Ok, first things first, to the commenter of chastised me for not mentioning the Clippers last week, you’re right. that was major mistake on my part. In my defense, I likely grew so accustomed to them winning that it eventually just became like white noise to me. Well, they finally suffered a defeat last week, but they are still in very good shape. They play very well as a team, and they have a top-5 player in Chris Paul. I’d love to see the Grizzlies get some sweet revenge in them come playoff time, but it won’t be an easy task.
Just when the Lakers looked they had finally turned the corner, they’ve dropped two of their last three, and their record currently stands at 15-16. The return of Steve Nash has given the offense a big boost, but he still can’t play defense, and teams like the Nuggets won’t have much difficulty exploiting the Lakers’ ever-weakening D.
The Mavericks finally got Dirk Nowitzki back, but he has having some difficulty getting his old form back. The Mavs have been bringing off the bench, and his legendary jumper is a bit warped right now. Hopefully, Dirk will improve as the season goes on, because it’s no fun to watch him like this. The Mavs keep sliding, with their current record at 13-19. Their chances of making the playoffs are getting slimmer and slimmer with each passing week.
The Warriors continue to prove they are not in the flash in the pan, as they’ve won three in a row, and have improved their record to a robust 21-10. Right now, they are the 5-seed in the West, which means if the playoffs were to start today, the Grizzlies would play them. Frankly, I’d be a bit nervous about that matchup right now. The hope would be that the Grizzlies’ considerable defensive superiority would carry them to victory, but the Warriors offense might be strong enough to take them down. It would certainly be an entertaining series.
The Kings finally got something to smile about when they beat the Kings 106-105 on a buzzer-beating three by James Johnson. This team is still a mess, though, with DeMarcus Cousins being a problem that no one is entirely sure how to solve. he has all the potential in the world, but the Kings might be stuck in a rut until they can trade him for a decent set of role players, and find someone to build around either in free agency or the draft.
The Hornets finally have Eric Gordon back. They are currently trying to ease him back into play by having him come off the bench, but really, when you’re starting 2-guard is Austin Rivers (possibly the worst player in the league), and you aren’t winning anyway, I don’t know why you wouldn’t just have Gordon start as quickly as possible. Would it really stunt his recovery that much? I tend to doubt it.
The Blazers demand to be taken seriously, whether you feel like it or not. Just when a loss to the Lakers had them looking like pretenders, they put up a few more wins, and once again find themselves under .500. I keep thinking this team can’t possibly make the playoffs, that with the Rockets, Nuggets, Wolves, Jazz, and Lakers all in the mix, there just isn’t enough room for them. With every passing win, however, that feeling gets weaker and weaker. The great play of rookie Damian Lillard, coupled with Lamarcus Aldridge’s monster post presence makes them too scary to completely write-off.
The Rockets are pretty dangerous, too, as James Harden and Jeremy Lin continue to learn how to play together. Harden especially has been deadly as of late, scoring over 25 every night. Unfortunately, his talents weren’t enough to carry Houston passed his old team, as the Thunder obliterated them this past Saturday. Houston is talented enough to make the playoffs, but their lack of depth and defense means they are unlikely to get out of the first round. Still, they have a very bright future.
Ugh, just when the Spurs were slumping, they go on another big winning streak, and re-establish their throne at the top of the Southwest division. Of course. Well, I’m still not sure this team has what it takes to make a deep playoff run, but their deep enough, and well-coached enough to be scary in every situation. I wouldn’t want to play them in round 1, that’s for sure. And I totally hope the Lakers have to play them in Round 1….