This was a very, very interesting second week of the NBA season.
Boston obtained their first loss; the Nets failed to grab their first win.
And, quite frankly, a win in the New York Metropolitan area might not occur again for quite some time. The Knicks allowed a 40-point first quarter, twice. Maybe they got lost in the LeBron James hoopla, because the certainty of Knicks fans that LeBron will be in the Big Apple next season is quite breathtaking.
The Bulls beat Cleveland in a nail-biter, then turned around and actually lost by a nail in Denver on a called-off Brad Miller jumper that would have won the game.
The wheels fell off for the Wizards. Sure, they didn't have Jamison...but now Mike Miller and Randy Foye are both banged up, and Gilbert Arenas nearly didn't start against Miami.
When you're forced to play DeShawn Stevenson for 40 minutes, bad things are happening.
The 76ers continue their quest to play the easiest schedule in NBA history, and the the Pacers are looking ready to crawl out of the cellar.
So, here we go.
1. Boston , 8-1, previously No. 1 - the Celtics are the Celtics. One loss against the uprising Suns is no reason for concern.
2. Orlando , 6-3, previously No. 2 - 6-3 without Rashard Lewis and with a banged-up Vince Carter is impressive. The loss against Cleveland hurts, but Orlando was also on the second night of a back-to-back.
3. Cleveland , 5-3, previously No. 3 - Like above, Shaq looked fantastic against Howard, but it still wasn't the Magic at full strength. The Cavs are learning how to better utilize Shaq and Z's different skill sets, and Mo Williams is shooting lights-out. A back-to-back win against Miami tonight will be more impressive than their W against Orlando.
4. Miami , 6-1 previously No. 6 - Like it's been stated before, if Jermaine O'Neal can stay healthy, that changes everything in Miami. They beat up on the Wizards twice, but also took down Denver. D-Wade and the fun-bunch are back.
5. Atlanta , 6-2, previously No. 5 - Josh Smith has finally perfected the art of shot selection. That means gold in the ATL.
6. Chicago , 4-4, previously No. 7 - Rose is coming around, and the Bulls are reeling after the defeat of Cleveland, but they are a better team than their 4-4 record shows. They are some strength in the post away from being even more dangerous.
7. Toronto , 4-4, previously No. 8 - Raptors played four talented teams, and beat two of them. They go as Bargnani goes. Calderon is fantastic, Turkoglu is a great piece, Bosh is an all-star. But Bargnani playing well is their key.
8. Detroit , 4-4, previously No. 9 - Ben Gordon and Ben Wallace are quietly having great seasons, and if you missed Will Bynum's dunks on Wednesday night—go watch them, right now.
9. Milwaukee , 5-2, previously No. 11 - I'm sort of sick to my stomach as this means the Bucks would be the best Eastern team to miss the playoffs, but 4-2 with a banged up Michael Redd? Jennings is the real deal. 32 points, 14 in the fourth quarter against Denver? The East really beat up on the Nuggets this week.
10. Philadelphia , 4-4, previously No. 10 - they're 4-4, but they have beaten the worst four teams in the league (or close to it).
11. Indiana , 3-3, previously No. 14 - See, Philadelphia.
12. Washington , 2-6, previously No. 4 - I was willing to give the Wizards leeway because of Jamison, but this team just cannot stay healthy, and lost four games in a week. Gilbert Arenas is the one healthy guard left on the team—how long will that last?
13. Charlotte , 3-5, previously No. 12 - Gerald Wallace is averaging 13 rebounds a game...oh, those wacky Bobcats.
14. New York , 1-8, previously No. 13 - The Knicks lost a thousand games this past week, but they are only as high as 14 because they have one win. They simply do not play defense, my goodness. Here we go, No. 1 pick, here we go!
15. New Jersey , 0-8, previously No. 15 - They are putting up much more of a fight than the Knicks, but until they add at least one win, they can't move out of last.
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