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So, how long before we pour a 40 in the street for the Lakers? Yes, they blew another one last night, going down 125-112 at the hands of the Rockets, whose high-powered offense had little trouble exploiting the Lakers extremely weak defense. At this point, the possibility of the Lakers missing the playoffs should be taken seriously. The loss of Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol is a huge blow, and they weren’t doing all that well in the first place. Nothing is guaranteed for them right now.

Actually, the aforementioned Houston Rockets are far more likely to get in at this point. They have the scariest offense in the league, and James Harden has become part of the MVP race. This team is young, fast, and unafraid of anyone. I’d be stunned if they didn’t make the playoffs.

Meanwhile, the Mavericks lengthy run of consecutive playoff appearances looks to be drawing to a close. The team is well under .500, and is still struggling as they integrate Dirk Nowitzki back into the lineup. The Mavs should seriously consider trading Nowitzki, and just rebuilding for the future. Their run of excellence has reached an end, and now begins the long climb back to the top.

The Hornets are showing signs of life with Eric Gordon back in the lineup, as they’ve won four of their last six games. It’s too bad Gordon was out for so long, because now, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to march into the playoff race. Had he been around from the start, they’d likely be contending for the 8-seed. Well, there’s always next year. Just as long as Eric Gordon stays healthy…….

The Clippers got revenge on the Warriors with a decisive win this past weekend. Warriors fans shouldn’t be too worried by this, though. At this point, it’s clear that the Warriors a legit contenders in the west, and they were just having a very bad night against a very good team. Meanwhile, the Clippers have become a very scary team. Still, I really want the Grizz to draw them in the playoffs this year. We need closure. We need revenge,

The Blazers are currently 19-16, and they demand to be taken seriously as a playoff contender. Yes, they’re young, but the talent here is immense. Damian Lillard has arrived more fully formed than any rookie point guard since Chris Paul. He’s a shoe-in for ROY, and with LaMarcus Aldridge returning to his all-star form, while Nicolas Batum continues to justify his big contract, this team gets a little scarier with each passing week.

The Wolves saw Kevin Love go down once again, as he and Ricky Rubio continue to shuffle in and out of the lineup. Of course, with Love’s dreadful shooting, they might not be too worse for wear without him. The injuries are going to catch up to this team, however. Cohesion is important for season-long success in the NBA, and with so many players going down, the Wolves simply do not have it. I wouldn’t be surprised if they just missed the 8th spot in the West, settling for yet another lottery pick.

The Nuggets have recovered from the brutal start to their season, and appear to be the contender we thought they were, even if their record doesn’t reflect it just yet. Look for this team to win a lot of games in the second half of the year, and slowly climb the playoff ladder. They will be a nightmare matchup for whoever draws them in round one. If it’s the Grizzlies, it will simply be a question of whether their D can match Denver’s explosive O. It would certainly be fun to watch.

The Thunder seriously embarrassed themselves by dropping a game to the lowly Wizards Monday night. As brutal as this was, it really doesn’t say much about the Thunder. They’re a very good team who was having an off night. It happens. This really hurts the Grizzlies, though. How cool can it be to say you’ve beaten the Heat and the Thunder if the Wizards have done it, too? That was a huge source of bragging rights for Memphis, and now it’s completely gone out the window. But hey, at least the Wizards haven’t beaten the Lakers yet…although that would be hilarious.

There’s only so much you can say about the Spurs right now. They were good last week, they’ll be good this week. It was a bit fun to watch the Knicks have a field day on San Antonio’s reserves, after Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili were taken out of the game, which was San Antonio’s fourth in five nights. The Knicks knew they had gotten incredibly lucky, and unlike the Heat, they weren’t going to let the opportunity pass them by.

There’s a few teams I didn’t get to, but none of them did anything especially notable this past week, although I suppose the Suns potentially making a move for Rudy Gay is big news. That will be covered in other areas, however. As for the Jazz and Kings, they were really boring this week. If they did something important that I forgot, please let me know. Until then, see you next week, and keep watching the skis…….uh, skies.

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One Response to Western Connections

  1. CarlCRNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for a great summary of all the West teams. My only comment is that revenge is hardly never a good motivator. We want the Grizzlies to win in the playoffs because they are better and can beat them. Period. Whether it is the Clippers, Spurs, Thunder or whoever.

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