Monday, March 29th, 2010 at 9:00 am  |  47 responses

Post Up: Race for Eighth

Thinking ahead makes me a little sad.

by Holly MacKenzie / @stackmack

Three-way tie in the western conference playoff race. Spurs, Thunder and Blazers. The Blazers moved into a tie by defeating the Thunder while the Spurs jumped from eighth to six by taking down the Celtics. In Boston. How do you see that race shaking out? Meanwhile, in the eastern conference, the Bulls are .5 games back of the Raptors as the Heat and Bobcats continue duke it out for sixth. The Raptors lost to the Heat last night and will play the Bobcats tonight while the Bucks continue to roll.

I was at Nuggets shootaround on Friday and a reporter asked Chauncey if they were feeling a sense of urgency with 10 games remaining and it hit me, 10 games remaining. I go to practice every day and cover all of the Raptors home games and I know the time is ticking, but 10 games, that’s just two handfuls. That’s not enough. As much as I live for playoffs, playoffs means we’re one step closer to the offseason and I hate that.

I suppose the positive is that it’s also one step closer to pre-draft workouts and then the draft and then summer league. I guess it means I’m closer to watching John Wall and the rest of the rookie class of 2010. That’ll get me hyped. That’s what will get me through thinking about this season coming to a close.

Anyway… Not sure why I’m looking into the future here. Maybe because I was banking on the Raptors being in the playoffs and extending my personal season and now, with them on the bubble I’m nervous. Where are my Chicago readers who are on the other end of things and are praying the Raptors continue screwing up? What about in the west? Blazers/Thunder/Spurs fans? Who is going to miss out on the playoffs?

JJ Redick. Did you expect to see him as the top performer for a game on a team that has Dwight Howard on it’s roster? I did not. 23 points, seven rebounds and eight assists in a Magic win over the Nuggets. Impressive.

What’s also impressive was Melo hitting the game winner against the Raptors on Friday. Wow, it was a wild –broken– play and it was great. The Bucks have been impressive and last night they won in overtime against the Grizzlies as Brandon Jennings had another strong game with 29 points, seven rebounds, eight assists and four steals. So happy to see he found the shot that he had replaced for a few months there.

In Cleveland they had “Z Day” for Zydrunas Ilgauskas, but I missed that because I was working college games for The Score. Sounds like he was shown a lot of love and as usual, Bron did his thing to make sure the Cavs got their win. 34 points, seven rebounds, eight assists and three steals. Another Sunday afternoon at the office for this guy.

Beno Udrih with a huge line in the loss racking up a 3×2 with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists.

And for the Pistons, Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon combined for three points in the loss to the Bulls. What a mess that turned out to be.

The poor Timberwolves lost their 16th straight as the Suns offense exploded for 40 points in the second quarter and they were able to go from there, despite a poor effort in the second half. Amare was great, again and whenever I look at his line and see his free throws, it makes me think of what a luxury it must be –when he’s on– to know you can put him on the line and he’s going to come through. I want to see Amare vs. SA Spurs Amare this offseason. Wouldn’t that be fun?

Before I go, I’m looking forward to Gilbert Arenas getting back to playing basketball. I can’t wait until we can recap a “hot-shooting” night from Gil without silly jokes being made. I’ve got faith that we’ll get there, eventually.

Now, will one bad contract be traded for another in the NBA? Hmm. Who has the second worst deal in the L right now? Tell me this.

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  • jumpman3224

    I was at the Cavs/Kings game last night and it was Z-lectric. Finally saw a triple double in-person. Thanks Beno!

  • adams

    Ra$hard Lewis has 66,5 million remaining on his contract AFTER this season. 14 points, 4 rebounds. I’d rather have Gilbert…
    P.S.: Ginobili destroying KG on that block was hilarious.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    If the Raptors fail to make the playoffs, you can thank the Heat for crushing the last drop of their spirit last night.

  • mitche

    Rashard Lewis has the worse deal in the league right now. Way to much money for a mediocre player.

  • Bruno

    but they did the same thing with the bulls before so which team would you like in the playoffs

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    @Eboy: I hope Chris Bosh signs with your team next season. He bloody well deserves a lot more than this misguided band of pansies.

  • http://www.Twitter/notebooknick NotebookNick

    I think Toronto and Detroit might need to look into trading their overpaid forwards. Maybe even for each other. Charlie wasn’t terrible in the TDot.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Cheryl

    I was at the game last night–I hope Beasley’s saving his money.

