D’Antoni exit sparks revival?
MIKE D'Antoni's resignation as the head coach of the New York Knicks last week was of little surprise to many following the franchise's poor run of six games without a win.
Incidentally, in the game that followed, the Knicks recorded a comprehensive 42-point victory over the Portland Trailblazers and since then have won an additonal two games on the trot.
With a 21-24 record they still occupy eighth place in the conference but will now have to fight tooth and nail to keep that place ahead of the surging Milwaukee Bucks.
The Bucks closed the week with a conference-best run of five consecutive wins and with the favourable acquisitions of Monta Ellis and Stephen Jackson things are looking bright as the regular season draws to a close. Both players are proven contributors on the offensive and defensive end and that has so far given the franchise a huge boost.
The two surprises of the conference, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Idiana Pacers, have found things tough in recent times and have both recorded just four wins in their last 10 appearances. With respective losing streaks of three games and two, their shattering confidences has placed them within striking distance of the Atlanta Hawks who are on the rise thanks to recent back-to-back victories. The overall records as at press time was 25-20 for the 76ers, 25-18 for the Pacers and 26-19 for the Hawks.
With approximately 20 games left in the regular season, there is a huge contrast between the top and bottom-placed teams of the conference; the Chicago Bulls and the Charlotte Bobcats. While the Bulls are running away with the conference thanks to an overall record of 37-10, the Bobcats have managed a meagre seven wins from their 43 games played as at last Saturday. All things considered, referring to the respective seasons as a 'huge contrast' may even be an understatement.
Suns surprise NBA nation
THE Phoenix Suns highlighted the final week of the trade window by becoming only the fourth team to win their back-to-back-to-back games schedule as designed because of the lockout-affected shortened season. Their victims in that spell included the Utah Jazz, Detroit Pistons and the Los Angeles Clippers and with the wins they have climbed to ninth with an overall 22-22 record.
At the close of last week, the defending champions, the Dallas Mavericks were also riding the waves of a three-game winning streak. After laying dangerously in eighth place, the Mavs used to run to lift themselves to sixth place with a 26-20 record just behind the Memphis Grizzlies who have a record of 24-18.
The form of the conference leaders, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs have been slightly off course in recent times though both have won six of the last 10 games played. The Spurs managed to beat the Thunder 114-105 on Friday but fell 106-99 to the Mavs meaning that both lost their last game of the week.
The Los Angeles Lakers are now in the process of securing third place in the conference thanks to their five-game unbeaten run. They wrapped up the week with a 97-92 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves who are still shaken by the loss of point guard Ricky Rubio.