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NBA Playoof Outlook

April 27, 2009 by AlexV · Leave a Comment 

Who do you wan't to win?

Who do you wan't to win?

The NBA playoffs are starting to heat up as teams begin to play their game threes and fours. Like many experts like to say, the playoffs donít really start until a series is tied 2-2, or nobody has control until theyíre up 3-0. So, this is the time when those viewpoints truly come into focus.

For instance, The Utah Jazz barely won game three and were laid to waste in games one and two. The sad thing for them was they didnít fair too well in game four in Utah either, and got beat. They are down 3-1 and should be done.

Over in the east, the Cavaliers swept the Detroit Pistons and get to wait it out a few days before theyíll see anymore action.

Back west again, the New Orleans Hornets kind of looked like the Jazz in their game three as they had to scrap just to get a win and bring the series to 2-1 and make things interesting. Now, if they can win their game four, theyíll completely change the landscape of the series as Denver had dominated them in games one and two, by evening things out at 2-2.

The two and sevens in the east are an enigma to me. Both teams have won a road game and lost a home game. The most interesting factor to me is that Chicago can only beat Boston in overtime!

Another big whopper of a surprise is the battle between the Mavericks and Spurs. The Mavericks have jumped out to a 3-1 series lead and in all three of those wins they have looked fairly dominant with their defense and confidence moving the ball.

Even the three seeded Orlando Magic have run into their share of trouble by falling to a 2-1 deficit against the sixth seeded Philadelphia 76ers before finally tying things up 2-2 last night in Philly.

Meanwhile, the Houston Rockets have really taken charge in their matchup versus the Portland Trail Blazers where they currently lead 3-1. The Blazers have only been dominated in one of those games, game one. However, since overcoming those young playoff willies they have performed very tough and although they are down 3-1 they certainly are not competing like a team who is down 3-1 in a series.

As for the Heat and Hawks, game one made things look like the Hawks might be getting ready for the second round soon. However, since being blown out in game one, Miami has won a dominating game two, and succeeded in a blowout game three in Miami. Now the tables have turned and the Hawks have to prove they were worthy of hosting the series by winning game four.

Basically, if a series gets tied up at 2-2Ö watch it. If a higher seed is down 3-1Ö watch it. The higher seeds do not tend to go away too easily. Anything else is either over or about to be.

The West is Still Better than the East

March 4, 2009 by AlexV · Leave a Comment 

In this yearís fine NBA season the Western Conference is still the powerhouse of the league. Itís not like thatís ever changed since like the last ten years, but this year is definitely one of most notable.

In the East you have five sub-500 teams fighting for an eighth seed in Milwaukee, New Jersey, Chicago, Indiana, Charlotte in order from best to worst, with the best, Milwaukee, sporting a 29-35 record.

Meanwhile in the wild West the Suns and the Mavericks are shifting between the eighth and ninth spots every few games or so. Currently, the Suns are in ninth and they have a 34-26 record. Thatís better than the eighth seed in the East, Milwaukee, and also would tie them with Atlanta for the fourth seed and homecourt advantage in the opening round of the playoffs.

Itís a little different when you get to the higher seeds though. The two seed in the West, the San Antonio Spurs are 40-19. If they were in the east, that too would be no better than the fourth seed in the East. Orlando, who is 44-16 and third in the east, would be second in the west.

Although not surprising, itís still interesting.

NBA Quarter-Mark Outlook

November 30, 2008 by AlexV · Leave a Comment 

nba logo in the middle NBA Quarter Mark Outlook

So far in the NBA a few teams are back up to their old tricks, a few have been somewhat disappointing, and a†good number†of upstarts from last year as well as some surprising newcomers have begun to surface.

The newcomers that need to be involved in this discussion are as follows; in the east itís Miami, New York, and New Jersey and in the west all of the other teams with playoff aspirations are of no surprise at this point in the season. Miami, led by top scorer in points per game, Dwyane Wade, are currently 9th in the eastern conference standings. Last year, everyone remembers how atrocious they were. New York seems to be hitting its stride under the tutelage of former Phoenix head coach, Mike DíAntoni as they are 8-8 and 8th in the standings. Finally, the previous seasonís trade between the Dallas Mavericks and New Jersey Nets has finally begun to payoff, as the Devin Harris led Nets are 8-7, 6-4 in their last ten, and 7th in the east.

