Posted on: March 11, 2009 3:19 pm




1. Cleveland Cavaliers

Current Record: 50-13     Last 10 games: 8-2     Streak: W2     Home: 28-1     Road: 22-12

They've gone 3-1 in the past week with the lone setback an away game at Boston.  Lebron seems to be strengthening his hold on the MVP award and Mo Williams continues to prove to be the perfect addition to this team.  After visiting Phoenix tomorrow their next 2 are at Sacramento and home against the Knicks (certainly 2-1 if not 3-0 over that stretch) before a big showdown with the Magic.  Upcoming week(w/my predictions): @ PHO(W) @SAC(W) vs. NY(W)   Last week: 3-0 



2. Los Angeles Lakers

Current Record: 50-13     Last 10 games: 7-3     Streak: L1     Home: 29-4     Road: 21-9

After suffering their worst loss of the season at Portland, Kobe and Co. stumble from the top spot.  They've lost 3 of their last 5 games (all on the road) with two homes wins against MIN and MEM) and now face a tough stretch against Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas.Still don't see the Spurs catching them for Western Conference supremacy.  Upcoming week: @HOU(L), @SA(L), vs. DAL(W) Last week: 1-1



3. Boston Celtics

Current Record: 49-15     Last 10 games: 6-4     Streak: L1     Home: 26-6     Road: 23-9

They follow up a big victory against the Cavaliers with a home loss to the Magic.  Despite the addition of Marbury, it seems the absence of Rondo impacts this team significantly. Kevin Garnett's return may prove me wrong, but I'm starting to think Cleveland will win the #1 seed.  Upcoming week: @MIA(W), vs. MEM(W), @MIL(W)  Last week: 2-0



4. Orlando Magic

Current Record: 46-17     Last 10 games: 7-3     Streak: L1     Home: 24-7     Road: 22-10

A big road victory at Boston should boost this teams confidence for the playoffs.  Rafter Alston is averaging 9.3ppg and 6.33apg in his last three and I expect those numbers to improve.  They're going to be dangerous in the playoffs and a good run could possibly get them to the finals. Upcoming week: vs. CHI(W), @WAS(W), vs.UTA(L)  Last week: 2-0




5. San Antonio Spurs

Current Record: 43-20     Last 10 games: 7-3     Streak: W3     Home: 23-8     Road: 20-12

I love the addition of Drew Gooden and think he will fit in well and be a nice addition come playoff time.  Is he enough to close the gap between the Spurs and the Lakers?  Possibly, but I still think the Western Conference is the Lakers to lose. Luckily the Lakers visit San Antonio tomorrow in what should be another preview of the Western finals.  Upcoming week: vs. LAL(W), @HOU(L), @OKC(W)   Last week: 2-0



6. Houston Rockets

Current Record: 42-23     Last 10 games: 8-2     Streak: W3     Home: 27-6     Road: 15-17

They continue to play great basketball in Mcgrady's absence, which begs the question...Are they better off without him?  This team is built for defense and Mcgrady has never been known for that.  I bet Mcgrady shopping continues this off-season.  They need to improve on the road or they can keep dreaming in regards to challenging the Lakers and Spurs.  Upcoming week: vs. LAL(W), @CHA(W), vs. SA(W), @NO(L)  Last week: 1-0



7. Utah Jazz

Current Record: 41-23     Last 10 games: 10-0     Streak: W12     Home: 28-6     Road: 13-17

With a 12 game winning streak the Jazz have catapulted themselves into the Western conference discussion. They've consistently been good at home but weary on the road but they have a chance to turn that around with their next three away from home.  It's starting to look like they're going to pull away from the Blazers and Nuggets to take the Northwest division and at least lock up one round of home court advantage.  Upcoming week: @ATL(L), @MIA(W), @ORL(L)  Last week: 2-0



8. Portland Trailblazers

Current Record: 40-23     Last 10 games: 7-3     Streak: W2     Home: 27-5     Road: 13-18

