The Clippers are on the rise, while the Lakers are on the fall. Plus, can anything help the Knicks and Magic? If you missed the Bulls at the Heat, check this out…And we have our end of the month power rankings.
Eastern Conference Finals rematch #1: Chicago Bulls (17-5) had to play without Luol Deng, but were still competitive in Miami (15-5). Somehow Derrick Rose kept them in the game scoring 34 points, the first 30 point scorer against the Heat. Rose had a chance to tie the game at the stripe (29/29 free throws in 4th quarter previously) with under 1 minute to play, but missed both. Luckily, Lebron James missed both of his free throws on the ensuing possession (Lebron also missed his final 2 shots). Most exciting first 47 ½ minutes of an NBA game, most anticlimactic final 30 seconds. A inadvertent whistle leads to a jump ball, which James won. Miami wins first of 4 matchups.
Los Angeles Clippers (11-6) are getting better. Chris Paul is back healthy, and they just won a big road game at Denver Nuggets (14-6). Now they get Eric Bledsoe back from a rehab stint, taking some minutes off Chauncey Billups legs.
Blake Griffin makes me say WAH (Where Amazing Happens…Yep, I did it).
Los Angeles Lakers (12-9) are cold. 13 straight games under 100 points (franchise record). They just lost to Milwaukee Bucks (8-11), and will play 6 of their next 7 games on the road. In their most recent win, Pau Gasol scored 28 points and Andrew Bynum had 21. Kobe Bryant moves to #1 all time FG in Lakers history.
Houston Rockets (12-8) have won 9 of their last 10, while the New York Knicks (7-13) have lost 9 of 10. What is it going to take for the Knicks to get Steve Nash? Why are they waiting so long? This team is built to win now but they need a solid PG. Give up your first round, second round, hell third round pick to get Nash in a Knicks jersey. Don’t expect Baron Davis to be the answer.
Andre Iguodala has the Philidephea 76ers (14-6) rolling. AI had a triple double on his 28th birthday (10,10,10). Here was his cake. WAH.
Let’s give AI II some love.
Orlando Magic (12-8) are slumping. 3 game losing streak. Dwight Howard is calling out his teammates, while also openly talking about leaving the team. Team morale is down, as is points per game (78.6 in last 5). Not looking good for the Magic.
Boston Celtics (9-10) have been winning games with their defense (100 points per game allowed in December, 84 points per game allowed in January), and in a recent 4 game winning streak were only scoring 80 points per game They have been playing without Rajon Rondo. Their winning streak was ended when Kyrie Irving and Cleveland Cavaliers (8-11) took care of them in Boston.
Dallas Mavericks (13-8) are starting to find some rhythm, winning 5 of their last 6. Dirk Nowitzki has returned, but Jason Kidd will be out for a few games.
Atlanta Hawks (15-6) are 8-1 without all-star center Al Horford, very impressive.
End of January Power Rankings
1. Oklahoma City Thunder
2. Los Angeles Clippers
3. Denver Nuggets
4. Los Angeles Lakers
5. Dallas Mavericks
The Western Conference is OKC Thunder’s for the taking. Behind them, it is a total toss up. The playoff picture will be changing constantly.
1. Miami Heat
2. Chicago Bulls
3. Indiana Pacers
4. Atlanta Hawks
5. Philadelphia 76ers
If the Bulls would have won Sunday at Miami, they would be number one. Very fresh list in the East, but these teams are legitimately better than teams like the Knicks and the Celtics…at least for now.
1-30- NBATV- Oklahoma City Thunder @ Los Angeles Clippers – 2 most talented teams in the west, perhaps a Western Conference Finals preview?
1-30- Orlando Magic @ Philadelphia 76ers – Can Philly stay hot at home (10-2) or can the Magic find a way to get out of their funk.
1-30- San Antonio Spurs @ Memphis Grizzlies – Both these teams are out of the playoff picture, but not out of the race.
1-31- NBATV- Denver Nuggets @ Memphis Grizzlies – The Nuggets needs to prove they are legit by winning this game, otherwise just another case of the West being evenly matched.
2-1- ESPN- Oklahoma City Thunder @ Dallas Mavericks – rematch of last years Western Conference Finals, the Thunder will be looking to send a message.
2-1- ESPN- Los Angeles Clippers @ Utah Jazz – Utah is good at home (9-3) while the Clippers struggle on the road (2-4). Clippers need to separate themselves by winning this game.
2-1- Chicago Bulls @ Philadelphia 76ers – Are the 76ers for real?