So now that we're tracking both the playoffs (the usual) and the lotto (the new) we have an expanded "While you were sleeping" schedule to track. Here was all the action from last night:
- The Grizzlies beat the 76ers -- no one is going to catch Philly (currently on a 20 game losing streak, yes, they only have 15 total wins this year) so that part of the equation doesn't matter -- Memphis is now tied with Dallas at 39-27, and both are 1.5 games behind the Dubs and charging fast. Memphis is now 7-3 in their last 10 game.
- The Knicks beat the Bucks -- I don't really care about the Knicks, but I'm happy they won because only a few weeks ago they were a little too close to us in the standings. The Bucks losing is good because Philly is doing an obvious tank job. Karma dictates that the Bucks (who tired to win with their off-season moves) have more ping pong balls at the end of the season.
- The Kings lost to the Bulls -- they are now only 1.0 games behind the Lakers / Jazz / Celtics. I guess I couldn't have asked for them to beat the Bulls. Joakim Noah is playing like an MVP candidate of late and is far and away the best center in the league. (Even if his NBA 2k stats won't reflect it)
- The Pistons lost to the Pacers -- we knew they would. Detroit is now inching closer to the Kings, only 2.0 games behind.
- The Hawks beat the Nuggets, and they flip flopped again in the 'actual' standings. It's funny how one is in the playoffs and the other is 12th in their conference.
- The Nets lost to the Wizards -- but Brooklyn, holding court at #16 out of #20 here finds itself in the Top Half of the league
Movers and Shakers:
- There are five real groups in this contest for the rest of the season: The Bucks/76ers fight, the Orlando decision (are they going to rise, fall, or stay the same), the Lakers/Jazz/Celtics/Kings fight, and everyone else. With how much the standings can change in one night it's just crazy to expect anyone to feel too secure after one night of action.
- The Knicks are making a mini-statement that they don't suck as hard as they used to, but will their history of sucking so hard prevent them from getting up and into the playoffs?
- If you look at Golden State as the target, DAL/MEM are 1.5 back; PHX is 3.0 back; MIN is 7.5 back. Thanks for trying for a while there, Minny.
- Even if PHX, DAL, MEM can't knock GSW out of the playoffs they can at least try to bump their draft spot up a little. Picking at #26 would suck. Picking at #21 would be much better.
- Orlando and Denver only have three games remaining against the bottom 10 teams in the league, meaning that the majority of their games will be against better teams, which should result in more and more losses. For Orlando this means that 12 of 15 remaining games will be against teams that aren't the worst teams ever. For Denver this means that 13 of 16. The numbers are similar for the team that only have four remaining games against the worst teams: Milwaukee, Utah, Sacramento, New Orleans, Atlanta, and Memphis.
- That sucks, because it means the road will be a little harder for Memphis, but when healthy, they're probably a Top 10 team in the league so it shouldn't matter as much. Hopefully.
- The opposite is also something to watch. For the Nets 9 of their last 18 games (their total remaining games) will be against teams in the Bottom 10. That's 50% against teams they should automatically win against. It will be harder for them to lose a lot of games. Sadly, this is also the case for the Golden State Warriors who will play 7 of their last 15 games against the bottom 10; and meh-ly for the Bobcats who will play 7 of their last 16 against the bottom 10.
The Big Board:
|Record||Last 10||Remaining||Standings||Game Result|
|1||Milwaukee Bucks||13||53||20%||0.0||2||8||20%||16||6||4||East 15||1||@ NYK||L||vs CHA|
|2||Philadelphia 76ers||15||51||23%||2.0||0||10||0%||16||10||5||East 14||2||vs MEM||L|
|3||Orlando Magic||19||48||28%||5.5||2||8||20%||15||11||3||East 13||3|
|4||Los Angeles Lakers||22||44||33%||9.0||3||7||30%||16||10||5||West 15||4|
|5||Utah Jazz||22||44||33%||9.0||2||8||20%||16||13||4||West 15||4||@ SAS|
|6||Boston Celtics||22||44||33%||9.0||3||7||30%||16||11||5||East 12||4||@ NOP|
|7||Sacramento Kings||23||43||35%||10.0||3||7||30%||16||12||4||West 13||7||@ CHI||L||@ MIN|
|8||Detroit Pistons||25||41||38%||12.0||2||8||20%||16||10||6||East 11||8||vs IND||L|
|9||Cleveland Cavaliers||26||40||39%||13.0||4||6||40%||16||11||6||East 10||9||@ LAC|
|10||New Orleans Pelicans||26||39||40%||13.5||3||7||30%||17||9||4||West 12||10||vs BOS|
|11||New York Knicks||27||40||40%||13.5||6||4||60%||15||10||6||East 9||10||3*||vs MIL||W|
|12||Denver Nuggets||29||37||44%||16.0||4||6||40%||16||9||3||West 11||12||4*||@ ATL||L|
|13||Atlanta Hawks||29||35||45%||17.0||4||6||40%||18||10||4||East 8||vs DEN||W|
|14||Charlotte Bobcats||32||34||48%||19.0||6||4||60%||16||12||7||East 7||@ MIL|
|15||Minnesota Timberwolves||32||32||50%||20.0||6||4||60%||18||13||6||West 10||13||vs SAC|
|16||Brooklyn Nets||33||31||52%||21.0||7||3||70%||18||16||9||East 6||1*||@ WAS||L|
|17||Phoenix Suns||37||28||57%||24.5||4||6||40%||17||12||6||West 9||14||@ TOR|
|18||Memphis Grizzlies||39||27||59%||26.0||7||3||70%||16||12||4||West 8||@ PHI||W|
|19||Dallas Mavericks||39||27||59%||26.0||6||4||60%||16||13||6||West 8||@ OKC|
|20||Golden State Warriors||41||26||61%||27.5||6||4||60%||15||12||7||West 6||2*||@ POR|
|1* - ATL has right to swap picks with BKN|
|2* - UTA owns GSW pick|
|3* - DEN owns NYK pick|
|4* - DEN owes ORL their lower of their two 1st round picks|
LOTS OF GAMES TONIGHT!
- MIL @ CHA -- Bucks on second night of a back to back, against a rested Bobcats playing in their den (warren? hidey-hole?), should be another great game for Al Jefferson
- UTA @ SAS -- Jazz at spurs, what could go wrong? After all, we're a team that can't even beat the Clippers in our own gym anymore . . . what a crazy season . . .
- BOS @ NOP -- Celtics and Pelicans, should be interesting. Pellies kinda want to lose, and so do the C's.
- SAC @ MIN -- This one is an obvious lose for the Kings, so I expect DeMarcus Cousins to go for a 20-20 games or something stupid.
- CLE @ LAC -- Cavs continue their crazy road trip, but hey, they beat the Warriors in their place earlier this trip. Anything can happen.
- PHX @ TOR -- this will be the most entertaining game of the night, if you have league pass. Gerald Green vs. DeMar DeRozan vs. Terrence Ross -- dunks on dunks on dunks! It's also sadly, a loss for the Suns.
- DAL @ OKC -- These two regional rivals will go at it, Dallas really needs to keep winning. This will be a challenge.
- GSW @ POR -- Not as daunting as they are in the same time zone, but still, we need another Warriors loss here.
If Dallas somehow wins, and the Warriors somehow lose, it'll be only a 0.5 game difference between the two teams for the 6th seed in the West.