They've won 5 of their last 6  and have a very impressive victory over the Lakers, were it not for Utah's winning streak I'd probably have Portland ahead of them.  I think their youth is going to catch up with them down the stretch and they will falter a little bit.  I'm beginning to wonder if Oden will ever stay healthy enough to be a factor, imagine they could've had Durant! Roy/Aldridge and improving on the road are the keys here. Upcoming week: vs. DAL(W), vs. NJ(W), @ATL(L), @ MEM(W)  Last week: 1-1



9. New Orleans Hornets

Current Record: 39-23     Last 10 games: 7-3     Streak: L1     Home: 23-9     Road: 16-14

Current road trip should be a good test for this team.  Before their loss to Atlanta they had won 7 in a row, they may surprise someone in the playoffs but I don't think they have what it takes to get to the WC finals.  They're road record is encouraging but I think their bench holds them back.   I'm kinda hoping for a Hornets/Jazz series in the playoffs for PG supremacy.  Upcoming week: @WAS(W), @MIL(W), @CHI(L), vs.HOU(W)  Last week: 2-0



10. Dallas Mavericks

Current Record: 39-25     Last 10 games: 7-3     Streak: W2     Home: 24-8     Road: 15-17

A victory over the Spurs had them feeling well though New Orleans handled them handily.  A nice road victory over Phoenix gives them a little cushion for a playoff spot.  I think they can be even better than they are now but I think it falls onto Josh Howard to step up, unfortunately they still haven't showed me anything to lead me to believe they'll get out of the first round of the playoffs. Upcoming week: @POR(L), @GS(W), @LAL(L)   Last week: 3-0



11. Denver Nuggets

Current Record: 40-25     Last 10 games: 3-7     Streak: L3     Home: 23-8     Road: 17-17

They've lost 5 of their last 6 and 3 of their last 11.  They need Kenyon Martin to get healthy for the playoffs but Chris Anderson continues to emerge as a defensive presence.  I think they could've definitely used Marcus Camby but that's what "cost-cutting" gets you.  I don't really see them turning this downward slide around.  Their next 3 are at home which could assist in turning it around but a 3 game road trip looms ahead on the 23rd (Pho,NO,Dal)  Upcoming week: vs. OKC(W), vs. LAC(W), vs. NJ(W)  Last week: 1-1



12. Miami Heat

Current Record: 34-29     Last 10 games: 6-4     Streak: W1     Home: 22-11     Road: 12-18

Dwyane Wade is a beast and continues to make a push for the MVP award.  I'm starting to like the move of Marion and the continuing improvement of Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers.  This team can definitely give somebody a scare come playoff time but I think their bench is still too thin...In another year or 2 they're going to be REALLY good.  Upcoming week: vs. BOS(L), vs. UTA(W), @PHI(W)



13. Atlanta Hawks

Current Record: 34-29     Last 10 games: 6-4     Streak: W1     Home: 22-11     Road: 12-18

They followed lowly losses to the Knicks and Bobcats with impressive victories of Detroit and New Orleans.  Their next 5 and 9 of their next 10 are at home where they have played well.  They'll probably continue to move up the rankings and could shock come playoff time.  Upcoming week: vs. UTA(W), vs. IND(W), vs. PORT(W)



14. Detroit Pistons

Current Record: 32-30     Last 10 games: 5-5     Streak: W1     Home: 17-15     Road: 15-15

Iverson goes down and all of a sudden they start playing better again...As he's suggested he would, I think it may be better to have Iverson come off the bench.  I'm surprised they haven't been that dominant at home but I think that'll improve down the stretch.  A .500 road winning percentage is a good sign.  They'll be in the playoffs of course but I don't see them making much noise just yet.  Upcoming week: vs. NY(W), @TOR(W), vs. MEM(W)



15. Phoenix Suns

Current Record: 34-30     Last 10 games: 3-7     Streak: L5     Home: 19-12     Road: 15-18

I was reluctant to even put them in the top 15 considering their 5 game losing streak but really, I don't think any of the remaining teams are better than them either.  Either way, Steve Nash and Shaq better straighten this thing out or come playoff time they're going to be on the outside looking in.  Also think they need to keep Amare and start shopping J-Rich. Upcoming week: vs. CLE(L), vs. OKC(W), @GS(L)


pt. 2 continued later tonight....






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