at the right time.

4. Dallas Mavericks – If the playoffs started today, the Mavs would have the #2 seed. I was actually surprised to see this, but it’s true! Cuban has reigned over the Mavs for a decade now, and seems like he’s pushing the right buttons with his squad this year. They may have stunk up the court against the Lakers, but they beat all the teams they are supposed to and are deeper than I imagined they would be.

5. Orlando Magic – Matt Barnes has been playing some great ball since being put in the starting rotation. Unfortunately for the Magic, he has been their best player as of late and they don’t look like a very deep team anymore. Coach Van Gundy thinks they are in a rut, and it seems like he’s right as they’ve lost three straight. If guys don’t know their roles on the team, it always leads to unhappy players…

6. Denver Nuggets – I’m not sure how the Nuggets are hanging onto their division lead, but they are without Chauncey and Melo. The refs gave them a gift of a foul against the Warriors. They better watch out though, because the Blazers are closing in fast, and have overcome many more injuries than these Nuggets.

7. Portland Trailblazers – Can you say enough good things about Brandon Roy. He’s the ultimate team player. He didn’t have huge stats in the beginning of the year because the team didn’t need him as much. Now that 80% of the team is on the IR he’s playing with D-Leaguers and still has this Blazers team hunting down Denver for the division lead. Roy put up a stinker against the Clips, but if Kobe gets a pass, so does he!

8. Phoenix Suns – This might be too high for the Suns, but screw it. They have beat the best in the league and seem to lose to the worst. I really don’t know what to make of them, since they are so inconsistent, but as long as Nash is running the show they will win. If Richardson can get a little bit more consistent, I like where this team is going.

9. San Antonio Spurs – The Spurs started off the year slow, but as is the case every year, they’re right in the thick of things now. Winners of 12 of their last 15, the Spurs haven’t been flashy, but rank second in the league in FG% and third in 3PT%. Tim Duncan is averaging nearly 20 and 10.

10. Atlanta Hawks – The Hawks have stumbled as of late, dropping 5 of their last 7, but they have plenty of talent to carry them into the playoffs. With Josh Smith continuing to mature with each game, and Jamal Crawford finding his stride as a bench player, they simply need to keep pace in the top half of the Eastern Conference standings and they can be a dangerous playoff team once again.

11. Utah Jazz – It’d be easy to chalk up the Jazz’ early struggles to injuries, but they haven’t really had many. Carlos Boozer has played all 35 games, while Deron Williams and Mehmet Okur have missed a combined 7 games. As long as Williams’ wrist injury doesn’t linger all season long, Utah should find themselves right in the thick of the playoff race.

12. Houston Rockets – The Rockets have been proving doubters wrong all season so far, and despite their current three game losing streak, they’re sitting pretty at 20-16. Those three losses have come at the hands of the Hornets, Lakers, and Suns, all on the road. They’ve been beating the teams they’re supposed to. In this league, if you do that, you’ll find yourself in playing in the postseason. Houston currently sits in the 7th spot, but only by a half a game. In fact, only 3 games separate them from the 12th spot right now.

13. Oklahoma City Thunder – A trendy preseason pick to make the playoffs, the Sonics have not disappointed. Kevin Durant has carried the load, leading the team in scoring, rebounding, steals, and blocks. Their 19-16 record is impressive enough, but what really stands out is their 10-8 record on the road. The only teams in the West with worse home records are Minnesota and Golden State. It’s too bad they’re in OKC, as I’m sure the Seattle fans would provide them a much better home court advantage.

14. Miami Heat – The Heat were hot, no pun intended, to start the season but have since cooled off. Nonetheless, they’re still lingering around the .500 mark, which historically would get you in the playoffs in the East. Dwyane Wade should also garner some MVP attention should Miami finish in the top half of the standings. He’s averaging 27 pts, 5 reb, and 6 ast per game.

15. New Orleans Hornets – Riding a four game win streak, the Hornets are now over .500 for the first time this season at 17-16. That’s not good enough for the playoffs in the Western Conference, but with Chris Paul back healthy, they’ve got to like their chances to pass up Houston and/or Oklahoma City before the season ends.

16. Toronto Raptors – Let’s face it, this could be any team here at #16. The Raptors haven’t exactly impressed this season, but they’re still right in the thick of things. The Chris Bosh farewell tour is going strong. Now, if only Jose Calderon could regain his form, Toronto could have a good shot at knocking off a higher seed in the first round of the playoffs. I wouldn’t count on it though.