Posts Tagged ‘ Golden State Warriors ’

Jordan & the Bobcats: How Will He Fare?

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When the news broke that there was a prospective buyer for the Charlotte Bobcats in early January, it appeared that Michael Jordan’s time as owner of the team was about to run out.

But, just as his days as a player, Jordan came through in the clutch.

After assembling a group of investors and arranging to buy the team, Michael Jordan has fully committed himself to being the full owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, buying the team from Bob Johnson (whom the team is “named” for). The NBA owners are expected to approve Jordan’s ownership by late March. As the ‘Cats look toward their first playoff berth in the six seasons in the NBA, and are just a few wins away from breaking their franchise record for victories (35), MJ has his work cut out for him.

The city of Charlotte has been burned by bad ownership. Hornets owner George Shinn demanded a new arena, and after a sexual assault charge and alienating the city, and a failed referendum for a new arena, Shinn picked up and moved the Hornets to New Orleans in 2002. In fact, Shinn was in negotiations with Michael Jordan for ownership of the Hornets, but would not relinquish basketball operations to Jordan, and that caused Jordan to back out of the agreement. The Hornets could have still been in Charlotte had Shinn gave MJ that power.

Two years later, Bob Johnson, the co-founder of Black Entertainment Television, paid the $300M price tag for the new Charlotte team, enabling him to become the first black majority owner in sports. However, Johnson never was involved in the city of Charlotte, and was virtually an absentee owner. To make it as a owner in a city that has been (and still is) jaded by the NBA is not the best way to be successful. Despite the improvement and the hard play of the Bobcats in their franchise history, Johnson was an absentee owner, and now that Jordan, who was just as much absent as Johnson, can not make the same mistakes now that it is his money.

So far, things are looking on the bright side.

Jordan has attended four Bobcats home games this season, and Charlotte is 3-1 in those games, they are currently 7th in the Eastern Conference, and are at .500 at the latest point in the season in their six years of existence. Jordan is so far simply showing he wants to take this venture seriously by just showing up. The second part of this is embracing the local Charlotte media. We do know that MJ is not (and always hasn’t been) media accessible, but in this role, and a market like Charlotte, he needs to be present, and expand the team’s presence past the Charlotte area and into the state of North Carolina (and South Carolina). Some fans have called for a name change from Bobcats, and it will be up to Jordan for that change.

Finally, Jordan will need to try to lure the top NBA talent to Charlotte and make right decisions for a winner. Will he spend to get a winner, or will he be thrifty with his money? He did have a few bad decisions while being here (drafting Adam Morrison), but he has made good decisions (picking up Stephen Jackson from the Golden State Warriors and Tyrus Thomas from the Chicago Bulls) to improve the fortunes of the franchise

Jordan has the drive and the passion to be a successful owner in the NBA. He has a lot to prove to the city of Charlotte though. As long as he is visible and accessible to Bobcats season ticket holders and fans, and the Charlotte media, and of course, build a winner, the love affair between the city and NBA will return, and allow the franchise to be the hottest ticket in town.


Dallas Mavericks: Can We Believe?

The Dallas Mavericks have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA since their big trade with the Washington Wizards. They have currently reeled off 12 straight victories, and are within three games of the Los Angeles Lakers for the top spot in the Western Conference.There is only one problem though.

Can we believe in the Mavericks?

There is reason to plant seeds of doubt in Dallas. In 2006, the Mavs reached the NBA Finals, and had a 2-0 lead on the Miami Heat. But the Heat reeled off four straight victories and ended up as NBA Champions. The series defeat left the Mavericks with a bitter taste in their mouths and a newfound motivation to get back to the Finals and claim what they felt was theirs.

Then came the ultimate embarrassment.

The Mavericks entered the 2006-07 NBA season with that goal of winning the NBA Championship, and ended up with a league best (and franchise best 67-15 record). The end result: a 4-2 series loss to the Golden State Warriors and becoming the first #8 seed to beat a #1 seed in a best-of-seven series, and pulling off one of the greatest upsets in NBA history, and regarding the Dallas Mavericks as one of the biggest choke artists in league history.

After another disappointing first round exit at the hands of the New Orleans Hornets in 2008 that signified of the Avery Johnson era, the Mavs turned to Rick Carlisle for the 2008-09 season, and the Mavs got eliminated in the second round by the Denver Nuggets, it took a trade deadline move in the 2009-10 season that sent Josh Howard, James Singleton, and Drew Gooden to Washington and in exchange, the Mavericks got Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson. Since the trade, the Mavericks are 12-1 (only loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder) and have elevated themselves into a legitimate contender in the Western Conference. Butler is a scorer who can take the pressure of Dirk Nowitzki, Haywood is a strong rebounder and very durable and can handle the post along w/ Erick Dampier and allows Nowitzki to be a 7′ SF, and Stevenson has the mindset of an enforcer, and his defense and scoring spurts are definitely welcome. Put these elements, and Jason Kidd and Nowitzki together, and a decent bench, and the Mavericks have a chance to do some serious damage. The trade worked out for Josh Howard as well, as he got out of Dallas (although his season ended w/ an ACL injury) and improved the overall team chemistry in the Mavericks organization.

