The lake Show


Monday, March 2, 2009

This seems about right

2008-09 Power Rankings: Week 18
1 (1) Lakers 48-12 Let the debate begin. Do the Lakers deserve a one-week pardon after leaking 118 points to a Suns team without Nash or Stoudemire . . . but also after winning 11 of 12 without Bynum? We say yes. Barely.
2 (2) Cavaliers 46-12 Things can change quickly up here. With Delonte back, Joe Smith likely on the way, KG still ailing and the Lakers hitting an unexpected two-game funk, Cleveland is on the brink of nudging back into the top spot.
3 (3) Celtics 47-14 I keep hearing that adding Marbury and Mikki Moore this late in the season proves how vulnerable and desperate the champs are. Is this really so much different from adding P.J. Brown and Sam Cassell in March '08?
4 (4) Magic 43-16 We know Stan Van Gundy is prone to erupt after bad losses, but I suspect he kinda believed it when he said that the Magic -- even after the Alston acquisition -- are "kidding ourselves" to think they can go far.
5 (5) Spurs 39-19 Trivia time: Sunday's early (and stunning) 28-point deficit at Portland in Duncan's less-than-glorious return is the largest first-half deficit San Antonio has ever faced in Timmy's 12 seasons.
6 (6) Nuggets 39-21 No excuse for not having Furious George on our weekend list of COY contenders. Billups gets most of the credit for saving the post-Camby Nuggets, but with Melo's missing 15 games, Coach has to get some, too.
7 (9) Jazz 37-23 With its whole team healthy at last, Utah suddenly seems to be everyone's sleeper in the West. The only problem we see there is that it's tough to be a sleeper when that many people are talking up your chances.
8 (8) Rockets 38-22 The mood around the place has brightened so much since T-Mac shut it down for the season that the Rockets won't be obsessing over the massive lead they blew in Chicago. Not for too much longer, anyway.
9 (7) Trail Blazers 37-22 Nothing highlights the Blazers' dominance at home like the pounding they inflicted on the Spurs, but they still couldn't avoid a slight drop because the Jazz and Rockets had to move up. Those teams are that scorching.
10 (11) Hornets 36-22 The whole Tyson Chandler rescinded-trade saga only gets juicier: He has averaged 11.5 points and 12 boards in four games since returning after the canceled deal with OKC and an ankle issue. The Hornets won all four.
11 (12) Suns 34-25 An 8-2 record when Shaq takes at least 15 shots? A win over the Lakers without Nash in a suit? Two more cracks at the Dallas team they're chasing for the West's final playoff spot? Maybe the Suns aren't toast yet.
12 (10) Mavericks 36-23 The only losses in a long eight games without Jason Terry were at home to Boston and away to Houston and San Antonio. So the Mavs did OK. San Antonio did leave a mark, though, even without Timmy and Manu.
13 (13) Hawks 33-26 Shaky as the Hawks have been since their 22-11 start, they're just one home win from clinching the season series with No. 5 Miami. The East's long-standing No. 4 also has a more favorable remaining schedule.
14 (15) Bulls 27-33 It still doesn't add up. The Bulls get a unique White House invite -- sans championship -- then go flat and get routed by the Wiz. And then they find the inspiration to erase a late 17-point lead against red-hot Houston.
15 (14) Heat 31-27 We won't be canceling our subscription to the widely held belief that the MVP has to come from a team with at least 50 wins, but we concede that D-Wade's season has managed to put the idea of straying in our heads.
16 (21) Pistons 29-29 Remember when the Pistons were as likely to win on Sundays as the Lions? Now you wonder whether the breakthrough in Boston can be the spark that salvages the season and and/or keeps Iverson away awhile.
17 (20) Pacers 26-36 Think we'll ever figure out the East's No. 11 team? Indy is still 10 games under .500 but is also (A) somehow 7-3 without Granger and (B) one of only two teams with wins over the Celtics, Cavs, Magic, Lakers and Nuggets.
18 (17) 76ers 29-29 If the Sixers miss out on the playoffs, they will have a good idea why. On top of Elton Brand's lost season and the ongoing issues with their outside shooting, there's this downer: seven losses by two or fewer points.
19 (19) Bobcats 25-35 The Bobs did what they absolutely had to do by stringing together road wins over the Kings, Warriors and Clips, but we can't stop looking at their April schedule. Larry's kids finish the season with six of eight on the road.
20 (16) Bucks 29-33 We'd love to report after a recent evening spent with the Bucks that we got a firm indication about the likelihood of Bogut's returning before season's end to help them hang on to the No. 8 spot. But there isn't one.
21 (22) Nets 26-33 Those perpetually active Nets squeezed in one more personnel move by waiving Stromile Swift before Sunday's playoff-eligibility deadline. All their focus finally shifts -- we think -- to resurrecting the playoff drive.
22 (18) Knicks 24-35 Are we rooting for the long shot Knicks to snag that final playoff spot in the East? Hard for us to deny it. But this isn't a devotion-to-D'Antoni thing. It's all about hoping Steph winds up facing his old team in a playoff series.
23 (23) Raptors 23-38 As if what my Raps are seeing in the standings doesn't sufficiently sting -- they're looking up at six teams between them and a playoff spot -- Shaq just slammed Bosh as "the RuPaul of big men." Major dis.
24 (22) Warriors 20-39 Amid all the new tension regarding Nellie's vet-rotation policy, we can't resist asking: Is our beloved Captain Jack getting better with age? He just averaged 25 points, eight assists and five boards in February.
25 (25) Thunder 14-45 What does Durant's ankle injury have in common with the voided trade for Chandler? Every disappointment in OKC is spun like this: At least it won't hurt the Thunder's chances of winning the Blake Griffin lottery.
26 (26) Timberwolves 18-41 If you didn't agree with our Worst February in Team History theory, be advised that the darlings of January followed it up with a 2-11 month, losing all five of their home games … and Al Jefferson for the season.
27 (27) Wizards 14-45 Just think: If the committee were to consider only games attended courtside by the new president, imagine the possibilities. You'd find the Wiz running unopposed at the other end of the rankings spectrum.
28 (30) Clippers 15-45 The Clips won two in a row -- including that upset of mighty Boston -- after T.J. Simers shredded them in the L.A. Times. The Clips' problem, then, is obviously that T.J. hasn't been writing about them enough.
29 (29) Grizzlies 15-43 Just being realistic: Although Mayo probably ranks as our favorite -- favorite rookie, not favorite condiment -- it's hard to see how he'll hang in there with Rose in the ROY race when the Grizz just keep sliding.
30 (28) Kings 13-48 Indiana, Cleveland and Philadelphia at home. Washington, Atlanta, Charlotte and New York on the road. Those are the last seven chances for the 0-23 Kings to win a game against an Eastern Conference team.

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