  • http://digitalthread.com AlbertBarr

    @junpman3224: That must have been a good game to watch…the kings were keeping it competitive the whole game and Beno was awesome. And the Kings did it without hawes, ‘reke, ‘cisco, may, brockman and then dominic mcguire injured himself shortly into the game. Kings goal is to be a tough out…I think they are achieving in this regard.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Joel, I’d rather have the other Chris, you know, Paul? Maybe Shinn will think about blowing up that team–he’s not the smartest owner in the league.

  • LA Huey

    @adams, Manu is getting some ridiculous blocks of late.

  • The D Train

    Portland is smokin’ hot right now. Roy, Aldridge and a band of veterans (‘Dre is playing outstanding the 2nd half of the season), plus some nice minutes and energy from the young cats like Batum, Rudy and Bayless makes for an interesting squadron. With the way Miller is playing right now, coupled with The Turk’s horrible play in Toronto, Blazer fans are feeling very good about being left at the alter this past summer.

  • http://Www.twitter.com Darksaber

    Rodrigue Beaubois is FREE! At last. It’s cool JT, chill on the bench for a bit, lose the facemask and we’ll talk, right now…. We good.

  • http://Www.twitter. Darksaber

    “Pansies”. Ha, luv that word!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Am I the only person that is hoping Amar’e comes to Miami instead of Bosh?

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    I didn’t realize that Z’s wife is quite sex-Z.

  • http://Www.twitter. Darksaber

    Eboy: please say it a’int so, STAT is quite the force of nature… On offense. Chris Bosh is a beast on the glass (when motivated) and has range all the way out to the 3pt line but still bullies himself into the post… No contest, you should want Bosh. Only thing i think is a hindrance are his knees, but he still moves well with all that stuff he wears.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ BETCATS

    That bloke from Oasis said i couldnt play guitar, somebody shoulda told him im a fu(kin rock star

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Cheryl

    No, Eboy, you’re not the only one.

  • Sporting-Lisbon-Blazers

    HOLLY, Blazers,Thunder and Spurs WONT MISS THE PLAYOFFS, all of them will make it, theyre trying to get outta the 8th seed so youre question is WRONG…RACE FOR EIHGT IS BETWEEN BULLS AND RAPS…DONT PUT GOOD TEAMS IN THAT RACE WHERE Chicago and Raps are a combined 5-17 in their last 22 games…TRAILBLAZERS IN A MEAN STREAK!! ROLLING!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Sporting-Lisbon-Blazers

    Cheryl and Eboy, I get you want Amare insted of Bosh but if ou get any of them you betta have a Center who can protect the paint and rebound..

  • http://www.motherjones.com AndtheJellosJigglin

    @Holly. Even though the Blaze, Spurs, Thund have not mathematically clinched the playoffs, they will all do so unless in a few games. It would take as scenario such as one of those teams winning none or one of their remaining 8-10 games and either Memphis or Houston winning out! Seems like you are so distraught because of the Raptors that you are not making much sense-you almost gave that Blazers fan a heart attack!

  • madis

    Anton’s jokes are getting weak

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ

    The Raptors make me a sad panda.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ

    Can we trade Hedo for Arenas? I mean, we can throw in Jose so that the money would fit better.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Cheryl

    They’ll rebound by committee. And, don’t laugh, but I expect Joel Anthony to continue to get better. Here’s the thing, I don’t think we should put all our $$ in one max, max contract. I think what we need is serviceable players who, any one of whom, can have big games, but who all play very good team defense. I think Wade can always play the closer–either by scoring or setting up. what we need, and I hope Riley is thinking this way, is a power player, a defensive-minded 3 who can shoot the long ball, and re-sign Haslem, Wright, QRich, and Arroyo. the Beasley/chalmers/Cook experiment is over I hope. I’d like to see us add Raja Bell, Kirk Heinrich, STAT/Boozer(?), AK47 if available. Finally, I’m just not convinced Bosh will really fit and be consistent with what the Heat likes to do.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Cheryl

    And, I think Spoelstra is becoming a solid coach. He’s not spontaneous enough to adjust on the fly just yet, but I think he’ll get there.

  • http://missjia.com meloMan2.0

    @mithce: u cant be serious!! i dont watch too many orlando games… but you’d be a fool to think any contract is worse than Hedo’s

  • http://fdjsklf.com Jukai

    Eboy: That’s honestly the hardest question in the world. Amare is playing ludicrous offense and some surprising D, while Bosh is playing a constant stream of steady offense and a larger amount of surprising D. I honestly couldn’t tell you who I’d rather have on my team… I can’t. I don’t know who is better.

