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JMarkJohns
12-27-2004, 02:55 PM
NOTE: Rank (Last Wk) Team Record

1 (1) Suns 24-3
Suns' last loss? Try Dec. 3. It therefore shouldn't be a surprise that this is the first team to maintain its hold on the top spot in the rankings since the regular season started.

2 (3) SuperSonics 19-5
It's not as good as Sandler and his SuperSonic-ahs, but it's my second-favorite Seattle line: Ray Ray calling the offense 'organized confusion.' One of the lines of the season so far.

3 (2) Spurs 22-6
Committee feels safe in saying that Spurs will win most nights if they keep scoring 96 a game. Another surprise: San Antonio is 7-2 on the second night of back-to-backs somehow.

4 (4) Heat 22-7
Heat should be feeling good about themselves. Miami's up to 6-5 vs. the West and, on top of Wade and Shaq, has two undrafted starters (D-Jones and Haslem) chipping in nicely.

5 (10) Magic 15-10
This is out-of-control high for the Magic, honestly, but the committee is having real issues these days after No. 4 with only four teams in the whole league on any kind of run.

6 (5) Timberwolves 16-10
Could this team be too deep? At just 8-5 in December, and with four straight road defeats, Flip has to be wondering.

7 (7) Pistons 13-12
It's only scant consolation, but at least it's something: Pistons are the only team in the East, and one of only three in the whole league, holding opponents under 90 ppg.

8 (6) Kings 17-9
This could be a problem. Kings have handled regular-season injuries better than anyone in the new millennium, but Sac's lack of depth faces a three-month test with B-Jax shelved.

9 (9) Cavaliers 16-11
So much for the pre-season supposition that McInnis and Snow couldn't co-exist in Cavsland. It's Silas and Snow; Shaq ain't the only one who hasn't buried the hatchet.

10 (8) Mavericks 18-10
From afar, Mavs just watched Nash total at least 10 assists in each game of Suns' 11-game win streak. The same Mavs who have (yikes) one double-digit assist game all season.

11 (11) Wizards 14-11
With Crawford down in NY, Arenas-Hughes is suddenly running as the league's undisputed No. 1 backcourt in terms of point production. It's a tad misleading, but Wiz'll take it.

12 (15) Celtics 12-14
As Celts continue to chase that elusive .500 record, indications are that Ainge isn't willing to deal Payton right now. But that could change as February approaches.

13 (16) Trail Blazers 13-12
Van Exel is making retirement noises again, and don't forget last season's vow from NVE. The one about retiring unless a Texas team tries to sign him as a free agent this summer.

14 (13) Nuggets 13-14
Nuggets could use some more steadiness in the New Year. They started off 1-4, then went 11-3 and are presently trying to extricate themselves from a 1-7 slide.

15 (12) Lakers 14-12
It's hard to believe, but Lakers insist it's true. They say the media turnout for Shaq-Kobe I was only comparable to a second-round playoff game.

16 (20) Pacers 12-13
Pacers have slipped below .500 for the first time all season. But, again, only Miami has pulled away in the East -- and Indy will keep rising, naturally, if O'Neal stays unsuspended.

17 (13) Knicks 14-13
Amid Isiah one-year anniversary celebrations, Knicks fall behind by 39 (AT THE HALF!) at home to Dallas, then blow one in Boston. An Isiah response must be forthcoming.

18 (17) Rockets 13-14
Even in the unlikely event that Atlanta's Barry does make a big different at the point, Rockets still have PF issues. Yao and T-Mac better start combining for 74 points more often.

19 (23) Nets 9-16
The sense here remains that Kidd gets traded . . . provided someone out there is willing to take on his contract. Denver, for example, is more inclined to use Nene as Redd bait.

20 (22) Bulls 9-16
A case can be made that we've been too tough on those Baby Bulls. With only two teams over .500 among the next eight games, they have a real chance to make it a stronger case.

21 (19) Clippers 12-13
You're not alone if you're starting to think that maybe, just maybe, Clips do owe their early success to that cushy home sked in November. They're a mere 3-7 this month.

22 (18) Grizzlies 12-17
If you're looking for a neato factoid to drop at your next holiday party: Fratello (Hubie) and P.J. Carlesimo (Adelman) are the only coaches ever to replace the same guy with two
different teams.

23 (21) 76ers 11-14
Sixers have to be relieved that Iverson, at 29 and with that four-year extension kicking in next season, looks as deadly as ever. Because it's the only thing going right for them.

24 (25) Bobcats 7-16
The team that wasn't supposed to win 10 games all season had seven wins at Christmas. Which is probably the biggest reason why Okafor leads most ROY ballots.

25 (26) Raptors 10-19
Raps could really use hockey's return about now to distract the locals from this nagging question: T-Mac and now Vince are gone, and what has this franchise gotten in return?

26 (24) Jazz 11-16
Time for Kirilenko to renegotiate. Clearly AK-47 is deserving of a new contract . . . he might be worth more than the max to Jazz, who've stunned us by falling this far.

27 (27) Warriors 9-18
Warriors can't revel in Dampier's Dallas struggles because the center they did re-sign (Foyle) is struggling worse. Hence Uncle Cliffy's emergence as the new C in GS.

28 (29) Hawks 5-20
He's not going to fill up Philips Arena, since no one can do that, but the rookie Smith is worth watching. Anyone who can block five Nowitzki shots in one game gets me curious.

29 (28) Bucks 7-16
The more Bucks lose, the more you expect a Redd trade. Because even if the lefty ace wants to stay, is the Senator going to pay him max dollars to keep this team together?

30 (30) Hornets 2-24
There was a fear on Bourbon Street that Baron might sit out for months, with the season already gone. It's a bit too late to be a savior, but at least he's back faster than expected.

Staf4Wooden
12-27-2004, 03:03 PM
How do you feel about the Pistons? Can they catch up to the Heat? Will they still be the favorites come playoff time?

JMarkJohns
12-27-2004, 03:28 PM
I like the Heat if they can stay healthy. If ya recall, Shaq dominated Detroit when Kobe would give him the ball, so I don't see Wallace and Wallace being able to contain Shaq with Wade being the sidekick now.

Plus, Detroit has made some unnecessary changes to their roster, thus losing depth for future CAP relief. Williamson and Okur are gone and while McDyess has done well, he's quite redundant alongside Wallace, Wallace, Campbell and even Coleman when he plays. Last year they could have a perimeter F/C and a Low-post SF create mismatches, now, they just have duplicates of their best players.

I still think Detroit will right the ship and prolly even make it to the Eastern COnference Finals, but I will take the Heat (if healthy) over a healthy Detroit or Indiana...