9450’s Rankings 2/15
2. Boston Celtics ( 39-14)
Banged up and the Celtics still manage to take down the Heat. Doc’s done a terrific job managing the plethora of injuries this season. Yeah I said plethora.
3. Dallas Mavericks (38-16)
Added a classic shooter in Peja Stojakovic and he responded with a 22 point effort against Houston. Roddy Beaubois is inching closer to a return, adding yet another scorer to an already deep bench.
4. Miami Heat (39-15)
1-6 vs. the Celts, Mavs, Bulls, and Lakers? Not good.
5. Chicago Bulls (36-16)
Their point guard is the leading candidate for league MVP, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah have played a total of 9 games together and they are 20 games over .500…and rising. Add a shooting guard and the deadline and this team is scary good.
6. Los Angeles Lakers (38-18)
What a tease. 4-0 to begin their annual Grammys roadtrip had me thinking the Lakers were finally getting it. An ugly loss to the Magic and a complete no-show 20 point defeat at Charlotte has this team once again searching for answers.
7. Oklahoma City (34-19)
Love this team. Hate their defense. The Thunder prided itself on defense last year. The 2010-11 edition is currently ranked 21st in total defense, giving up 102 points a contest.
8. Orlando Magic (35-21)
When Brandon Bass returns the Magic will become a tantalizingly deep team. Can SVG properly maneuver the pieces and personalities. The Magic have made two big in-season trades. Still, a backup center for the stretch run would be nice. Dwight is averaging 41 minutes a contest in the last 5 games.
9. Atlanta Hawks (34-20)
I just don’t take this team seriously. Although they did show some character last night coming back from a 15 point second quarter deficit in Detroit. By halftime, they were up two and eventually won by 15.
10. Portland Trail Blazers (31-24)
LaMarcus Aldridge should be an All-Star for the simple reason that his legs are not in air-casts like the rest of the Portland big men.
11. Denver Nuggets (31-24)
Tough loss against Houston last night. Still, give George Karl and the Nuggets credit for continually playing hard despite the rumors. Same goes for Melo. Oh, and the Nuggets have a stud in shooting guard Aaron Afflalo.
12. New Orleans (33-23)
10 game winning streak was followed by a 2-7 skid. But minus Emeka Okafor, they still managed to defeat the Magic.
13. Memphis Grizzlies (30-26)
Grizzlies may start to hold the Mayo. They are now 7-2 following O.J. Mayo’s 10 game ban.
14. Philadelphia 76ers (26-28)
Remember Eddie Jordan? Me neither.
15. Utah Jazz (31-24)
One of the most consistent teams in the past 20 years has taken on some rare drama this week with the resignation of Jerry Sloan. How will they respond?
16. New York Knicks (27-26)
Latest has the Knicks turning down a Valentine’s day deal for Melo and Chauncey Billups. Nugs and Knicks are still talking. Will Knicks owner James Dolan force GM Donnie Walsh to make a splash with the Knicks hovering around .500?
17. Phoenix Suns (26-26)
Marcin Gortat thought he deserved more minutes in Orlando. He’s getting them in Phoenix and taking full advantage averaging 12.5 points, 9.8 boards and 29 minutes of action this month.
18. Houston Rockets (26-30)
Houston GM Daryl Morey is itching to make a trade. This is his time of year. Unfortunately, this year he wont have the Knicks to take advantage of… er…work with.
19. Indiana Pacers (24-28)
7-1 under Frank Vogel and the Pacers are even rounding out a consistent rotation. Something Jim O’Brien refused to do during his time in Indiana…and Philadelphia… and Boston.
20. Golden State Warriors (24-29)
23 points 19 rebounds for David Lee in the Warriors victory over the Thunder. Warriors need him to stay healthy AND return to his Knick form.
21. Charlotte Bobcats (24-31)
I do not know much, but I do know this: The Bobcats have the Lakers number. The Bobcats have won 8 out of the last 10 meetings against the two-time defending champs.
22. Milwaukee Bucks (21-33)
Injuries to Brandon Jennings, Andrew Bogut, John Salmons, Corey Maggette and Carlos Delfino have taken a significant toll on the Bucks. I still believe Scott Skiles’ crew will have one more run in them after the All-Star break, when the core will be relatively healthy.
23. Los Angeles Clippers (20-35)
The rejuvenation of the Beard a.k.a B. Diddy a.k.a Baron Davis is real. Blake ‘Poster Child’ Griffin has made the Clippers relevant. But the Clippers have lost 7 out of 8 this month and look to be lottery bound once again.
24. Detroit Pistons (20-36)
The Richard Hamilton saga has no end in sight and after an initially winning 3 out of their first 4 without Rip, the Pistons have gone 5-10. Tracy McGrady’s small resurgence back into relevancy is a minor bright spot in an otherwise horrid first half of the season.
25. New Jersey Nets (17-39)
Sasha Vujacic recently claimed he could put up 20 or 30 points nightly but doesn’t because he’s a “team player.” I say he doesn’t drop 20 a night because he’s “not that good.”
26. Toronto Raptors (15-40)
Rumors are circulating that Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo may not be leaving at the end of the year when his contract expires as most expected, even though he got nothing for Chris Bosh, overpaid for Amir Johnson and personally assembled and oversaw a team currently 25 games under .500.
27. Washington Wizards (15-38)
Their streak of 25 straight road losses was overshadowed by the Cavaliers historic collapse. The Cavs have a terrible roster. The Wizards simply underacheieved.
28. Minnesota Timberwolves (13-42)
Say what you will about GM and President David Kahn, but he assembled one of the most underrated front courts in the NBA with Kevin Love, Michael Beasley and Darko Milicic. That being said, at 13-42, his strategy of acquiring other teams’ castoffs isn’t working and owner Glen Taylor is growing increasingly impatient.
29. Sacramento Kings (13-38)
DeMarcus Cousins is talented and immature – was true in June. Is true in February.