WEEK OF: 3/20/11 – 3/26/11
1-Los Angeles Lakers (52-20) The Lakers have been animals since the All-Star break, we all understand. Losing only to Miami in a 94-88 game. Playing defense has been key, particularly against the deep ball, where they rank 3rd in the NBA, forcing teams to try to put it inside where they are strongest.
2- Chicago Bulls (53-19); The Bulls are playing like a returning contender, where they haven’t been a power team in 12 years, and haven’t won 50 or more games since 97-98. It’s a lot of pressure to handle. They Bulls control their own destiny, can they handle the heat.
3- Miami Heat (50-22); Playing defense has been this team’s specialty, allowing opposing teams to shoot only 43% from the field, which ranks them 2nd in the NBA. Racing to the end of the season, they are making that push for home court advantage.
4- Denver Nuggets (44-29); Getting imposing play from both Raymond Felton and Ty Lawson, over the last month or so, has shown fans all over, the Nuggets are more than for real, they are lethal, including beating top quality opponents, such as Boston, Atlanta and San Antonio.
5- Portland Trailblazers (42-30); Blazers have won 5 of their last 6 games, including a thriller 98-96 over the San Antonio Spurs. They call for Andre Miller’s play to step it up, scoring 10/gm and dishing 6.6 a night over last 10 games, all below season average.
6- Orlando Magic (47-26); A dreadful free throw shooting team at a horrendous 69%, which ranks them at 30th in the NBA is going to burn them. They need the old champion Hedo Turkoglu, from a few seasons ago to come back. He has just never been the same guy that was very arduous to guard in the 08-09 playoffs and caused matchup problems for most everyone with his size.
7- Oklahoma City Thunder (47-24); The NBA’s third youngest team (24.7/avg) is getting themselves collectively as men. Learning to take one game at a time, playing perfectly after losses.
8- San Antonio Spurs (57-15); The Spurs mainstay future Hall of Famer, and captain, Tim Duncan is down and out with a sprained ankle. Losing the leader, 34 yr old, Duncan (13.3/ppg 9/rpg) who has been slower all season, still brings then confidence on the court.
9- Dallas Mavericks (51-21); The Mavs hit a great milestone hitting the 50-win mark for the 11th successive season. But they need their big men, 7-1, Tyson Chandler and 7 footer, Brenden Haywood, to get the job done, night in and night out for them to stay in the serious hunt.
10- Boston Celtics (50-21); The Celtics injury woes don’t stop, Delonte west still hurting from a bad ankle, is still waiting his time to log decent minutes in a game. The team has been playing badly for quite some time now. Going 4-6 over the last 10 games, losing by an average of 6.3 points in their losses. Celtic fans are still hoping to see a sign of Shaq or Jermaine O’Neal, who have played a combined 1053 minutes this entire season.
Big Baller of the Week (BBW) Kobe Bryant (SG, Los Angeles Lakers) 34 points per game, 7 rebounds per game, 6 assists per game, including an effortless 1.3 steals a night on the defensive end of the court as well. Along with shooting 49% from the field for the week, his sizzling 52-20 Lakers went 3-0; where the former MVP had a terrific week, including his best performance of the week in a 139-137 triple overtime victory over the Phoenix Suns, scoring 42, while also tearing up the boards for 12, along with 9 assists, also shooting 3-5 from long range in the thriller.
Scoring; Kobe Bryant (SG, Los Angeles Lakers); 42 points in a 139-137 win versus the Phoenix Suns.
Rebounding; Kris Humphries (PF, New Jersey Nets); 23 rebounds in a 98-94 win versus the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Assists; Steve Nash (PG, Phoenix Suns); 20 dimes in a 139-137 loss versus the Los Angeles Lakers.
Steals; Rajon Rondo (PG, Boston Celtics); 7 steals in a 90-87 loss versus the Memphis Grizzlies.
Blocks; Wilson Chandler (SF, Denver Nuggets); 6 blocks in his 115-112 win versus the San Antonio Spurs.
X-factor- tri bomber of the week
Carlos Delfino; (SF, Milwaukee Bucks) the 6-6 shooter put up 33 attempts from behind the arc this week, burying 18 of them, for a 55% accuracy ratio. Including shooting 6-11 vs the New York Knicks in a 100-95 victory, where he scored 30.