Today I've got the first version of my playoff power rankings. Yesterday, I laid the basis for how these rankings will be done. Let's get it started!
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: This team is on a mission to go all the way now. They come out and beat up on everyone, no matter what their record is. The went 3-0 last week and two of the three were on the road. I am also impressed with how Delonte West came back. He looked great, no problems that were really noticeable.
2. Los Angeles Lakers: While the Lakers are the most talented team in league, they are not the best. They fall apart at times, their defense is horrid for about a half quarter a game and they don't usually get up for the bad teams. While they went 4-0 last week, they showed a very poor defensive effort against the team with the worst record of the four-the Timberwolves. They can get #1 if they want, they just need to steal the Cavs intensity.
3. Boston Celtics: Rondo and Allen are willing this team right now. They are playing well as always, but will struggle a bit without KG. 1-1 on the week, but there schedule won't be too tough this week.
4. Orlando Magic: They have played pretty well with the addition of Rafer Alston. Their offense hasn't been as crisp as it usually is, but as Rafer gets more accommodated, that will come. I really like their D, it's gotten a lot better. They went 3-1 for a solid week.
5. San Antonio Spurs: Even though the last couple of opponents have been easy, they are always consistent. With tons of three's this year, the only thing holding the Spurs back is the Lakers and better defense. 2-1 for the week, consistent as always.
6. Utah Jazz: They have put together some real quality wins lately. At home, they've beaten the Hornets, Celtics and Lakers recently. Boozer is supposed to be back pretty soon, Williams is hitting his stride, look out for Utah! 3-0 for a perfect week!
7. Portland Trail Blazers: While their week was a pretty easy (Grizz, excluding the Hawks, and Clipps), I like the way the pieces are coming together for them. 3-0 for the week, they have a chance to show any haters wrong if they beat the Spurs Wednesday.
8. Atlanta Hawks: They have not been great lately, but they've been solid all year. Looking ahead, there March sched. looks tough, but they'll have a chance to end the season strong. Don't give up on the young ones! 1-2 on the week, don't look for that to improve this week.
9. Denver Nuggets: While I like the way they've played this year, they've dropped the ball recently. J.R. was forcing shots in their loss against the Bucks, Billups looks a little out of rhythm and if teams realize what they Bucks did, they can exploit their offense with ease (try to keep the ball out of Chauncey's hands!). There worst loss came to an undermanned Bulls team (after the trade, before the new players came), they lost to a team that played about seven guys! They're better than that! 1-2 last week, LA and the Celts come to Denver this week.
10. Houston Rockets: While everyone knows this team will not contend for a title as it was supposed to, they are a team that always fights. Despite what some would say is not a difficult week, they went 3-0 and let's remember this is the NBA.
11. New Orleans Hornets: Health has really hindered this teams success, but they are beginning to shape up a bit. 2-2 for the week, but the beat the Magic soundly, that's impressive.
12. Dallas Mavericks: While they are sitting at sixth in the West, they are playing alright and would be a cool fourth if they were in the East. If this team was really consistent, they could be alright, but as they are now, they will never really be talked about. 2-1 week, going into what should be at worst a 3-1 week.
13. Miluakee Bucks: I had to give them the nod over the Heat for two reasons: (1) The Heat lost to the Timberwolves and (2), they play everyone tough and stole one from Denver. 2-2, they play well this week and they might go 2-1.
14. Miami Heat: Almost have home court in the playoffs, but can't win when a guy scores 50. Does that tell you how much better the low tier of the Western conference is? They can't do much once they get to the playoffs, unless DWade goes nuts. 1-2 on the week, tisk tisk!
15. Philidelphia 76ers: They have been up and down lately, but I like them more than the Pistons. 0-3 on the week, they could go 3-1 this week.
16. Detroit Pistons: Can't believe they've fallen this far. They stink. That's all I have to say. 0-3 week, who cares about this season for them anymore.