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weekly semi-regular edition of the SoB NBA Eastern Conference Power Rankings! I can’t keep typing that out every week, so if someone out there in cyberspace has a catchy title for this column, by all means let me know in the comments.
Let’s check back in with our Eastern Conference brethren to see how everybody’s doing and where teams stack up against one another. It’s the Beasts to the Leasts of the East. Let’s get to it.
1 (1). New York Knicks (14-4): Well, then. After last night’s win over Miami (minus Carmelo, no less), the Knicks have now beaten the defending champions by a combined 40 points. I’d say that solidifies the top spot in the East (at least).
2 (2). Miami Heat (12-5): As bad as two 20-point losses to the Knickerbockers look (and sound – I mean, the Heat essentially lost to the New York Stockings), a four point loss to the Wizards is even worse. Still, how can you drop the Heat any lower considering the rest of the Eastern Conference? And that’s before even mentioning LeBron James’s near back-to-back triple doubles (26-13-11 vs. Washington, 31-10-9 vs. New York).
3 (4). Atlanta Hawks (11-5): Not that I had any great respect for Joe Johnson and what he brought to the Hawks (especially at that price), but I didn’t really expect the Hawks to establish themselves as the third best team in the East following his departure. I guess you can replace that production pretty easily when you have $20 million to spread out over the rest of the roster.
4 (6). Brooklyn Nets (11-7): Not that I have any great respect for Joe Johnson and what he brings to the Nets (especially at that price), but I didn’t really expect the Nets to establish themselves as the fourth best team in the East following his arrival. Then again, he leads the Nets in exactly zero statistical categories (he’s third on the team in scoring).
5 (3). Milwaukee Bucks (9-9): I presume the Bucks will start to fall in these rankings shortly, having fallen under .500 and spotting Boston a 17 point head start last Saturday. But they managed to come back to beat the Rondo-less C’s (excuse me while I poke myself in the eye repeatedly) and Larry Sanders recently put up a triple-double of his own with 10 blocks. That has to count for something, right?
6 (8). Philadelphia 76ers (11-8): I really don’t want to take the Sixers seriously, but they’re now 2-0 against the Celtics. Without their ‘fro’d out center.
8 (7). Chicago Bulls (10-8): Chicago is desperately hoping Derrick Rose is getting pointers from Adrian Peterson.
9 (9). Indiana Pacers (10-10): With six wins in their last eight contests, are the Pacers back on track? I expect they’ll make the playoffs, but they’ll be lamenting this season with sorrowful renditions of “Oh Danny Boy” before this season’s through.
10 (11). Orlando Magic (7-12): Glen Davis is leading the way for this surprisingly pesky team with a 16.2 PER. Sure, that doesn’t mean much (seriously, PER confuses me as a stat), but hey, at least they got their revenge win over Dwight Howard and the Lakers!
11 (10). Charlotte Bobcats (7-11): I feel bad dropping the Bobcats in the standings. After the news out of New Orleans (go Pelicans!), I hate to be a Debbie Downer on the excitement of Charlotte getting back its rightful Hornets name. And bringing back those sweet Glenn Robinson-era starter jackets and snapbacks.
12 (13). Detroit Pistons (6-15): Who would have thought Kyle Singler would make this team better? Not much, obviously, but any moral victory has to be welcome.
13 (12). Cleveland Cavaliers (4-16): Anderson Varejao is averaging 15.4 rebounds per game. You know your season is depressing when that’s the most impressive stat line on your team.
14 (15). Washington Wizards (2-14): I can’t not move them up after beating the Heat, right?
15 (14). Toronto Raptors (4-16): Anytime the most exciting news surrounding your team is trade rumors for an injured, mopey, less than effective Pau Gasol, you’ve cemented your last place standing in the Eastern Conference.