At this late stage of the NBA season, players and their teams fall into one of three categories:
1. Playoff lock; 2. Desperately seeking seeding, and 3. "Who shall I make this check out to for my summer vacation, which will start in April?"
It's pretty easy to identify the sure things and the also-rans. It's the desperate clubs that most of us have a tough time getting a handle on.
There are presently five teams in the league that give the hiccups a whole new meaning. They explode one night and implode the next. One week they throw daggers at the competition, the following week they're being read last rites.
What is apparent is that, while the Eastern Conference playoff hunt appears all but complete, the Western Conference race looks like one of those NASCAR nail-biters. There are several teams that may pass the bottom feeders on the final lap of the season in April.
Forget clubs like Toronto, Detroit, and Minnesota. Their records may indicate they are still hanging around, but the basic fact is that they are not very good and don't stand a chance.
Desperate teams have a certain look and feel to them, and will do most anything to cross the postseason finish line. But, because they continue to hit bumps along the way, they continue to be desperate.