The Mavericks are legit contenders, but we have seen them buckle under the pressure of being a legit contender. They have this season to exercise demons, but there is only one question.

Are they up for the challenge, and can this be a team to believe in?

NBA Rankings (1/25)

1. Cleveland Cavaliers (34-11)
2. Los Angeles Lakers (33-11)
3. Boston Celtics (28-13)
4. Denver Nuggets (29-14)
5. Atlanta Hawks (28-14)
6. Dallas Mavericks (29-15)
7. Orlando Magic (29-15)
8. Portland Trail Blazers (27-18)
9. San Antonio Spurs (25-17)
10. Utah Jazz (25-18)
11. Phoenix Suns (26-19)
12. Houston Rockets (24-19)
13. Memphis Grizzlies (23-19)
14. Oklahoma City Thunder (24-20)
15. Miami Heat (23-20)
16. New Orleans Hornets (23-20)
17. Toronto Raptors (23-22)
18. Charlotte Bobcats (21-21)
19. Chicago Bulls (20-22)
20. Los Angeles Clippers (20-23)
21. Milwaukee Bucks (18-24)
22. New York Knicks (17-26)
23. Philadelphia 76ers (15-28)
24. Detroit Pistons (15-28)
25. Sacramento Kings (15-28)
26. Indiana Pacers (15-29)
27. Washington Wizards (14-29)
28. Golden State Warriors (13-29)
29. Minnesota Timberwolves (9-36)
30. New Jersey Nets (3-40)

NBA Rankings (1/19)

The NBA Rankings are on schedule. Due to the MLK Holiday, and the daytime games, we here at TSX decided to wait until Tuesday to release the rankings. It’s a short week, and the Rankings will be back next Monday.

With that said, did the Lakers remain at #1 for the fourth week in a row? Who is rising and making some serious noise right now? Are the New Jersey Nets really on pace for the worst record in NBA history. Let’s go to the Rankings…

1. Los Angeles Lakers (32-9) (previous ranking: 1) The Lake Show has gotten the job done. And they are getting production from everybody in the process. The bench has done a great job picking up the slack when Kobe Bryant struggles, as displayed against the Orlando Magic.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers (31-11) (previous ranking: 2) The Cavs are #2 for the fourth straight week, but the good news is that Boston’s struggles due to injuries have given them a little bit of separation in the East. They need to take advantage of this time.

3. Boston Celtics (27-12) (previous ranking: 3) Boston has been ravaged by injuries. They have done well until now. The lack of depth and the thin bench is showing. These guys need to heal up by April to have any shot of a run for an 18th championship.

4. Dallas Mavericks (27-14) (previous ranking: 4) The Mavericks are still a team to watch out for. As good as they are, can they keep this momentum in the playoffs. It is good to see them keeping pace with the Lakers.

5. Denver Nuggets (26-14) (previous ranking: 9) The Nuggets had a 3-0 week, and that was good enough to boost them up four spots and into the top 5. Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups are healthy again, and with Ty Lawson complimenting them, the Nuggets are priming to make noise in the West again. The Lakers better watch out.

6. Atlanta Hawks (26-14) (previous ranking: 6) 3-1 week puts Atlanta in first place in the Southeast Division. One thing about them is that once they get into first place, they get too comfortable and struggle. Mike Woodson needs to keep his team focused.

7. Orlando Magic (26-15) (previous ranking: 5) Another 1-3 week for Orlando. The passion that this team had a year ago is not there. And they are much deeper than last year. Is Stan Van Gundy beginning to lose his voice in Orlando?

8. San Antonio Spurs (25-15) (previous ranking: 7) The Spurs climb up the rankings took a tumble despite a 3-1 week. The Nuggets surge and the Hawks decent week knocked them back a spot, but this team is starting to get going again, and eventually they will overtake Dallas in the Southwest Division.

9. Portland Trail Blazers (25-17) (previous ranking: 10) The Trail Blazers found ways to win when Brandon Roy is out, which is good. They did do better this week, with a 2-1 record as opposed to last week.

