Here are the top 8 teams in each conference with about 5 weeks left in the first half of the season:
West: 1. Golden State Warriors (31-6) 2.San Antonio Spurs (29-7) 3. Houston Rockets (29-9) 4. LA Clippers (22-14) 5. Utah Jazz (22-15) 6. Memphis Grizzlies (23-16) 7. Oklahoma City Thunder (21-16) 8. Portland Trailblazers (16-22)
East: 1. Cleveland Cavaliers (27-8) 2. Toronto Raptors (24-11) 3. Boston Celtics (22-14) 4. Atlanta Hawks (20-16) 5. Charlotte Hornets (20-17) 6. Milwaukee Bucks (18-17) 7. Indiana Pacers (19-18) 8. Chicago Bulls (18-18)
We’re barely a quarter of the way through the season and barring any major injuries the plot is already set for how things are going to play out.
The Contenders are Golden State, and Cleveland (who by the way just traded some dead weight in exchange for sharpshooter Kyle Korver–anyone remember when Mike Miller joined the Heat?????). The Spurs are too good to be pretenders, but too inconsistent to to contenders, but as of today their bench is better than Golden State’s. They are on the bubble because you know, anything can happen.
The Pretenders are Houston, Toronto, LA Clippers, and Boston. These teams all have good records and are beating the teams they are supposed to, but you can’t find a strain of weed strong enough to make me believe they can beat the Warriors or Cavs in a seven game series.
The rest of the league falls into either into the “they aight” category or they fall into the Basura Division. Utah, Charlotte, Atlanta, Milwaukee, OKC, and Indiana are “aight” and the rest of teams in the NBA are straight up trash (sorry Blazers fans–records lie when you are good, but they be telling the truth when you are bad).
Now that we are all caught up, let’s talk about this week’s Clicks to Picks.
“Tap That Vein” Monday
Dallas at Minnesota
If you have no desire to watch the NCAA title game, then flip on over to the Timberwolves-Mavericks game. Every week I become less of a fan of Tom Thibodeau than the week before. Dude has no flex to him at all. I bet he is the type of dude who wakes up at exactly the same time every morning for breakfast, uses precisely same amount of butter on his toast and the meticulously spoons the same amount of brown sugar into his oatmeal before taking a sip from his glass of orange, and opening the local newspaper to read the obituaries. If his sadistic coaching strategy indirectly leads to a career threatening injury to Zach Lavine, Karl Anthony Towns, or Andrew Wiggins, I will never forgive him. Anyway, this a matchup of two last place teams in the west with identical 11-25 records. The bottom of the west is trash though that both teams are only 4.5 games from the 8th seed. Moving on…..
Cleveland at Utah
Utah gives the elite teams good run. It feels like the media has their mind made up to give the DPOY award to Jazz center Rudy Gobert. I’m still not convinced that Quinn Snyder is a good coach (this might be a case of a team’s winning record being deceptive) and despite giving up only 95 points a game, the Jazz only score 99 a game. I think this game may be an educational one.
Charlotte at Houston
People are hype on Houston right now because they score a lot of points and James Harden is balling out of control. They still give up 106 points a game on average, and I’m not ready to take them seriously yet. If they can somehow pick up a package from Atlanta that will net them Tiago Splitter and Paul Milsap, that will be enough to change my tune.
Milwaukee at San Antonio (Good Ass Game of the Week)
I’m not sure if we are there yet, but Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker are dangerously close to becoming “Must See” TV. I really enjoy watching this collection of Bucks play. Even though they only win every other game, even their losses are entertaining ones. Anything outside the scope of watching this game does not exist.
Memphis at Oklahoma City
The Grizzlebees showed me something on Friday. I go into every season thinking they’ll finally succumb to old age and injuries, but even when they do they fight through it. No matter what, they make teams beat them. I admire this core group of Tony Allen, Mike Conley, Z-Bo, Gasol, and now even Vince. They will be a memorable group even if they’ll never win a title together. Despite the ludicrous video game production that Russ is putting up, by the end of games he is tired. Factor in that he has no one else on that team to take the big shots during winning time, and you see why its surprising to see the Thunder in 6th place. This team would be the 1993 Dallas Mavericks if not for Russell Westbrook.
Los Angeles at San Antonio
I like the idea of the Baby Lake Pageant more than the pageant itself. Some nights they are fun to watch and other nights I can’t turn the stream to their games off fast enough. Sometimes it just depends on who they play as well. I don’t need much of an excuse to watch the Spurs play so this is right up my alley.
Detroit at Golden State
Golden State’s Achilles heel is their bench and unless they secure more help for their starters, they will fall short of an NBA title. Cleveland trading away Mo Williams and Mike Dunleavy for Kyle “frigging” Korver just cemented their status as best team in the NBA. I think they’d beat Golden State in five games if the Finals started today with their current rosters. Detroit has been doo-doo all year but they can still sneak into the post-season. There are at least four teams in the East worse than they are, and they’d actually be the number 8 seed out west.
Memphis at Houston
What a better way to end the week than by cooking a pot of chili and baking some spooned cornbread right before what will certainly be an exciting game. Memphis is going to want to slow the game down and Houston will want to speed it up. Someone might even punch team designated fucboi Patrick Beverly in his ugly mouth. You don’t want to miss that do you? I thought not.
Cleveland at Sacramento
This can game can go in either two directions: Cavs blow the Kings out, and Demarcus gets ejected for pouting in the third quarter after running up and down the court all night–not getting any calls from the refs. Or the team plays one of its most focused games and rides a raucous crowd to a feel good home victory. The Kings are a very frustrating team to follow because they should be a good organization. No one in the front office knows what the fuck they are doing, and that instability trickles down to the players. There is no team philosophy and the pieces on that team don’t fit. The city of Sacramento is depressing enough on its own. Having an incompetent franchise in the capital of California only adds to the absurdity of that state.
DATE NIGHT!!! (No Good Ass Games Scheduled for Saturday)
NFL Playoffs. Watch basketball at your own risk. (No Good Ass Games Scheduled for Sunday)
Bobby Mickey is the alter ego of writer and poet Edward Austin Robertson. When he isn’t involved in some basketball related activity, actively looking for parties to deejay or venues to perform comedy, he can be found recording podcasts with Craig Stein at FullsassStudios. Follow him on twitter @clickpicka79. For booking inquiries, send contact info to firstname.lastname@example.org