1. Miami Heat. 55-14. Only one thing is slowing down Miami’s streak, a leak in a condensation machine of a stadium. Teams better review how Cleveland almost beat the Heat in last week’s LeBron homecoming game. A piece of advice, don’t field your top 3 scorers in your team and Miami will not feel ‘challenged’, well, not until you build up a 27 point lead. Miami won’t feel the threat to that streak until the game against Spurs on March 31st.
2. Denver Nuggets. 49-22. The Denver Nuggets are Western conference’s own streak freak! Coach Karl is acting like a drill sergeant telling his army “No time for rest, keep winning men!” until the mission is over. They have beaten OKC at their own turf, they deserved to be ranked higher. If they beat the Spurs at San Antonio, then they’ll be aiming for at most 26 wins if they keep the streak till the last game of the season.
3. San Antonio Spurs 53-17. They were alone atop the league a month ago until the streaking Miami overtook them. Now a streaking Denver wants a piece of the pole position in the west. Not to mention OKC who’s been chasing them the whole season. They are still playing excellent basketball even without their starting point guard. They lead the NBA in assists per game. They still have the best record in the west. They’ll jolt to the #2 spot if they stop the runaway Denver train.
4. Oklahoma City Thunders 52-19. OKC’s loss to the Nuggets created a trifecta situation. Who goes 1-2-3 is too early to tell but you can start placing your bets now. ‘San Antonio is leading the pack with 1.5 horse-lengths over OKC but don’t you blink now ladies and gentlemen, here come the Nuggets streaking from the outside in the home stretch.’ The winner will bag the Western conference derby crown.
5. LA Clippers 48-22 I almost forgot about the Clippers in the Western Conference race. They’re only 5 games behind the Spurs and half a game behind the Nuggets. But they have a problem winning on the road against a Kings’ team who are way out of contention. Their last road game win was on the 1st of March against the Cavaliers. They have more road games than home games left. They’ll have trouble keeping pace with the Nuggets if they can’t win on the road.
6. Memphis Grizzlies 47-22. I’ve been praising their defense as their best weapon to contend in the west but the injury to Mark Gasol has significant impact to that middle lane. His team leading 1.7 blocks per game will be missed on half court defense including his 7.8 rebounds a game, second to Zack Randolph’s 11.6 rpg. They have dropped 3 road games in a row and with 8 more itineraries out of Memphis, forget about keeping up with the top 3 teams in the west.
7. Indiana Pacers 43-27. The Pacers are in a race for the best available spot not occupied by Miami in the Eastern Conference. They are on the verge of being remembered as the last team to beat the Heat this season. The 2 NY teams are gaining on them.
8. New York Knicks 42-26. They just bounced back from 0-4 road games against playoff contenders and now with a 4 straight wins against non playoff teams. Bad news. They’ve got 9 more games against playoff bound teams in their last 13 games. Good news. They’re making the playoffs.
9. Brooklyn Nets 41-29. I always look forward to a team’s future opponent and the Nets have a better schedule than the Knicks. They have 4 games against playoff teams out of their remaining 12. They’ll take the Atlantic division lead next week.
10. LA Lakers . 36-34. The Lakers are finally healthy with Kobe and Gasol back in the lineup. They will begin their campaign against the Warriors tonight then against 4 more playoff teams from the Western conference. A chance to catapult to that number 6 spot. This is the lineup that was projected to win 60 games or more but they having problem winning 40 games with barely 12 games to go.
11. Golden State Warriors 40-31 Their win against the Rockets last week kept them at the number 6 spot in the Western Conference. Tonight’s game against the Lakers will either make or break the team’s spirit.
12. Houston Rockets 39-31. The Rockets need a momentum to stay away from number 8 spot. Maybe after tonight’s GSW game they’ll have a free ticket to number 6.
13. Atlanta Hawks 39-31. The Hawks continue to impress or are they just trying their best to stay away from number 8?. They’re 3-0 against the Bucks who are number 8 in the East’s standings and they incidentally overtook the Bulls and the Celtics in the process.
14. Chicago Bulls 38-31. No Rose, no Joakim Noah, no problem beating Indiana. They needed that win after dropping 4 in a row. After the Miami game on Wednesday, Bulls’ schedule looks better.
15. Boston Celtics . 36-33. After giving the Heat “the fright” to end their streak, the Celtics dropped 3 more games. Have they used all that energy in trying to beat the Miami Heat? Time to suck it up, Boston marathon finish line is just a few miles up!
16. Milwaukee Bucks 34-35. Another sub .500 playoff team in the Eastern Conference. This will make the Miami Heat take a vacation in the first round of the playoffs.
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