10. Phoenix Suns (24-18) (previous ranking: 8] The Suns are fading, and losing to red hot Charlotte, Atlanta and Memphis on the road are examples of why. They are 9-14 on the road and are showing that the West-to-East trips are not the best kind.

11. Oklahoma City Thunder (23-18) (previous ranking: 12) The Thunder are just going to be better and better in time. Sam Presti has gone young, and this team is thriving. Many are talking Kobe and LeBron for MVP, but can we get a mention for Kevin Durant?

12. Houston Rockets (23-18) (previous ranking: 11) The Rockets had a 2-2 week, but there is no room for mediocrity in the West. They have the Thunder, Jazz, Hornets, and out of nowhere, the Grizzlies to worry about. They need consistency night in and night out.

13. Utah Jazz (23-18) (previous ranking: 14) A 3-1 week puts the Jazz up a spot as they try to keep pace with the Rockets, Thunder, Grizzlies, and Hornets out West. The question with them now is: Are they going to trade Carlos Boozer. This team is starting to win more, but they are strapped for cash. We shall see.

14. Memphis Grizzlies (22-18) (previous ranking: 16) The Grizzlies have won nine straight at home, a franchise record, and are in fourth place in the Southwest Division. Had this been mentioned at the start of the season, there probably would’ve been a lot of crazy looks. Zach Randolph has been an impressive leader for this team, and is making everyone look better and keep their focus. Michael Heisley has to be pleased.

15. New Orleans Hornets (21-19) (previous ranking: 13) 2-3 week for the Hornets has them in the cellar in the Southwest Division at 21-19. Go figure. They need to win as much as they can to keep in the hunt, especially with the Grizzlies playing so well.

16. Charlotte Bobcats (20-19) (previous ranking: 19) Five straight wins, eight straight wins at home, and great defense has the surprising Bobcats up three spots in the rankings, and #5 in the Eastern Conference. This is the first time in team history that Charlotte has had a winning record at this point.

17. Miami Heat (20-19) (previous ranking: 15) Miami went 2-2 for the week, and lost two spots due to the surges of the Grizzlies and Bobcats. This team is a lot better than their record is showing. At least on paper.

18. Toronto Raptors (21-20) (previous ranking: 17) Bosh & Bargnani are playing some dynamic ball, and the Raptors finally have a winning record after all these weeks. If there is a rumor that the Raptors will trade Bosh (specifically to the Lakers), keep dreaming. It’s likely he will leave, but Bryan Colangelo will do everything in his power for him to stay.

19. Chicago Bulls (18-21) (previous ranking: 21) The Bulls had a 3-1 week. Again. As soon as Vinny del Negro is written off, he has a good week. Maybe people need to continue to tell him he’s going to be gone as a head coach.

20. Los Angeles Clippers (18-22) (previous ranking: 18) 1-4 week plus the news that Blake Griffin is done for the year. Not a good week at all for the Clippers. They were getting competitive in the West, but could be reverting to old ways.

21. New York Knicks (17-24) (previous ranking: 22) 2-3 week moves the Knicks up a spot. This team is slowly coming around, as they are just two games out the final playoff spot in the East at the halfway point. There is hope in the Big Apple.

22. Milwaukee Bucks (16-23) (previous ranking: 20) The Bucks went 1-4 this week, and received news that Michael Redd was done for the season (again) with a torn ACL (the same one from last year). They are on the verge of signing Jerry Stackhouse, but that won’t have much of an impact.

23. Sacramento Kings (15-25) (previous ranking: 23) The answer to the Kings peaking the previous week is confirmed. They have peaked after an 0-4 week. It was a good run while it lasted. Ever notice this team plays better WITHOUT Kevin Martin?

24. Indiana Pacers (14-26) (previous ranking: 28) How the Pacers missed Danny Granger. The comments about the Pacers improving are taken back. Even though Al Jefferson did have 26 rebounds in a game which would REALLY help Indiana.

25. Detroit Pistons (14-26) (previous ranking: 26) The Pistons losing streak was stopped at 13, and they responded with a 3-1 week. Can this team be on the mend fully and engineer a turnaround? Despite the 14-26 record, they are 4 1/2 games out of 8th in the East.

26. Washington Wizards (14-26) (previous ranking: 24) The Wizards are moving on with out the Gilbert Arenas fiasco. The only problem is that the big contract they gave him. It could get ugly. Still a long process before the “divorce” is finalized.

27. Philadelphia 76ers (13-27) (previous ranking: 27) 2-2 week for the Sixers, and they stay right at the same spot. No change for them and nothing to say really. The team is loaded with talent, and it’s sad to see that talent being wasted.

28. Golden State Warriors (12-27) (previous ranking: 25) The Warriors are an even more of a disaster now than they have ever been all season. They play no defense, and they don’t have another scorer aside from Monta Ellis. Not much for even a good coach like Don Nelson to work with.

