Another crazy night in the NBA . . . the good guys won for the most part; though, tonight looks to be a straight up knife fight for some Western Conference teams. And yes, for whatever reason I am still tracking the NBA Playoffs and the NBA Draft this early out -- for a team that does not appear to be able to be a player in either the playoffs or the lotto. The old ways are our ways, it seems.
What Happened Last Night:
- DAL (6) got blasted by CLE (E), 127-94: Dallas was the only team in the conference to lose tonight
- SAS (7) beat TOR (E), 117-107: Raps are in a free-fall right now
- NOP (9) beat BKN (E), 111-91: Pells now percentage points out of the playoffs
- UTA (11) beat NYK (E), 87-82: It wasn't the perfect game, but another game where the team failed to even score 85 points
- LAL (14) beat DET (E), 93-85: Two teams on big losing streaks, someone had to win.
Looking at the scores from the other teams ahead of us it looks like they are playing a completely different type of game. What mean this "pace" you speak of?
Western Conference Standings:
The Dubs are out ahead of everyone, and looks like it will remain that way. There's 5.5 games between the #2 seed and the #7 seed. I really believe that teams will most likely be fighting for position all the way down to game 81 and 82. That may be bad for the Jazz, who have a brutal finishing stretch. But C'est la vie.
Aside from the majority of the West playoffs things are heating up for the final spot. I don't know if it is honor to fight to get slaughtered (like Utah did all those years ago in that San Antonio sweep...), but OKC and NOP are so close they are Lannisters. Well, maybe not THAT close. But close still.
The bottom part of the conference is a mess, but seems to be an orderly one at that. The T-Wolves will not be caught by the Lakers; who themselves will not be caught by the Kings or Nuggets; who are all too far below the Jazz right now. Utah is only 5.0 games from Phoenix, and personally that's the race I am keeping my eye on.
The Race to the Bottom:
I've moved some of the columns around to make it easier to identify which teams are in the playoffs, and which are not. The hottest teams for winning are the Pacers, Pelicans, and Jazz. The hottest teams for tanking right now are the Pistons, Knicks, Kings, Nets, and sadly, the Raptors. They are 1-9 in their last 10. Who knew Dinos went extinct?
Beyond the daily movement up and down from some of the bunched up teams it's okay to recognize that the worst teams will have the most ping pong balls; but know this: the lotto is going to wreck two teams this year. I can feel it.
What Big Games are happening tonight?
- SAC (13) @ CHA (E8) -- Boogie and crew can still mess things up for the East
- MEM (2) @ BOS (E10) -- Boston is surprisingly good at home, but I don't really see them winning this game
- ORL (E13) @ MIL (E6) -- these two teams picked #2 and #4 last year in the draft
- LAC (5) @ OKC (8) -- big game for both teams
- ATL (E1) @ DEN (12) -- Go Hawks!
- MIN (15) @ PHX (10) -- we're going for the Wolves here . . . or at least I am
- GSW (1) vs DET (E) -- life doesn't get any easier for Detroit
- HOU (3) @ POR (4) -- HUUU-UUUGE game.
While these games are important, it's still the second week of March.
Bottom line? The Jazz won again last night, and in the world of the individual that is the only thing that matters.