Philadelphia 76ers…I want you to write on the chalkboard “I will NOT forget how to win” 10,000 times before I permit you to enter the rankings, again. Enough is enough, you cannot the close games they’ve been losing, and expect to hold teams like the Celtics and Knicks from eventually overtaking you. Wondering if Iggy gets moved before the March 15th deadline? On another note, anyone else doubting the Masked-Mamba? The only ‘games’ he plays, are mind games with his opponents. Not sure how long it will last, but Kobe has played his way back into the MVP discussion… So, Deron Williams put up 57 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists…and the Nets barely beat the Jordanettes. Dwight, seriously, that’s the team you want to leave a comfortable situation for? For the record, I don’t believe anything Danny Ainge says about Rajon Rondo…but I do believe in Rondo making Jeremy Lin his “son” in a meeting with the Knicks, on Sunday.
1.) Oklahoma City Thunder (29-8, LW #2) A road loss to the Hawks won’t stop the Thunder from taking the top spot from the Heat. Not when you’ve rattled off 7 of 8, and are coming home for a 5-game home stand that includes visits from Phoenix, Cleveland, and Charlotte. The true test will come on Monday night, as the defending champion Dallas Mavericks pay OKC a visit.
2.) Chicago Bulls (31-8, LW #4) The Bulls welcomed the return of Derrick Rose, and regained their winning ways. Rather than harping on what they don’t have, let’s just hope they can maintain a healthy MVP for the duration of the season. Looking toward the Monday match-up with Indiana as a real determining factor as to which team is a true threat.
3.) Miami Heat (28-9, LW #1) Not going to crush them for dropping a tough road loss, without Bosh, to a surging Lakers squad…but I simply can’t fail to mention James’ recent late-game shortcomings. It’s this simple..LeBron is playing an MVP-type year that we’ve (statistically) never seen before, but nothing will be done in the playoffs/Finals until he can manage to get his ‘head’ right.
4.) Los Angeles Lakers (23-14, LW #9) Why the big jump? Were you not paying attention as I told you to “watch out” for them, over the last few weeks? Reports are, the Lakers are definitely looking to improve the PG and SF position, but their recent success may mean the rumors of Gasol to the Celtics for Rondo will remain as just that. Find it hard to believe, recent success aside, this team will stand pat.
5.) San Antonio Spurs (25-12, LW #3) The Spurs received Ginobili back from his strained oblique, but still dropped a close one to Denver. Following an 11-game streak, the Spurs have lose 3 of 5. Was the streak “much ado about nothing”, or will the Spurs flourish over this 4-game home stretch (Knicks, Clippers, Wizards, Magic)?
6.) Los Angeles Clippers (22-13, LW #5) I can already hear all the brand-new Clippers fans complaining about teams being ranked ahead of them, that are currently behind them in the standings. As with any rankings, it’s subjective, and really depends upon the pulse of the team. Stop losing 4 of 7, and stop alienating your fanbase with shrewd moves like dumping “Clipper Darrel” and releasing vindictive statements.
7.) Indiana Pacers (23-13, LW #8) So, Real Talk, you ask…”how come the Pacers only moved up ONE spot?” Simple, they’re 6-game winning streak features victories over the Bobcats (twice), Nets, Hornets (twice), and the Warriors (at home). Want to prove me wrong? Prove it against the next 7 opponents: Chicago/Atlanta/Miami/Orlando/Portland/Philly/NYK.
8.) Orlando Magic (24-14, LW #7) With everyone tired of the Dwight Howard trade talk, no one seems to be throwing out crazy trade proposals, anymore. Will that mean some serious negotiation is actually taken place, or will Dwight/Orlando ride things out until the off-season. Sadly, the Magic are only, actually, compelling…with the trade talk.
9.) Memphis Grizzlies (22-15, LW N/A) Don’t look now, but the Grizzlies have won 7/8 AND should be getting healthy ZBo back. Don’t look now, but they play 9 of the next 13 games on the road. That stretch will determine whether they are legit.Tough back to back against Phoenix and Denver to end the week.
10.) Dallas Mavericks (22-16, LW #6) Why? Because someone has hold Philly accountable for stinking so royally since about 1 week before the AS break. Dirk tweaked a back, Cuban brought Lamar back, but they still can’t win with consistency. Kiss this spot “goodbye” if you have another up/down week, Champs.
Jabari A. Davis
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