Tuesday, February 07, 2012

A bruising fall

Eastern Conference

THE Charlotte Bobcats have fallen far from grace when taking into consideration their 10-game losing streak as at Friday of last week. Needless to say, this places them at the bottom of the league. Their last defeat was an embarassing 112-68 loss to the Portland Trailblazers in their visit to the West for an overall record of 3-20.

Just above them with a 4-20 record are the Washington Wizards who lost their fourth consecutive game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday. With just over 40 games left in the season, these teams will have to go on a huge run to stand any chance of challenging for a post-season spot.

The New York Knicks have slipped to a record of 9-15 and, while the administration reports that it is still too early to panic, only a few would take these reports seriously. Doesn't it go without saying that they are expected to be in the play-offs?

Based on current form that seems to be a large mountain to conquer.

On the brighter side, fans of the Boston Celtics would be happy to know that their team rallied back to play-off contention on the heels of a three-game winning streak as at Saturday to make it eight victories in their last 10 games.

The Chicago Bulls hold a record of 19-6, being trailed by the Miami Heat with a 17-6 record while in third place in the conference are the Philadelphia 76ers with a 17-7 record.

Competition heats up

Western Conference

AS it stands, there are six teams battling for the final three spots of the top eight of the conference standings. Less than two games separate those six teams so a positive or negative run for any in the lot would mean significant changes to the tables.

As at Friday, the Utah Jazz were suffering from a two-game losing streak which has seen them slip to sixth place in the conference. The Trailblazers and the Dallas Mavericks are just below them with the latter suffering from a three-game losing streak after a 91-88 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Minnesota Timberwolves with a 12-12 record are trying to put a run together so as to push for a place in the final eight and point guard Ricky Rubio along with forward Kevin Love continue to lead the charge. The rookie Rubio is averaging 8.8 assists for fourth place in the league in that category trailing only Steve Nash, Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul. The Houston Rockets and the Memphis Grizzlies though out of contention, are also in a position to pounce with respective records of 13-11 and 12-11.

Answering the call, the Los Angeles Lakers have rocketed to fifth in the conference thanks to a three-game winning streak for a record of 14-9 while their city rivals, the LA Clippers have risen to second in the rankings with a 14-7 record.

Editor's Note: The starters for the 2011-2012 NBA All-Star Game were selected last week for both the Eastern and Western conferences. For the East: Dwight Howard of the Magic, Derrick Rose of the Bulls, Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks and the South Beach duo of LeBron James and Dwayne Wade will be starting. While for the West: their starters will be Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum from the Lakers, Kevin Durant from the Thunder and Chris Paul and dunk machine Blake Griifin from the Clippers.