Thursday, April 19, 2012
Behind The Scoreboard
Playoffs taking shape
For the last two weeks I have been getting the question: Who has the best shot in the NBA? No pun intended. And that probably would be more properly written thusly: Which team has the best chance of winning the NBA Championship?
All of us knew some months ago that this would be an abbreviated season run. However, some of us were so enveloped by the great NCAA playoff show that it was hard to see that the NBA playoffs were creeping up on us.
And then as we were getting geared to take a serious look at the NBA Conferences (as we always do this time of year), the scandal broke (or would erupted be a better descriptor?) in Arkansas. I am very reluctant to assign any assessment to the case except to say that it conjures up images of Mike Price and the circumstances and results of the incident are more than regrettable. Oh yeah, I guess I could say, “Coach, what were you thinking?”
There were eight regular season games left going into Sunday and the Chicago Bulls were looking very much like the Bulls of old, clinching the Eastern Conference Central Division with the best record (45-14) in the league. Six teams in the East don’t have a shot and have been eliminated. So long to New Jersey, Detroit, Cleveland (you know, the team which still sends those tender E-mails to King James), Washington and Charlotte. The Bobcats have the worst record (7-51) in the league and are on a current 15-game losing streak. One senses that changes are probably in the offing in that neck of the woods.
The Celtics are still struggling to top the Atlantic Division but have clinched a berth. Indiana is also berthed and will more than likely hang onto a third seed overall and second in the Central.
The guy who sank Cleveland and his cohorts are owners of the Southeast. There is strong talk that King James and his band will be crowned rulers of all which they survey after the smoke clears. Methinks first they have to clear the Chicago hurdle.
The Western Conference had lost four teams by Sunday – Minnesota, Golden State, San Francisco and New Orleans (those N.O. teams seem to be having troubles from all sides!). Oklahoma has claimed the Northwest Division and San Antone the Southwest. The Lakers and Clippers are duking it out in the Pacific. With such a small number of games left, the tiebreaker rules might have to be invoked.
And what about the Griz? Memphis has been performing like a team with championship aspirations. They are currently vying for a fifth seed in the playoffs and are second in the Southwest. They have a star player back from injuries, but they still have some Spurs in their sides.
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