The Daily Update 4.2.11
Welcome to the 1st edition of my daily NBA update. In these posts I take something interesting from the previous nights’ NBA happenings and give them my own take. You’ll also find picks for the best game of the night and other cool stuff. Enjoy.
Last night the Los Angeles Lakers closed to within 1.5 games of the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Standings. More importantly, they seized control of their own destiny regarding the West’s top seed going forward. With 7 games left to play, and a home meeting with the Spurs looming, the Lakers are becoming an ever-more-popular pick to finish the season with home court advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs.
What a lot of people aren’t noticing, though, is what this means for Derrick Rose. Yes, the Lakers 17-1 stretch after the All-Star Break is going to have an enormous impact on the Chicago Bulls’ point guard. Should the Lakers overtake both the Spurs and the Bulls, who they’re currently tied with (both are 55-20), Rose’s MVP candidacy could be in jeopardy. Just as the Spurs’ lead in the West once seemed insurmountable, the MVP is now turning into an actual race. More and more people are noticing how great the Lakers are playing since Kobe Bryant won the All-Star Game MVP, and many are now reconsidering who they’d vote to receive the Maurice Podoloff Trophy.
It’s well known that the West is the deeper, more talented conference in the NBA. If the Lakers finish the season with the NBA’s best record, it’d be hard to argue against awarding the MVP to their best player. The thought process isn’t hard to follow: Best player on the best team in the best conference. Throw in the fact that Kobe is still regarded by most of the NBA as the league’s best overall player, and Rose faces a serious challenge. With a competitor for the MVP now breathing down Rose’s neck, the pressure is only going to continue to build as long as Kobe and the Lakers don’t falter. Will Rose be able handle it? We’ll see. At this point, one bad game could cost him the MVP.
Scores from last night:
Houston 119, San Antonio 114 (OT) – Spurs lost their 6th straight game and gave Lakers control of their own destiny for the West’s top seed. Houston remains 3 games out of the playoffs by keeping pace with Memphis.
Los Angeles Lakers 96, Utah 85 – After struggling early, Lakers exert dominance for the 9th straight win and 17th in 18 games. The Jazz are officially eliminated from the playoffs and have now lost 7 in a row.
Indiana 89, Milwaukee 88 – A late Bucks’ surge wasn’t enough to stop them from dropping to 4 games back of Pacers for East’s 8th seed. Indiana also moves to 2 games up on Charlotte.
Portland 98, Oklahoma City 91 – Trailblazers move back into the West’s 6th seed. Thunder blow an opportunity to narrow the gap with Dallas.
Atlanta 88, Boston 83 – Celtics suffered another late collapse to fall to 3rd in the East behind Miami. Hawks win their 4th straight game.
Washington 115, Cleveland 107 – Wizards’ Jordan Crawford had the play of the night: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ujqTGm9TUU
Philadelphia 115, New Jersey 90 – Sixers add half-game to lead over New York for 6th seed. Nets lose 5 in a row.
Miami 111, Minnesota 92 – Heat pass Boston for East’s 2nd seed. Timberwolves lose for the 9th straight time.
Denver 99, Sacramento 90 – Nuggets hold onto the 5th place in the West. 13 players score in double digits.
Orlando 89, Charlotte 77 – Magic stay put as the 4th seed. Bobcats lose a game on Indiana for the 8th.
Chicago 101, Detroit 96 – Bulls hold off fight from Pistons to maintain East lead.
Phoenix 111, Los Angeles Clippers 98 – Move along.
Tonight’s pick for Game of the Night:
Dallas @ Golden State – No match-ups of playoff teams tonight. No games on national television. Dallas is coming off of a bad loss (in many ways) against the Lakers and abuse from former Warrior Matt Barnes. Golden State is 23-14 at home and their fans love facing Dallas. Here’s a link: http://www.firstrowsports.eu/watch/57967/1/watch-dallas-mavericks-vs-golden-state-warriors.html