Hello America, spring is in the air and the Sizzle is on your computer machine. As we discussed we’ll be whittling down the rankings as we stumble towards the playoffs, so this week we’ll say goodbye to the Wizards and Hornets.
We can all hope that the New Orleans ownership situation gets fixed in the offseason and this team can start rebuilding. As for the Wizards, they made some positive moves at the trade deadline bringing in Nene and shedding Nick Young and McGee.
But you came here to read about teams that will make the playoffs this year, so let’s get into it. As always teams are ranked on our 100 point Sizzle Scale.
27. New Jersey-30- Sadly the most buzz they might generate before their move to Brooklyn next year is the buzz of losing Deron Williams. They whiffed on Dwight Howard, failed to put anyone around Williams and didn’t have Jay-Z performing at every single halftime show. Not good Nets.
26. Toronto-32- The Raptors gave the Bobcats just their seventh win of the year this week. Why don’t we just stick with that.
25. Detroit -36- The Pistons played some entertaining games this week including taking the Clippers to overtime
and then losing 116-115 at Denver. Monroe and Stuckey give the Pistons some hope going forward, especially if they can add another piece in the draft this year.
24. Sacramento-40- The Kings had a great week beating Boston, Minnesota and Memphis at home. Marcus Thornton had 91 points, 14 assists, 12 steals and only three turnovers in those games.
23. Golden State-43- A win against New Orleans broke the Warriors four game losing streak, all of which came after trading Monta Ellis
for an injured Andrew Bogut. Golden State should permanently affix a “Yeah, But Wait Til Next Year” banner to their arena.
22. Cleveland-46- The Cavs aren’t going to make the playoffs this year, so they should make sure they don’t fall too far up the draft lottery if you know what I mean. The difference between picking 6th and 8th could be huge this year Cleveland. Just think before you win.
21. Milwaukee-49- Milwaukee on the other hand just might be playoff-ing this year. They’ve won six straight including a blowout win over Portland on the road Tuesday. If Jennings and Ellis can play well together, this team could make for a fun first round series.
20. Portland-52- Beware the Ides of March. Since Leap Day
, the Blazers have lost 9 of 12, fired their coach, released former number one pick Greg Oden and traded Gerald Wallace. At least they got the Nets’ 1st round draft pick in the Wallace trade. Greg Oden says ‘don’t blow it.’
19. Minnesota-54- The Wolves haven’t been the same since Rubio went down with his season ending injury. Kevin Love is doing his best One Man Show including 36 points and 16 rebounds against Golden State, but Minnesota continues to creep down the standings as the losses pile up.
18. Phoenix-56- The week started out well with wins against the Clippers, Pistons and Rockets. But road games at Miami and Orlando exposed the Suns’ frontcourt with Chris Bosh
and Ryan Anderson each going off for 29 points.
17. Boston-58- Rondo is averaging 12.5 assists in his last six games to close the gap on Steve Nash for the season assist title. Nash is at 11apg on the season while Rondo is up to 10.4asp. And if I’m the only person who still cares about the NBA assist crown, then we’ve already lost.
16. New York-60- Call it whatever kind of ___Sanity you please, the Knicks have won five straight and are within three games of the division lead thanks to a head to head win over the Sixers this week. This team has been a nightmare and a dream at various points this season, but they still have the kind of talent that makes them a threat
in the postseason.
15. Utah-63- The Jazz won four straight this week to stay within a half game of Houston for the final playoff spot. They were especially impressive in a road victory against the Lakers followed by a seven point win against the Thunder. They held Kevin Durant under 20 points, an accomplishment worth some back patting.
14. Houston-64- The Rockets cling to the eighth spot in the West after falling to Phoenix and the Clippers this week before beating the Lakers at home. Goran Dragic was huge for Houston in that game with 16 points and 13 assists.
13. Denver-66- The Nuggets were 5-4 on their homestand that went W-L-W-L-W-L-W-L-W. They now head on the road for seven games and will hope for better, or at least more consistent, results.
12. Indiana-68- The Pacers lost back to backs against the Knicks in New York and Indianapolis, and didn’t look comfortable in either setting. They bounced back with a solid win against the Clippers thanks to Danny Granger’s 25
11. Philly-70- The Sixers picked a bad time to lose four of five, a time when they should be putting their foot down on the Celtics and Knicks. Instead they’re using their foot to kick the door wide open down the stretch. Friday’s home game against Boston looms large.
10. LA Clippers-72
9. Memphis-73- With the Clippers fading in the division race against the Lakers it would appear that the race will instead be for the fourth seed and homecourt in the first round. Memphis and the Clippers are tied with Dallas for 4th-6th
in the West. We’ll see how these teams respond during the coming weeks. Dallas has been here before in a regular season race, the Clippers and Grizzlies have not.
8. Dallas -75- The Champs, and more specifically Dirk, looked good this week in beating San Antonio and Denver. They lost their most recent effort against the Lakers, but they’ve put themselves in position to vault up the Western Conference standings.
7. Atlanta-77- Joe Johnson averaged over 27ppg this week and the Hawks
won three of four to end their recent struggles. Atlanta certainly wants to avoid falling into the seventh or eighth spots and seeing either the Bulls or Heat in the first round. If Johnson keeps up this play, that won’t be a concern.
6. Orlando-80- The Magic had a great opportunity to prove themselves elite this week and came up short. They lost to both Miami and Chicago putting up only 59 points against the Bulls. Granted the Magic have beaten both teams this month, but it would appear they shied away from the moment this week.
5. LA Lakers-84- Despite what he’s publically said about losing long time backcourt buddy Derrick Fisher, Kobe has to be pleased with the play of Ramon Sessions in the purple and gold. Session’s numbers
have improved across the board with each game he plays in L.A. Could this mean we have to start taking the Lakers seriously again as title contenders?
4. San Antonio-84- Injuries and age be damned, all the Spurs seem to do is win. However depth and age will be tested as San Antonio plays five games in six days starting Friday. If they survive that stretch they should stay in the driver’s seat for the two seed.
3. Oklahoma City-90- The Thunder who have made consistency their hallmark this season suddenly don’t seem so consistent. They’ve lost four of eight and haven’t won two games in a row since March 7th. Sunday the Thunder will host Miami in what basketball fans everywhere would hope was a Finals preview
2. Miami-93- After losing to Chicago the Heat have won three straight including beating division foe Orlando 91-81. LeBron injured his elbow
in a collision with Grant Hill in a win over Phoenix, but insists he is ok.
1. Chicago-95- The Bulls are a league best 39-10, three games up on the Heat in the East. More importantly, they’ve won four of five without MVP Derrick Rose who’s out with a pulled groin. If they can thrive without Rose, it bodes very well for Chicago.