Words by Phlip
The presence of Tim Tebow and my favorite team finally being back in the playoffs might have slowed me a bit, but things are heating up in the NBA at just the right time.
First thing, I should apparently apologize to the Chicago Bulls for having overlooked them in discussions from previous posts… It might seem odd that the team with last year’s MVP and best overall record can fly THIS far below the radar. The not-to-expectations performance of the Knicks and Mavericks combined with the from-the-gate dominance of the Thunder and surprising starts from Portland and Philly have allowed Chicago to work very efficiently and thankfully quietly. No, Rose is not having an MVP season, compared to what LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant are doing right now, but any man worth his salt in the NBA is fine with a trade of a league MVP for a finals one.
Don’t look now, but Kobe Bryant is leading the league in scoring, and apparently has a pit crew assigned to his right wrist while he waits for his team of German Scientists to come up with a procedure for it similar to the one that rejuvenated his knees and A-Rod’s shoulder. After a slightly worrisome early season, Kobe has now scored 48, 40 and 42 in his past 3 games and unlike the last time he pulled a stunt like that, he is doing in the course of wins – albeit ugly ones – instead of mixing some losses in there. This serves to it that I was dead right when, on 12/21, I said that he is a contract killer that you don’t want to wake up. Perhaps we should look into giving Vanessa Laine the NBA MVP this season if this works out as it potentially could, since she caused this version of her now-ex husband to wake back up. Granted, if there is ANYTHING about her on his mind during this, it is this…
I am not going to go in on the Knicks or the Celtics in this post. But as standings are RIGHT now, the Knicks would be a 7-seed who has lost to league powerhouses such as the Golden State Warriors, Charlotte Bobcats and Toronto Raptors IN CONSECUTIVE GAMES, and the Celtics would be the first team not in the playoffs as a team beginning to show its age and corresponding frailty.
Like I have been saying all season, LeBron is still the MVP, but the past week or so has told us that D-Wade is still the one who needs to be doing the heavy lifting in the last 5 minutes of close games. Chris Bosh would agree, apparently. Currently (as of 1/15/12) third in their division – which we are not to expect to be a continued trend as the Dwight Howard drama develops come nearer the trade deadline – the Heat are at 6th in the conference, but would be the scariest 6-seed in the history of the NBA Playoffs. Again, I have said it time and again, don’t expect that 6-seed nonsense to stick, they’ll be a 2-3 seed when the shouting is all complete.
Like I said, and except for the fact that the Timberwolves are in what has happened to be a TOUGH division, thanks to their respective PG/PF combos, the Clippers and Timberwolves are among the most exciting teams to watch in the league. This week alone, I have watched 3 games involving these teams (on purpose, no less!). Chris Paul is the same Chris Paul as he ever was, and now he has better teammates and coaching and can take advantage of his gifts. Ricky Rubio, though? This kid is the second coming of Pistol Pete, his court vision and move on the fly is VERY entertaining, and the benefit of Kevin Love who is a threat ANYWHERE on the court apparently makes his life a lot easier. Again, being in the division with the Western Conference overall leaders in OKC as well as the surprisingly deep Denver Nuggets and Trailblazers might hurt their overall chances, but it will be VERY fun to see happen.
It feels like Déjà vu to be saying this, but did ANYONE notice who is leading the Southwest division? A hint would be that it is NOT the team who raised a championship banner on Christmas. Right… unlike the Celtics, who apparently age about as gracefully as a loaf of bread, the Spurs are fine wine and the problems that would normally accompany adding of new birthdays generally do not affect them, and they keep winning. Again, and just like last year, this could create another of those late-season/playoff flameouts, but don’t put it past them to shock the world one last time as Timmy Duncan finishes up a first ballot Hall-of-Fame career as one of the top-3 power forwards in NBA history.
Games of note on the schedule this week are the Magic visiting Madison Square Garden, OKC stopping by Boston, the Mavs at the Lakers and Miami vs San Antonio as games of particular interest to the 24-hour news cycle. Not only for being games all having eventual playoffs implications, but also teams who have gotten major burn in the media since the start of the season as well. Speaking of “burn in the media,” I can’t be the only one glad as I am that this Tebow nonsense is behind us, am I?
Anyway… Back to basketball, I know for sure I will be here to discuss on the other side of it all.
In the meantime, though… GO NINERS!!!