Well, I think we all know how good the Clippers have been, eh? Sheesh, you’d think losing Chris Paul would take them down a peg, but they were certainly as scary as ever when they took down the Grizzlies. They were also missing Paul for their victory over the Rockets last night, and looked no worse for wear. This team might be a bit like last year’s Bulls, who were able to compete when Derrick Rose was out. They’re not quite the same team, but they can still win any one game, and they know it. they’ve become considerably deeper over the past year, and that’s what will make them so scary in the postseason.
As for that Rockets team, they’ve fallen on hard times lately, dropping four in a row, after previously being the hottest team in the league. they definitely seem like a team that is always going to run hot and cold. They have a lot of talent, and a top-10 player in James Harden, but losing is more frustrating for teams this young, especially when they feel like they can beat anyone. Still, I expect them to snap out of it and become one of the lower seeds in the West.
The Hornets continue to look like a much better team now that they finally have the entire lineup healthy. If they played in the East, we’d be talking about them making a playoff run, but in the highly competitive west, too much damage was done too soon for that to be a possibility. A big reason for their success has been the outstanding to play of third-year guard, and former Grizzly Greivis Vasquez. Vasquez displayed flashes of potential in his sole year with Memphis, but we never got to see him develop. I’m happy he’s found a home with the Hornets?Pelicans, but I’m always going to dream about what could’ve been.
The Blazers have been really fun to watch this season, but much like Houston, they’ve been going through a rough patch. Unlike the Rockets, however, they may not have the personnel to recover from it. They have a very good starting five, with Aldridge as the leader, Batum and Lillard as sidekicks, and Hickson and Matthews as great role players. The bench, however, is terrible, which means they are either going to go long stretches without scoring, or play their starters to death. They have a great future in front of them, but they might lack the depth to sneak into the postseason right now.
The Lakers have won their last two, bringing their overall record to an earth shattering 17-21! Best team ever? Who knows! Seriously, though, every time the Lakers get a few wins I think “ok, this is it, 15-game winning streak coming up,” and then it never pans out. Maybe the Lakers are finally about to turn into the juggernaut we thought they’d be, but I’m not holding my breath.
The Nuggets have been on fire lately, playing like a team who could be very scary in the postseason. Their brutal early schedule made them momentarily appear fraudulent, but with that out-of-the-way, Denver is reminding us why so many thought they could make a title run in the preseason. Are they that good? There’s no way to say for sure just now, but I wouldn’t take them lightly.
As for the rest of the west, well, this is a fairly light week. Normally, I try to talk about as many teams as I can, but there haven’t been as many games in recent days, so, we’re stuck with a lot of teams going 2-1, 1-2, or 1-1, which can only make for so much worthwhile discussion. Basically, we find ourselves in the same place we’ve been for most of the season: the Spurs, and the Thunder are really, really good, and the Grizzlies are trying their best to hang with them. Meanwhile, the Clippers have replaced the Lakers as the L.A. team everybody is afraid of.
One final note: the Kings appear to be headed to Seattle, and it’s certainly a difficult situation. Can one be happy for Seattle fans, while acknowledging the depressing situation now unfolding in Sacramento? Does Seattle lose all the sympathy it received because they now appear to be doing the same thing Oklahoma City did to them? Why can’t everyone have a team? I’m from Buffalo and I’d love a team. Back in 2001, there was a rumor going around that we were getting a team from Vancouver. That never panned out. Luckily, the fans in Memphis are pretty great, so I can’t be too bitter about that. See you next week, everybody!