Thursday, February 12, 2009

Catching up on the NBA

So, admittedly, we haven't been paying much attention to any sports that aren't football, but that's beacuse that's the sport that's been on the forefront of things. It's not to say that we don't watch other sports, just haven't had the itch to write about them.

But...in an effort to bring you up to speed on the NBA, here's a small blurb on all the teams going into the back half of the season.

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Divison

Boston (42-11)
The defending champs are continuing their stranglehold on the East. They've spent the entire season trading blows with the Lakers for the best record and title of "strongest team" going into the playoffs. They've stayed healthy behind the Big 3, and as long as that's the case, they're not going to face a test until Cleveland in the East Finals.

Philadelphia (26-24)
Philly had something going for them with the core built around Iggy and Brand. However, Elton Brand is gone for the season and they've played the last 25 or so games without him, Philly has learned what they need to do over the last 30 or so games to get to the post season.

New Jersey (24-28)
The Nets have rallied behind the young point guard, a guy you might remember, Devin Harris. With VC's elbow keeping him off the court, it's been the Devin Harris show. New Jersey is one of those teams that feels they could be there with a few moves, so what for deadline activity.

New York (21-29)
I didn't think New York was going to win 20 games this season, but he, the coach of the three first names, has coached this team into something else. That being said, they've just gotten Kobe'd, LeBron'd and Celtic'd on consecutive nights, so this team is about as deflated as it's going to be.

Toronto (19-34)
Chris Bosh wants out. Don't believe him when he says otherwise. This team is terrible, and he's been hurt so they've been that much worse without him.

Central Division

Cleveland (39-10)
If you've got LeBron, you've got a chance. Period. The addition of Mo Williams this year has been a godsend as James has a second option and a feeder built into one. The loss of Pavlovic for 6 weeks has them in the market for a replacement 2 guard. Watch for small movement.

Detroit (27-22)
It's a little odd to see the Pistons play the way they've played this year. We knew they were getting older, and Dumars move to break up the band and bring in AI hasn't really paid off the way he wanted it to. I think this team is shocked they're not longer the toast of the East, and they'll be blown up big time.

Milwaukee (25-29)
Let's see. Michael Redd? Out for season. Andrew Bogut? Out for season. Luke Ridnour? Out for season. Tyronne Lue? Traded to Orlando. The cupboard is empty in the land of dairy.

Chicago (22-29)
Everyone agrees that Vinny Del Negro is over his head, but I think he's actually starting to assume some control over this team. Derrick Rose has made his case for ROY and the core of Deng and Gordon has been solid at best. A LOT of talk is going around Chicago of bringing in Amare to the fold. Interesting.

Indiana (20-32)
Another team hampered by injuries. Granger and Dunleavy are both hurt...unfortunately that's the core of the team. You're basically asking Queezy and Troy Murphy to take up slack. Ouch. Then again, Granger vows he'll play even if he has to limp everywhere, so, you know, the've got that going for them.

Southeast Division

Orlando (38-12)
I liked Orlando's chances this year, right up until All-Star PG, Jameer Nelson went down for the rest of the season with a bad shoulder. He's about as irreplaceable as it gets for them, so it'll be interesting to see what they do at the deadline. Superman in the middle gives them a fighting chance.

Atlanta (29-21)
That's one more team who's been bitten by injuries, but have managed to win enough early in the season to sustain them through the winter. Once Joe Johnson and Mike Bibby return, then this team can come back to form for the stretch to run at the 8.

Miami (27-23)
A team that is poised to make some moves at the deadline. D-Wade has done it all, but he's not the transcendant player that other one man shows are (unless the refs help him out, see 2006 NBA Finals).

Charlotte (20-31)
MJ has to be a scratch golfer because he sure as hell ain't paying any attention to his team. They just moved Adam Morrison to the Lakers for nothing. A core of Phoenix cast offs aren't going to do much for you, nor is the Wallace and Radmanovic connection.

Washington (11-40)
Here's what you need to know about the Wizards this year. Arenas has yet to play since last year, and they've matched their loss total from last year before the All-Star Break. Yeah.

Western Conference

Northwest Division

Denver (34-17)
The Nuggnuts have made a point this year to pretty much destroy any team at or below 500 for the season. That might explain the pretty record they're sitting at right now. That or this season's power couple of Melo and Chauncey.