29. Minnesota Timberwolves (9-33) (previous ranking: 29) Well it is good to see that Minnesota will avoid the 9 win mark. Unless they lose the next 40 games. That would be very scary.

30. New Jersey Nets (3-37) (previous ranking: 30) So if this was the case after 41 games, if the Nets post the same record over the next 41 games, they’d finish at either 8-74 or 6-76. The team is back, they have given up. Sad to see.

Be back next Monday with a new edition of Rankings.

NBA Rankings (1/11)

New week, new edition of the NBA Rankings.

Could the Lakers hold down the top spot for a third week in a row? What team is on-fire the past week and is heading up the charts? Lets go to the rankings….

1. Los Angeles Lakers (29-8) (previous ranking: 1) This team is getting production from EVERYbody. They are showing their depth, and it’s really going to be difficult for any team to stop. However, they did lose two in a row before Sunday’s win over the Bucks, so there are ways to stop them, just not on a consistent basis.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers (29-10) (previous ranking: 2) For the second week in a row, the Cavs are behind the Lakers. Not only are they trying to chase Los Angeles for the top spot in the Association, they have to worry about holding off the Boston Celtics in the East.

3. Boston Celtics (26-9) (previous ranking: 3) Rajon Rondo has really taken over this team. He has stars that can make him look good doing it. However, as great as Rondo been, the pulse of this team is still Kevin Garnett, and he has to get his knees in shape if they want any shot of a championship in June

4. Dallas Mavericks (25-12) (previous ranking: 5) Big win this week over San Antonio, but they got routed by the Utah Jazz at home. Not good, especially considering the Jazz’s road woes. But Orlando has been struggling as of late, so Dallas trades spots with them.

5. Orlando Magic (25-12) (previous ranking: 4) It has been a long stretch in the four spot for the Magic, but after a 1-3 week, that is over. The Magic need to get something, anything to get back to their winning ways. Good thing the Hawks are struggling, otherwise they would lose their Southeast Division lead.

6. Atlanta Hawks (23-13) (previous ranking: 6) No change for the Hawks after another 2-2 week. This team is 4-6 in the past 10, and once again, a very tough team to figure out. The rest of the teams are catching up to them, and catching up fast.

7. San Antonio Spurs (22-13) (previous ranking: 8] The Spurs are still climbing through the standings and in the rankings. Could they be one of the few teams that can challenge the Lakers in the West? Their only problem right now is that they have to get through the Mavericks first.

8. Phoenix Suns (23-14) (previous ranking: 9)- Phoenix is rising, they are curing the problems they are having on the road and are going back to playing solid hoops. But at the rate this season is going, they will have to concetrate on home-court, because the Lakers are running away from them in the Pacific Division.

9. Denver Nuggets (23-14) (previous ranking: 10)- It’s good that Denver is winning again, but to blow a lead and lose to a team like the Kings (who aren’t bad, the Nuggets are just better) is not acceptable for a team that made it to the Western Conference Finals a year ago. When healthy, this team is a problem for a lot of people.

10. Portland Trail Blazers (23-16) (previous ranking: 7) A 1-3 week sends the Blazers tumbling three spots. The good thing about this team is that they are just looking to play and see what happens, and not worry about the rest of the West. They have to turn it around this week however.

11. Houston Rockets (21-16) (previous ranking: 11) For the third week in a row, the Rockets stay at number 11. Not much to say about them, since they are behind the top 10 teams in the NBA. Aaron Brooks has been a pleasant surprise for them though.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (20-16) (previous ranking: 12) A 2-1 week keep the Thunder right at #12, Still playing solid ball right now, and trying to get their first playoff berth in Oklahoma City and in the playoffs for the first time since 2005 as the Seattle SuperSonics.

13. New Orleans Hornets (19-16) (previous ranking: 17) The Hornets are the high-risers for the week. Six straight wins have them back in the hunt and maybe changing minds about the firing of Byron Scott.

14. Utah Jazz (20-17) (previous ranking: 13) The Jazz had another even week, but it is hard to stop a team that has won six in a row from taking your spot. Win games to stay in your position or move up. Especially from 12 on down.

15. Miami Heat (18-17) (previous ranking: 14) The Heat were victims of the red hot Hornets, and the fans have to wonder if Pat Riley will make a move before the trade deadline to get Dwyane Wade and Michael Beasley a third scorer or playmaker to improve this team. They are fifth in the East, but teams are coming for that #5 spot.

