* I wonder if Miami’s recent win over the L.A. Lakers will finally give them the spark they need to start winning against better teams. Prior to that game, they were 1-9 against the top five teams in the league and 15-19 against all teams with a record of .500 or better. Stats like that don’t bode well for the playoffs when it’s nothing but the top teams. For the Heat to make any noise in the playoffs, I think the supporting cast has obviously got to get more involved, and Wade is going to have to be the go-to guy with LeBron playing more of a distributor role. That doesn’t mean that LeBron shouldn’t get a lot of shots or that Wade can force the issue at will, but there needs to be an alpha dog and there needs to be better spacing on offense. I’ve seen too much one-on-one crap from them this year with everyone else standing around and too much uncertainty over whether it’s LeBron’s or Wade’s team. That all needs to change before it’s too late. Cohesion, cohesion, cohesion!
* Philadelphia has impressed me with their tenacity this year. They are basically a bunch of young guys and role players, but Doug Collins has them playing tough. Whoever faces them in the playoffs (assuming they make it – they are on pace to) better not take them too lightly because they aren’t easy to beat up on anymore. They aren’t on national TV much, but if you have League Pass or something, check them out sometime – they are fun to watch in an intense sort of way as opposed to a highlight reel sort of way.
* After considering the MVP candidates, right now I think the leading one is Derrick Rose. The Bulls are neck and neck with the Celtics for the first spot in the East, and Rose has been simply brilliant the whole way through, leading a Bulls team from a playoff contender to a true championship contender. Of course, it helps too that they stole a lot of Utah’s talent and got Tom Thibodeau as a coach, but none of that would have mattered as much if Rose hadn’t captained the ship well.
* The Wizards are now 1-29 on the road, and we know who they beat for their lone win. What a sad little team.
* My Thunder are looking even better since the deals. James Harden in particular really is flourishing in his expanded role. I can’t wait to see how this unit handles the playoffs.
* A few neat little percentage numbers: Nene is the only player in the league shooting better than 60%, and he’s at nearly 63%; among players who have attempted 100 or more free throws, there are seven shooting better than 90%; and Matt Bonner is leading the league in three-point shooting percentage at 51.2% with the next closest being Ray Allen at 46.5%.
* One more little stat: did you know that Andrew Bogut is out-blocking everyone this season, including Dwight Howard? I didn’t until I looked. Too bad Andrew is stuck on the Boring Bucks or else he might be getting more attention.
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