Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Straight From The Rook #11

Mat MacDonald AKA The Rook The Rook is currently enrolled in Human Kinetics at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. A frequent contributor to all NBA and Raptors debates along with other sports. Witty, quick and never afraid of a challenge, Mat's here to talk hoops with you and dish out his two cents whenever!

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Who`s Hot and Who`s Not!

Turning heads is something that everyone in the NBA strives to do. If youʼre a Spurs fan, your head may be popping off right now after your teamʼs 17 win start to the season. Thereʼs no doubt that the Spurs are hot, but are they the team to beat?

This week marks the last month of the 2010 portion in the schedule and with teams starting to solidify their positions in each conference already thereʼs a lot to look at this week when we talk about whoʼs hot and whoʼs not.

Breaking down the teams who have been hot so far:

San Antonio - As said before, the Spurs are hot. Theyʼve been surprising the league every week with something new. Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Spurs is that theyʼve been winning with a consistent attack from their starters and bench players.

Tim Duncanʼs numbers have dropped below his career averages (13 points, 9 rebounds per game) but thatʼs not an issue for the Spurs who are seeing elevated play from the single and ready to mingle Tony Parker(16 points, 7 assists) , as well as George Hillʼs solid backup play contributing 11 points per game and the Red Rocket, Canadaʼs own -or adopted - Matt Bonner.

In case you missed it the other night, Bonner went off on the Hornets as the Spurs stung their western conference rivals with MB leading the way in the trey ball column with 4 big buckets.

New Orleans - This is short and sweet. The Hornets are good. Chris Paul is good. David West is good. Monty Williams is great. The NBA owns them. This is bad. Now I guess we just wait to see if thereʼs much to talk about in a few weeks in New Orleans.

Donʼt get me wrong, I like the Hornets and what theyʼve done this year, but there wonʼt be much talk about the Hornets being a contending team regardless of their record until they bring in someone that can actually complement CP3 - if he doesnʼt find somewhere he can go complement first.

Dallas - Mark Cuban did it again! Who wouldnʼt want the young, exciting Cuban to own their team? In his tenure with the Mavs Cuban has had nothing but success.

Sure there was the blown Finals against Miami, but heck, we all knew that was fixed anyways. The Mavs are proving that this year has no signs of being different than any other year in recent history. Lead by the Digler again and the ageless Jason Kidd, the Mavs look poised to make a deep run in the playoffs and itʼs only December.

Call them streak busters if you want, but the Mavs are much more than that. Beating Miami, San Antonio and New Orleans recently have all been big wins for Dallas and have been potent signs that they may be the strongest team in the west right now.

Add to that theyʼve won nine in a row and thereʼs not much that isnʼt shining right now in the lone star state.

Boston - Out of every team in the east, the Celtics are the only team that has shown consistency throughout the season so far. The Bulls, Heat and Magic have all shown that they can compete with the best but all three teams have struggled at times already this year.

Boston looks like theyʼre the team to beat in the east - unless youʼre a Knicks fan, then youʼd believe anything was possible and Landy Fields would be running for president.

Thereʼs no doubt that the Celtics have one of the most talented rosters in the NBA right now with tons of veteran leadership, but is that going to be enough for them come playoff time? My guess, yes. But time will tell. Rondo will be the X-factor for the Celtics success this season because without him thereʼs no way that the green is making it anywhere, even if Nate Robinson does his best Darren Collison impression.

Whoʼs on the outside looking in?

The Knicks are solid this year and are off to their best start in the past 10 years with a 12-9 record. Their win over the Raptors was an ugly game for Toronto and a near perfect game for NY.

You canʼt say enough about the leadership of Amarʼe Stoudemire this season. With words meaning everything, Amarʼe has done his share of smack talk on and off the floor, and heʼs backed it up with his play (25 ppg, 9 rpg). From the looks of it heʼs no longer playing for a contract, heʼs playing for a ring.

Maybe all the hate in the off-season was a little wrong...right Miami fans?

Speaking of Toronto - did anyone see Jerryd Bayless against the Knicks? The kidʼs found his swag again and thereʼs no stopping him now. A 23 point breakout last night was the only thing that kept Toronto from being ran out of their own city - and even then they almost were.

Bayless is shooting 10-17 from the three since arriving in Toronto and his increased minutes has been a big reason why his confidence has shot through the roof.

Being one of the most candid Raptors in recent memory, Bayless looks like heʼs there to stay and possibly wait for his chance to take over the reigns of the team. The question now is how long can Toronto hold on to Senior Calderon?

Who isnʼt hot right now?

The list is too long, actually, impossibly long. Thereʼs so many story lines in the NBA right now that have people shaking their heads. Check back later in the week as we break down the biggest busts of this NBA season, and REALLY break down whoʼs not so hot. Clippers fans, brace yourselves.


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