16. Memphis Grizzlies (18-18) (previous ranking: 15) The Grizz might have kept that #15 spot if not for two things: 1. The Hornets’ win streak, and 2. Gerald Wallace’s tip at the buzzer at Charlotte. Still though, all five teams in the Southwest Division are at .500 or above. Very impressive, and the Grizzlies are the surprise of that.

17. Toronto Raptors (19-19) (previous ranking: 16) Toronto reached the other side of .500 for the first time this season before Sunday’s loss to Boston. They are getting it together, and possibly with a string of wins together, they can get that #5 spot in the East. Just a 1/2 game behind Miami.

18. Los Angeles Clippers (17-18) (previous ranking: 20) The Clippers showed up on live television, and beat the Lakers on their floor in both teams’ arena (Staples Center) They followed that up with a win over the Heat today to put them near .500. If the West wasn’t so tough, they could be talking playoffs.

19. Charlotte Bobcats (16-19) (previous ranking: 19) 2-1 week for the ‘Cats, and the dramatics of Gerald Wallace’s shot over the Grizzlies really shows that this team is serious about making the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Stephen Jackson has really been a difference for Charlotte since November.

20. Milwaukee Bucks (15-19) (previous ranking: 23) Maybe it was too early to crown Brandon Jennings as rookie of the year. He has faded, and so has this team. They are the beneficiaries of teams not playing well over the past week.

21. Chicago Bulls (15-20) (previous ranking: 18) As quickly as the Bulls were rising, a 1-3 week has put Vinny del Negro in the seat de caliente. Has John Paxson (Bulls GM) found a replacement, because that was the reason Vinny still had a job to begin with.

22. New York Knicks (15-21) (previous ranking: 23) The Knicks move up a spot with Sacramento struggling as of late. Short week for them at 1-1, so not much to be said here.

23. Sacramento Kings (15-21) (previous ranking: 21) THe question last week was: Have the Kings peaked? After a 1-2 week, you can say yes, but after the surprise win over the Nuggets this past Saturday, you never know with these guys.

24. Washington Wizards (12-23) (previous ranking: 25) The Wizards have removed anything Gilbert Arenas related from the Verizon Center. They are beginning to get the picture, but they have to get rid of this guy all together to have a shot to be respected in the NBA again. Any credibility of this squad was shot by Agent Zero.

25. Golden State Warriors (11-24) (previous ranking: 28) The Warriors? Went 2-1 in the past week? AND they moved up three spots? Don’t get too hopeful, this team is already done.

26. Detroit Pistons (11-24) (previous ranking: 24) 12 straight losses. At least Ben Gordon isn’t regretting leaving Chicago THAT much considering the Bulls are not that great, but the Pistons are so lost on the court, too many scorers there. Time for Joe Dumars to make a deal.

27. Philadelphia 76ers (11-25) (previous ranking: 26) 1-2 week for the Sixers and they are improving. It has been reported however, that Eddie Jordan’s job is in doubt. Will Tony DiLeo return to the bench?

28. Indiana Pacers (11-25) (previous ranking: 27) Good news: Danny Granger will be back. Bad news: it won’t improve the team. Indiana rejected a trade from Minnesota that would’ve landed them Al Jefferson. Larry Bird is loyal to Granger, and is willing to keep him.

29. Minnesota Timberwolves (8-30) (previous ranking: 29) The Jefferson deal fell through, the Wolves saw a dynamic inside/outside game w/ Granger & Love. Apparently Indiana saw differently.

30. New Jersey Nets (3-34) (previous ranking: 30) in four more games, it will be time to play guess how many wins New Jersey can win this season.

Enjoy the rankings! Hope your team is doing well.

NBA Rankings (1/4)

New Year, new rankings from the NBA. For this week, the top two teams have emerged in the Los Angeles Lakers and the Cleveland Cavaliers. It is 24 and 23. Kobe and LeBron. These two teams were neck and neck, and it looks like Cleveland would take over the top spot away. Did they? Let’s check out the rankings.

1. Los Angeles Lakers (27-6) (previous ranking: 1) The Lakers blasted the Mavericks, a top 10 team, and second in the Western Conference, so it was pretty clear that this team had to remain at #1 for the second week in a row.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers (27-9) (previous ranking: 3) The Cavs probably would have been the top team, but a loss at home to Charlotte (who is no pushover) moved them up just one spot. Head-to-head, the Cavs did beat the Lakers, so if they can keep up with them, they’ll be #1 in no time.

3. Boston Celtics (24-8) (previous ranking: 2) The injury bug has hit Boston the last couple of weeks. But they have found ways to win at least one game without some key players, and with the struggles of Orlando and Atlanta lately, they’re able to maintain their spot in the top 5.

