NBA Roundup Post #3: The Playoff Picture Gets Clearer (Part One)

Well it’s good to be back.  I’m going to be starting another Mariner’s diaries column once I get back from housesitting in Renton, and will provide some insight prior to the start of several Men’s Conference Tournaments for college basketball.  Let’s start with the top of the Eastern Conference.

1.  Hawks are the team to beat

In a very hyped up showdown between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta won by a score of 106-97.  Cavaliers star LeBron James had nine turnovers during the game and if your a Cavs fan that’s a bit concerning considering how rare those kinds of things are (LeBron also was only 3 of 11 from the free throw line in a 105-103 overtime loss to the Houston Rockets last Sunday).  Atlanta typically has been a team that’s lost in the first round or barely made the second, but they could make some serious noise and may even make their first NBA Finals as a franchise.  As for Cleveland they now hold a half game lead for the second spot in the Eastern Conference.  The Cavaliers have been on a strong 21-6 tear ever since LeBron returned from injury, but for now the Hawks hold all the cards and a 10.5 game lead for Home-Court advantage.  It could be different come playoff time though.

2.  Who wins the NBA MVP?

I’m a LeBron fan, but I’ve got to give this award to Steph Curry.  LeBron had an impressive 42 point in a 110-99 win over the Golden State Warriors, but Curry has the Warriors playing at a very elite level this basketball season.  Golden State has a league-best 48-12 record and has been playing lights out ever since the season started.  Several good candidates including Thunder guard Russell Westbrook who has been putting up triple-doubles like there’s no tomorrow, and the other “King James”, James Harden, who has his Rockets playing very good basketball as well.  It’s still up for grabs, but I think the Dubs star deserves this one more than anyone else.

3.  Again how bad is the East…

Let me show you the bottom tier of the standings.

7 Indiana 28 34 .452 21 16-14 12-20 6-5 20-16 96.1 96.1 -0.0 Won 5 8-2
8 Miami 28 34 .452 21 13-17 15-17 4-9 18-18 94.5 97.0 -2.5 Won 1 6-4
Charlotte 27 33 .450 21 15-16 12-17 7-4 20-16 95.1 96.7 -1.7 Won 4 5-5
Boston 25 35 .417 23 15-16 10-19 7-4 14-20 101.0 102.4 -1.4 Won 2 6-4
Brooklyn 25 35 .417 23 11-17 14-18 7-5 14-21 96.5 99.8 -3.4 Lost 2 4-6