Don’t Forget the NBA During March Madness

 

Erik Spoelstra

Spoelstra's Heat are now at 23 and counting.

I get it. You came here looking for advice on just who to take in your NCAA office bracket pool aren’t you? Well, you’ll just have to wait until tomorrow until I give you my Final Four picks because today I’m focusing on the ‘Forgotten.’

You may know the ‘Forgotten’ better as the National Basketball Association. During the month of March the NBA becomes like Allen Iverson these days. They desperately want to be relevant but there are far more important things to discuss.

The exception here is the Miami Heat and their 22-game winning streak that went into Boston last night. The exception is also the fact that Kobe tried to play, but the ankle just isn’t responding. Oh, he has the flu now too. The exception is that the playoff race is starting to take shape in both conferences.

Miami entered play last night in Boston having pretty much wrapped up the one seed in the Eastern Conference. They lead second-place Indiana by 11.5 games after all. Kevin Garnett was a game-time decision going into the game which means he is less than 100%. Assuming the Heat won, I still have reservations that they will get to the record of 33 simply because they still have the Knicks and Spurs on the schedule.

Both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have been excellent during this run, but they are getting big contributions from guys like Chris Bosh, Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers and veteran Ray Allen.

When Miami decides that it wants to play defense they are downright unbeatable. The question right now is will they be able to stay interested and motivated enough to get themselves ready for the playoffs? This streak should do it and the fact Boston was the team that ended Houston’s 22-games streak a few years ago.

Update: Miami defeated Boston 105-103 last night to make it 23 wins in a row.

If there was ever a good time for Kobe Bryant to be laid up with an ankle injury and the flu, then this is certainly it. After knocking off Sacramento Sunday Night, they played at woeful Phoenix and then host the Washington Wizards on Friday. That should give Bryant time to both get healthy and heal.

 

George Karl

Karl and the Nuggets have a pretty impressive streak of their own going right now.

While many have suggested that maybe the Lakers would play better without Bryant on the floor, that probably isn’t the case. Kobe will never be known as a ‘good sharer’ of the ball but he understands at this point in his career what it takes to win games and be successful long-term. LA continues to cling to the 8th seed in the West by one game over Utah.

Update: The Lakers were beaten in Phoenix 99-76.

Keep an eye on the Denver Nuggets. Dwarfed by the Heat’s impressive streak, Denver has won 11 straight and is just one game back of the LA Clippers for the third seed and five back of Oklahoma City for the second. Catching the Thunder may be a stretch but, but I can easily see them grabbing the three spot.

The Eastern Conference is really intriguing. Spots two through seven are separated by just 3.5 games which means teams could go from a solid two or three seed down to a six or seven in short order.

Games Tonight

Denver at Oklahoma City – If the Nuggets have any hope of catching the Thunder in the West then this is a must-win game. OKC is just too tough at home though for me not to take the Thunder.

LA Clippers at Sacramento – The Clippers are actually 7-3 over their last ten but are in serious jeopardy of slipping into the fourth or fifth seed if they aren’t careful. Winning game like this one are a must. Take Lob City in this one.

 

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