4. Orlando Magic (24-9) (previous ranking: 4) 2-1 week keeps the Magic at #4. They are among the best, but the Lakers, Cleveland, and Boston are just better. Right now.

5. Dallas Mavericks (23-11) (previous ranking: 6) The Mavericks did not have a good week, capped off by getting blown at Staples by the Lakers, but they can thank the Atlanta Hawks for slumping as of late for a spot in the top 5.

6. Atlanta Hawks (21-11) (previous ranking: 5) The Hawks are hard to figure out. One minute, they are playing among the elite, then the next minute they are pretenders. This team needs some kind of consistency to be more believable. They have the tools, they need to execute.

7. Portland Trail Blazers (22-13) (previous ranking: 8] The Trail Blazers have taken over the lead on first place in the Northwest Divsion, and they have been playing good ball as of late. Brandon Roy has been brought back to earth from the diva-like attitude, and they are looking like the team that can contend in the West again.

8. San Antonio Spurs (20-12) (previous ranking: 10) 3-1 week for the Spurs, and this team is finally getting the flow together and learning each other. If they stay healthy, they will be the perennial problem in the West.

9. Phoenix Suns (21-13) (previous ranking: 9) 2-1 week for Phoenix, they’re still lurking in the West. They could catch fire once again and make noise. They haven’t been on the road lately, so they still need to cure the road woes first.

10. Denver Nuggets (21-13) (previous ranking: 7) Injuries have hampered the Nuggets as of late, and as a result, they drop three spots. Once healthy again, they should be back to where they need to be.

11. Houston Rockets (20-14) (previous ranking: 11) The Rockets are still at 11, kind of jammed up. Somehow, they have played well through the distraction of the Tracy McGrady saga. They can play better ball once the whole thing is behind them. It will be interesting to see if they stay the same or improve.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (18-15) (previous ranking: 14) Kevin Durant went on a tear the past week, and the Thunder kept on winning and winning. This team is so impressive and so talented, and the more they play together, the better they will be in the West.

13. Utah Jazz (18-15) (previous ranking: 13) 12-5 at EnergySoultions Arena, 6-10 away from Salt Lake City. Too much talent on this team to be so inconsistent. They need to find it, especially with Oklahoma City getting so much better.

14. Miami Heat (16-15) (previous ranking: 12) The Heat are cooling off fast. Not good, especially when the Charlotte Bobcats are starting to win on the road now. Which started in South Florida. Adjustments need to be made and made fast.

15. Memphis Grizzlies (16-16) (previous ranking: 17) The Grizzlies are at .500. If someone said that this would happen at the start of the season, it would have been a joke. This team has found a great chemistry, O.J. Mayo & Rudy Gay are playing well, Zach Randolph has behaved, and been a leader for the young team, and Mike Conley is doing a great job facilitating the offense. Very impressive run put together by Memphis, and has fans believing again.

16. Toronto Raptors (17-18) (previous ranking: 15) Hopefully Toronto can finally reach and go above .500. Hedo Turkoglu has been banged up as of late, so once he’s healthy, it would be good to see this team get to its full potential. They are still underachieving.

17. New Orleans Hornets (15-16) (previous ranking: 16) The Hornets are in a tough division as it is. Now with the surprising surge of Memphis, they just might not be as good as they appear. Jeff Bower was supposed to fix this, he has kept them afloat, but not where they can and should be.

18. Chicago Bulls (14-17) (previous ranking: 21) Amazing how after the talk of Vinny Del Negro being fired has lit a fire under the coach and the team. Four straight wins, and the possibility of more. Vinny has been fighting to keep his job, and the team is fighting forward. Tyrus Thomas has been a beast since returning from injury and has had major impact since his return.

19. Charlotte Bobcats (14-18) (previous ranking: 22) The Bobcats for this season, have more victories on the road in 2010 (2) than they had in all of 2009 (1). This team has the potential to be higher in the East if they can just get the road woes cure. Winning in Miami and in Cleveland (a place they were 0-10 before this past Sunday) are major steps in the right direction.

20. Los Angeles Clippers (14-18) (previous ranking: 19) The Clippers only played two games this week, going 1-1. Charlotte leapfrogs them simply for beating Wade and LeBron’s teams on back-to-back nights. Just a victim of circumstance

21. Sacramento Kings (14-19) (previous ranking: 18) The Kings have slumped a bit in the past week, so the question is. Has this team peaked already, or will the respond to the adversity? Time in this year will tell this.

22. Milwaukee Bucks (13-18) (previous ranking: 20) Where have the Bucks at the beginning of the season gone? Since the televised game at Oklahoma City, this team has not been the same. If the ship is not corrected, they could be one of the biggest first half disappointments after showing so much promise to start the year.