Portland (31-19)
Ahh yes, my favorite young team in the NBA. Portland is finally trying to live up to the potential they've got, and they're still building. Oden, Roy and Aldridge have been defending the castle to perfection, and probably giving Seattle fans something to hold on to from a basketball perspective. If Oden stays consistent, the Blazers will streak into the playoffs and be "that team"

Utah (29-23)
I'm not sure if you've sensed a theme or not, but injuries have played a part in demoralizing teams this season. Boozer, Kirilenko and Williams have all been hurt for periods of time this season...most of them at the same time. Deron Williams, however, as managed to come back and hold the team together to poise them for something when the other two return.

Minnesota (17-33)
Maybe Kevin McHale can finally be fired. This team's last gasp hope died when Al Jefferson went down for the rest of the year with a torn ACL.

Kevin Durants (13-38)
I'll say this much. If Sam Presti is as smart as Spurs fans say he is, he'll make up an injury for Durant and force these guys to tank the way to the lottery pick to get hometown stud, Blake Griffin.

Pacific Division

LA - Lakers (41-9)
This team is better than last year's team...and yeah, Bynum's out for the rest of the season again (probably). Pau Gasol has gotten used to the team. Lamar Odom has grown comfortable in the 6th spot and Trevor Ariza is playing above his head. If Morrison can find a groove off the bench. Oof.

Phoenix (28-22)
They're in full scale blow up mode. Everyone and anyone is on the table, including Terry Porter. Good bye, everybody. It's time to go. Does Nash go to New York? Does Amare go to Chicago? Does Shaq Twitter himself into insanity?

Golden State (17-35)
Yeah, Baron Davis was that important to Nelly's system. You compound that with injuries (again!) and the new loss of Biedrins...well, the lottery isn't that bad if you have a pick, right?

LA - Clippers (12-40)
Really, is anyone suprised by this team's suck-itude anymore? Baron Davis wasn't the answer, and neither is Coach Dunleavy.

Sacramento (11-41)
The town of the cow bell is quiet. Webber had his jersey retired and Divac's is going to have his retired next month. The Sad Sac Kings moniker has never fit so well.

Southwest Division

San Antonio (34-15)
Is anyone going to argue that Gregg Popovich is the best coach in the league? Seriously. You can argue he's got talent, but he knows what to do with them. If they're hurt, he knows how to survive. Long game stretch? Sit 'em for gmes that don't matter and conserve gas. The loss of Sam Presti didn't hurt him, so it's obviously Pop's genius, right? Fuck Tim Duncan with a ping pong paddle.

New Orleans (30-19)
Last year's darlings haven't been so darling this year, but that doesn't mean they're in trouble. David West and chris Paul (hurt right now) are still the leaders of this team and they can turn it on when they need to. The key thing is, they're not "new and sexy" anymore.

Dallas (30-20)
You know, I like Rick Carlisle and what he's doing. I think the beginning of the year he was still feeling out his players and figuring out who fit in what roles the best way. Now he's got his players playing the way they should be playing. He turned over the play calling to Kidd, and we've seen him revitalize himself. Dirk is Dirk and Howard is returning the form. Carlisle has cut Terry lose to become the premiere shooter on the team, a role they oh so desperately need. Probem is, Terry broke his hand and is out for a minimum of 6 weeks (unless he pulls a Carmelo Anthony and returns in 3). Look for the Mavs to deal for a shooter before the deadline.

Houston (31-21)
Here's a fun fact. Everyone else has been hit really hard by the injury bug. Houston is normally always injured. Houston happens to be quite healthy (for them) these days. So, what's the issue? Yao doesn't like T-Mac. Rafer Alston doesn't like anyone. The Scola-Landry connection isn't as productive as it has been. Oh, and that Ron Artest thing? Hasn't worked they way they'd hoped it would.

Memphis (15-36)
The lowly Grizz. You've fired your coach. You've lost 12 straight under two replacement coaches. What's left? Nothing. Just turn it in and make sure you turn off the lights in the arena...least you can do is be green.

So that's it. Hope that provides an ample enough update on what's happening in the Association for you this season.

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