The Upstarts from last year that are proving their worth are as follows; in the east itís the Orlando Magic, the Atlanta Hawks, while in the west we have Portland and Denver. The Magic currently sit at 3rd and atop the eastern conference standings at 13-4 going 9-1 in their last ten. Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson, Rashard Lewis, and Hedo Turkoglu and company are really hitting their stride. The continued and improved production of guard/forward Keith Bogans and the extra lift provided by off season veteran pick up Anthony Johnson as point guard have been stalwart.

The Hawks slid a bit after starting off 5-0 mainly because of losing Josh Smith for the next few months, but have regained form and are now 10-6 and 5th in the eastern conference.

In the west the Portland Trailblazers, continue to look like a team of the future with stars Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, and the potential of first-year NBA players like Rudy Fernandez, and Greg Oden. They are now tied with Phoenix, Denver, and Houston at 11-6 while going 7-3 in their last ten games.

Denverís success can be attributed to the trade of Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson. The Nuggets are 11-6 and 7-3 in their last ten while holding 3rd place in the west. They have had many impressive victories and performances as they beat Boston in Boston, and took the Lakers to the brink of a loss in L.A.

Now come the disappointments. The Detroit Pistons are hovering somewhere between average and above average. Although they are 10-5 and in 4th place in the east, they are suffering some inexcusable losses, most recently a 10+ point loss to Minnesota, do not yet seem to have their act together with Allen Iverson skipping the thanksgiving day practice (however, I do give huge props to Michael Curry for taking charge by suspending him for one game), and are not nearly as consistent as they were when they had Chauncey Billups in the lineup.

The other eastern disappointments for the eastern conference are the Toronto Raptors, Philadelphia 76ers, and Washington Wizards.

The Raptors just 8-7 and are barely holding a spot in the eastern conference as the 7th seeded team. With capable point guard Jose Calderon, and former all-start Jermaine OíNeal, they should be doing better.

The Sixers were a team last year that without Elton Brand finished 6th in the east and took Detroit to six games in the playoffs. Now with virtually the same team and Elton Brand, they are struggling to find their rhythm and are 7-9 and 5-5 in their last ten. As for the ďWiz Kids,Ē although without injured star Gilbert Arenas they may not have been a playoff contender anyway, they are still abysmal with their 2-12 record which is good for worst in the east. Last season they played without Arenas for the most part, but still managed to finish above .500 and make the playoffs. They have now fired their coach Eddie Jordan and are in a state of disarray.

The disappointments in the west are the New Orleans Hornets, Dallas Mavericks, and L.A. Clippers. The Hornets finished second last year and were one game away from the western conference finals. They are now 9-6 and 7th in the standings in the west. The Mavericks are 8-8 and look like they are ready to get their act together one game, and then go back to mediocrity the next. As for the Clippers, you would think they could be more competitive than their 3-13 record would suggest with the pickup of marquee point guard Baron Davis. Oh well.

As for the Spurs, Iím sure a lot of people would like to put them in as a disappointment, but they have been playing without Manu Ginobli for the entire season (who is set to return soon), and Tony Parker has just returned from his injury earlier in the season. To further their defense, they are now 9-7 and 7-3 in their last ten while being 8th in the west.

Finally we come to the top dogs in the league.

In the east you have the Cleveland Cavaliers with their 14-3 records, 9-1 in the last ten games, and 2nd place spot in the standings. They have put together a bevy of blowouts on their opponents this season, and the addition of a scoring point guard in Mo Williams has been absolutely huge for them.

The second team that has picked up right where they left off from last year is the Lakers. They are 13-1 and making mince meat out of would be superpower teams and have the best record in the NBA.

But the†pinnacle of all teams continues to be the Boston Celtics. Theyíre 16-2 and are still dominating defensively and continue to get great production from their supporting cast members. And although the Lakers get much help from their bench and up and coming players, letís face it… the Celtics are still the champs.

The last three teams I must mention are the Houston Rockets, Phoenix Suns, and Utah Jazz. To me, these three teams are in a state of limbo. Houston would look to be an upstart, but they canít seem to keep their stars, Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, healthy. The Suns seem like the same team as last year, which wasnít a contender anyway, and the Jazz keep being a team with potential that canít seem to build on it.

That would about sum up the NBA season at or around its quarter mark. Weíll look to see who shifts from wherever they were in this discussion and who remains where they are in the coming weeks. As for those that I did not include in this articleÖ you really just arenít worth mentioning (Chicago, Indiana, Milwaukee, Charlotte, Golden State, Minnesota, Sacramento, Memphis and Oklahoma City).