23. New York Knicks (14-20) (previous ranking: 23) No change for the Knicks, but another good week at 3-1 has the fans in New York believing once again. Mike D’Antoni has done a good job with this team. And the return of Nate Robinson was huge. 41 pts in his first game back against the Hawks, and a 132-89 thrashing of the Pacers has the people slowly embracing them again.

24. Detroit Pistons (11-21) (previous ranking: 24) Joe Dumars may be on the verge of coaching this team in the future if things do not improve. This is not a patient man, and a team that dominated this decade should not be THIS bad. Although injuries have hampered the team, most of the guys are back, and the improvement needs to show.

25. Washington Wizards (10-21) (previous ranking: 25) After the gun incident and the in-fighting between teams, it’s apparent that Gilbert Arenas is the problem here. Too bad he’s got that hefty contract that nobody wants to take. The Wizards need to make changes. Pronto.

26. Philadelphia 76ers (10-23) (previous ranking: 28) Iverson is back in the line up, and the Sixers went 3-1 this week. These are good things to build upon, and it’s not too late for Philadelphia to turn things around and get back into playoff contention. Let’s see how they take this momentum.

27. Indiana Pacers (10-23) (previous ranking: 26) The Pacers are still lucky to be in a bad division like the Central. The blowout loss to the Knicks really show how bad they are missing Danny Granger.

28. Golden State Warriors (9-23) (previous ranking: 27) What is there to say here? It’s going to be a long winter in the Bay Area.

29. Minnesota Timberwolves (7-28) (previous ranking: 29) The Timberwolves went 0-4 this week, but this team has played hard over the last few months. Of course there are no moral victories in sports, just the victories in the win column, which isn’t much.

30. New Jersey Nets (3-30) (previous ranking: 30) At least the Nets did win a game this week. They won’t get to 9-73, but they will be awfully close to it.

Weekly NBA Rankings (12/28)

Missed the rankings last week. Apologies to the people, so there will be no previous week’s rankings This will be the last ranking of 2009, so we will see how the 30 NBA teams will fare in 2010. Let’s go into the rankings.

Note: The records in parentheses were from 12/28/09

1. Los Angeles Lakers (24-5)- Despite losing to the Cavaliers on Christmas, if these two teams played a seven game series, the Lakers would eliminate the Cavs. Unless Cleveland can win against LA at home, the Lakers would be not be #1.

2. Boston Celtics (23-6)- The Celtics would’ve been #1 if Baron Davis had not sunk them with a buzzer beater. This is the second year in a row that the C’s went into the Staples Center and lost to the Clippers.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers (24-8)- The Cavaliers are playing great ball. Four straight wins, including a big Christmas Day win over the Lakers, but still not enough to overtake Boston as the best in the East.

4. Orlando Magic (22-8)- Stan Van Gundy wants to do away with the Christmas games? Why? If the Magic had won on Christmas Day, would he be saying this? Maybe Orlando needs to give up Dwight Howard so they won’t have anymore games on Christmas Day.

5. Atlanta Hawks (21-8)- It is good to see the Hawks finally have some kind of consistency. The up and down season can make any fan sick, but they are hanging strong with the Magic and are establishing themselves among the elite in the NBA.

6. Dallas Mavericks (22-9)- The Mavericks are solid, and tough… Dirk Nowitzki taking parts of Carl Landry’s teeth in his elbow? And still shooting the free throw? Crazy indeed. With Dampier back and Drew Gooden solidly backing him up and great guard play, it’s hard to go against them when healthy.

7. Denver Nuggets (20-11)- The Nuggets are still maintaining their lead, despite the injury to Chauncey Billups and his groin. This is also a reflection of the leadership of Carmelo Anthony and the maturity he has displayed over the past year and some change. Great to see.

8. Portland Trail Blazers (20-12)- When Greg Oden went down, it looked as if the air left this team, and the Blazers were head towards disaster. They have rallied around that and are playing good basketball. They are a very good team w/o Oden. Just a great team with him.

9. Phoenix Suns (19-12)- If the Suns can cure their road woes (8-10), they would be back among the top of the West. Luckily a home game against the Lakers can give this team some kind of momentum to get them rising again.

10. San Antonio Spurs (17-11)- The Spurs are hovering, but this is what they usually do at the start of the season. As it progresses, they will elevate their game, especially when the Rodeo Road Trip comes around.

11. Houston Rockets (18-13)- For a team that has had a huge distraction off-the-court with the impasse of star Tracy McGrady, the Rockets are still playing well. It is a shame to see the relationship between T-Mac and the team deteriorate, but honestly, what has he done since being in Houston?

