Do you smell that?
No, not what The Rock is cooking (whatever that may be). I'm talking, instead, about the NBA playoffs!
You know, the smell of intense competition, of guys actually caring, of some fans jumping around in ecstasy for their team's victory while others sulk in the agony of defeat.
Kind of like sweat, but about a gajillion times more pleasant.
In any case, I'm as excited for the 2013 postseason as the next guy—so excited, in fact, that I've opted to lop off the dead weight (i.e. the teams bound for the NBA draft lottery) from this week's power rankings. I promise you won't be hearing any more about the Charlotte Bobcats, Orlando Magic or Sacramento Kings in this space.
Until next season, anyway.
(And for those of you whose teams didn't survive to see the playoffs, my condolences on a lost campaign.)
Now, keep in mind, the changes in the rankings from last week reflect both the disqualification of the 14 non-playoff teams and the outlook for the 16 remaining teams in their respective first-round series and (when applicable) beyond.
Hence, you may notice that some teams have moved up despite stinking down the stretch, while others have shuffled down even after finishing the season strong. The goal here is to weigh the quality of each team in its own context alongside (and against) its postseason prospects based on matchups.
But enough of my yammering, let's see who stacks up where before the playoffs get underway.