NBA week in review

Posted: 02/13/2012 by levcohen in Basketball

The NBA season is getting close to the midway point, at what seems like an astonishing pace. Now for the power rankings:

#1:  Chicago Bulls, (23-7, last week #1): Yep. I keep the Bulls at #1, even after a disappointing loss to the Celtics. They continued to blow out opponents before that loss. They beat the Nets, Hornets, and Bobcats by a combined score of 293-219. That is very impressive, even though the teams they beat aren’t, uh, powerhouses. However, as I have said before, the Bulls aren’t terribly concerned with how they look 30 games into the season. They need all of their players (most notably MVP Derrick Rose) healthy to have a chance at an NBA championship. Right now, Rose has bad back problems, and other players have been banged up. CJ Watson has been a solid backup PG, but he is certainly no Derrick Rose. GET HEALTHY BULLS. (We don’t need the Heat to win another Eastern Conference Championship).

2: San Antonio Spurs, (19-9, last week NR): I have to admit, I should have ranked them last week. This week though, they took major strides, and look like (maybe) the best team in the West. They picked up impressive wins against Memphis, Philadelphia, and New Jersey (all away), and have now won 7 straight games. Even better, they just got Manu Ginobli back, and he is a big part of the offense. I was at the game against the 76ers, and I was impressed by their defense, but mostly by Tony Parker. This is a veteran team that has had success together, and it seemed as if they knew exactly where the ball was going and who was going to shoot it on each possession. Parker is great at drawing fouls (13 ft) and good at making them (13 made FT). He is great at the pick and roll offense, and scoring off the dribble (8 assists, 37 points). With Manu back, this is a very experienced, very successful team.

3: Miami Heat, (21-7, last week #2): The Heat had another workhouse week, going 3-1, with the lone loss being a 13 point loss to the Magic. Dwayne Wade looks to be fully healthy, and led his team in points in 3 of the 4 games they played in the last week. One possible problem they might have is guarding good C’s. Their 7 losses have been against: Atlanta, Golden State, LA Clippers, Denver, Milwaukee (twice), and most recently Orlando. When they lost to Atlanta, the Hawks had Al Horford healthy (16 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks, a steal), and Horford is one of the most talented PF/C’s in the league. Golden State has David Lee (20 points, 14 rebounds in that game), an easy double double most games. The Clippers have Blake Griffin, who sails in for such easy, highlight reel dunks (20 points, 12 rebounds, a steal and a block). Against the Nuggets, Nene Hilario scored 17 points with 12 boards and a block. Andrew Bogut was actually healthy in the first matchup against the heat, and responded with 13 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks and a steal. In the second loss against the Bucks, Bogut was injured (surprise, surprise), but, guess what? Two other big men stepped up big. Drew Gooden and Ersan Ilyasova combined for 26 points, 23 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Lastly, when they played against Dwight Howard and the Magic, it didn’t end well. Howard exploded for 25 points, 24 rebounds, 2 blocks and 3 steals.

So, the thing in common between all those losses, is the big men on the team that defeated the Heat all played above their average, and way above the average C. The Heat need to fix this if they want to win it all.

4: Oklahoma City Thunder, (21-6, last week #4): The Thunder had a big win and a bad loss last week. They beat the Trailblazers away (in a hard stadium to play in) and lost at Sacramento. They also edged Golden State and easily beat Utah in the past week, so, all in all, a good week. Everything is the same in Thunder land. They have unbalanced scoring, but still find ways to win.

5: Philadelphia 76ers, (20-9, last week #3): The Sixers had a 2-2 week. They lost to the Spurs and Clippers at home, and cruised to easy home wins against the Cavs and Bobcats. In other words, they continue to beat who they are supposed to beat and over 50% of teams = to or > than them. Pretty good, and it seems like they will get home court advantage for 1 round in the playoffs, which is all fans could have hoped for before the year.

Fantasy player of the week:
Josh Smith, SF/PF:
Smith continues to be a fantasy asset, with his dual eligibility. In the past week, though, he has put up fantastic all around stats. He is  averaging over 19 points per game, to go along with nearly 11 rebounds per game. He has added 4.5 assists per game and 1.75 steals per game, huge for a PF. He has added his usual 2 blocks per game. On the % front,  in the last four he has shot 48%, and has upped his FT% recently, going 13/18 (72%) in the past week.

Fantasy add of the week:

I would say Jeremy Lin, but everybody has already picked him up, with Linsanity and all.

Randy Foye, PG-SG, Clippers:
With Chauncey Billups out for the season, Foye will start at SG for the remainder of the season. Look for him to put up fantasy worthy numbers: 13 points, 5 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.5 3’s is my projection.

Fantasy drop of the week:

Baron Davis, NY PG:
For those of you who was wasting a roster spot on an injured Davis, drop him. He still is injured, and with the emergence of Lin, he won’t even start when he gets back.

  1. sonicsfan says:

    I like the Clippers, despite Billups being hurt. In general I favor the Western over the Eastern conference. Exploring which conference is better now, and in past years, might be a good blog post. Somebody must be keeping track of the head-to-head record. It has seemed to me that, over the past 20 years or so, more of the top 10 teams in basketball in any given year have been from the Western Conference. Perhaps that perception comes from recent years where sub-500 teams from the east have made it into the playoffs.

    I’d also like to see your thoughts on why the Sixers have such a good record. Is it a scheduling thing? Have they just played a lot of home games? Or games against weak teams? Have they done a west coast swing yet? I thought the story at the beginning of the year was the improvement in Hawes, but he seems to have been hurt a lot.

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