12. Miami Heat (16-12)- Amazing how well Michael Beasley has been in the couple of months. This was a kid who was almost left for Bustville after his breakdown and the pressure of being a top pick. He has really matured and came along, and is the go-to-guy when Dwyane Wade is on the bench. More importantly, he’s responding to the role very well.

13. Utah Jazz (17-13)- For some reason, the Jazz can be a very better team than what their record is showing. It’s the intensity (or lack thereof) in the road games. There’s no crowd like the one in Salt Lake City, but they need to learn to turn negative energy into positive.

14. Oklahoma City Thunder (15-14)- One thing that can be said about the Thunder: they are consistent at being in the middle of the league. They are moving in the right direction, and it would be good to see them in the playoffs. Have you seen the crowd in Oklahoma City. They really can get the moniker of Loud City. Won’t be a Seattle crowd, but a good crowd nonetheless.

15. Toronto Raptors (15-17)- The Raptors are improving. Slowly. This is Bosh’s team, but when is Hedo Turkoglu going to have a bigger impact. He’s doing enough, but after his postseason in Orlando, he can be doing so much more.

16. New Orleans Hornets (13-15)- It seems like the Hornets are doing everything they can just to avoid the cellar. With the way the team below them are playing, they just might be destined to be there.

17. Memphis Grizzlies (13-16)- What has got into the Grizzlies? They saw the Thunder, and figured “we’re a young team, and we are just as good”, and with the play as of late, they just might be better. Allen who?

18. Sacramento Kings (13-16)- To come back from 35 points down ON the road against the Bulls (or any team) is a very remarkable feat. These are not the same Sacramento Kings we have seen for the past three years. Get this team a new arena in Sacto, quick!

19. Los Angeles Clippers (13-17)- You have to admire how the Clippers have done without Blake Griffin. They look like a better team when he is 100%, but we won’t know how that goes for another few weeks. He has been cleared for tougher workouts, so it’s a step in the right direction. They are 13-13 since that 0-4 start.

20. Milwaukee Bucks (12-16)- Where are the Bucks? And where is Brandon Jennings? Has the season caught up with them both? This team was as high as #8, but the slump has really caused them to drop in standings.

21. Chicago Bulls (11-17)- The Bulls are on the verge of firing Vinny del Negro, but they can’t decide on who will replace him, which is the reason why he is still coaching the team. Do the Bulls have a tradition of firing head coaches over the holidays?

22. Charlotte Bobcats (11-17) Say what you want about the Bobcats, but this is a team that could really be 5th or 6th in the East. The problem you ask? 1-13 on the road is not going to get you 5th or 6th in the East or a higher position in the rankings.

23. New York Knicks (11-19)- What has gotten into the New York Knicks? They are winning all of the sudden and Mike D’Antoni has finally found a rotation that works. One thing he needs to do however (or Donnie Walsh, rather) is get to get Nate Robinson out of New York. His career as a Knick is over, and he’s not getting out of that doghouse soon.

24. Detroit Pistons (11-19)- The Pistons were streaking, but now they are slumping. Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince (along with Ben Gordon) are back, so once they get back into the game flow, hopefully this team will get back to their winning ways.

25. Washington Wizards (10-18)- It has been said over and over and over again. It is time to dismantle the Big Three in Washington. Arenas, Butler, and Jamison are not meshing like they used to, and even with a good coach like Flip Saunders, this team should be a lot better than what their record is showing. Something has to give in the Nation’s Capital.

26. Indiana Pacers (9-20)- We knew the loss of Danny Granger would hurt, but the Pacers are freefalling fast. It’s a good thing for them that the rest of the division is freefalling right along with them (except for Cleveland)

27. Golden State Warriors (8-21)- Still no leadership on this team. Say what you want about Stephen Jackson, but it is pretty apparent that he was not the problem. The whole organization is. Monta Ellis is not ready to be a leader, and where is Stephen Curry. He would be a lot more useful in say….New York?

28. Philadelphia 76ers (7-22)- One of the biggest disappointments in the league, there’s no reason why a team with AI, AI2, and Elton Brand should be this bad. But in reality, AI may just actually be an old shell of himself, AI2 is exciting to watch, but he needs to have better shot selection, and Brand needs to get back to dominating form.

29. Minnesota Timberwolves (7-24)- There is one bright thing to say about the Timberwolves: They are distancing themselves from the worst team in the NBA, and just might move out of their residence at the 29 spot if the Sixers continue to struggle.

30. New Jersey Nets (2-28) If you want a blueprint on how to dismantle a team in six years, just ask Bruce Ratner. From Two-time Eastern Conference Champion to two wins in 30 games. This team was better off when the Yankees were owning them.