  • T-Money

    What are you guys smoking?! Bosh is better than STAT at everything but earth shattering dunks! Better shooter, better driver, better post moves, gets to the line more, MUCH better rebounder, way more active on the defensive end, better ‘show-er’ on the pick and roll. I’m sorry, Bosh is just a flat out better player.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    I actually think Amare is a much better offensive player than Bosh. Bosh puts up points for sure and has similar mobility and range. But I think Amare has that killer instinct / mean streak on the offensive end that separates real “predators” from guys who put up points. It’s the same difference between Shaq and Dwight.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    Also, honestly, while Chris has put on a lot of muscle and grabbed a lot of rebounds in the last 2 seasons, it’s not like he’s that much more of an interior presence (esp. defensively) than Amare is. Yah, he grabs another rebound or two on average, and he probably puts up more effort defensively than Amare does. But an imposing inside presence he is not.

  • http://Www.twitter. Darksaber

    Now isn’t this a much more interesting debate than the constant dribble that is Mambiatch vs. Crab dribbler? Living the different views stated here reg. STAT vs. Bosh.

  • Sporting-Lisbon-Blazers

    cosign darksaber

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Interesting debate we have here: STAT vs. Bosh? I think I’d rather have LeBron. Actually, if I can have LeBron I might as well choose Kobe instead. He’s a much better shooter, knows when to take the clutch shot, and his killer instinct just makes him the best player in the game today.
    Kobe > LeBron. Period.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    T-Money: Bosh is NOT better than Amare at running the pick and roll. I agree, Bosh has more variety on offense but STAT would be much better at finishing Dwayne Wade’s passes. His over-the-top athleticism gives him a huge edge there–I know we like to discredit his skills because he IS so damn athletic, but it makes a difference.
    Bosh is pretty much better at everything else, and he is definitely the better rebounder.
    However, Bosh DOES tend to settle for the jumpshot a bit too much… I mean, he has a soft touch with the J but he relies on it way too much, especially when he has the tools to bang in the paint.
    Tough call… If I’m playing a set/slower offense I’m taking Bosh. If I’m playing a fast, high octane offense I’m taking Amare.
    Unless I’m taking a player who can play in BOTH half-court AND run-and-gun offenses. In that case I’m taking LeBron James.
    Actually, if I can have LeBron I might as well choose Kobe instead. He’s a much better shooter, knows when to take the clutch shot, and his killer instinct just makes him the best player in the game today.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Kobe > LeBron. It’s not even a debate anymore.

  • T-Money

    Showing on the pick n roll, not rolling. I’m talking about defense. Besides a mean streak the difference between Shaq and his prime and Dwight is merely 12 freaking points per game!! It’s not about attitude but talent. Dwight with a mean streak does NOT equal Shaq. Not close. / Joel O’s, Chris is so much better than STAT defensively. At least he gives a sh–. STAT just lets ppl blow by him.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Ah, sorry I thought you mean “showing” as in, you know, showing/making yourself open for the pass. Carry on.
    Also, what’s with the Shaq vs. Dwight argument? I never said anything about Shaq and Dwight… Now I’m just confused lol. I agree though.

  • http://philaflava.blogspot.com Teddy-the-Bear

    I keep forgetting to put my link in… I guess I’m just not used to it.
    *Like that inconspicuous self-advertising?

  • http://fdjsklf.com Jukai

    T-Money: Gonna disagree. I don’t watch a ridiculous amount of Bosh’s games, but I do watch Amare’s… if we can separate Nash from the equation and assume Amare’s offense is all his own, then I gotta say Amare is a much better offensive player than Bosh. Have you seen the last twenty games Amare has had?
    Statistics put them relatively even, with Bosh having less than a point more a game but Amare having 5% better shooting (and a minute and a half less playing time).
    And yeah, Bosh has greater range on his jumpshot, but you make it seem like it’s UTTERLY superior. Amare’s jumpshot is pretty wet, especially when he’s having a big game. Bosh is more consistent and gets it better over traffic, but Bosh settles for his jumper TOO damn much, while Amare only takes it when he’s open. Outside of the jumper area, I don’t see where Bosh has a superior offensive repertoire. Driving to the basket, setting picks, finishing, dunking, using the glass, even in the post, I’d say Amare has the edge.
    You’re just underrating Amare entirely… unless yer sayin’ Amare’s offense is gonna go down when he’s not running and gunning and getting passes from Nash, in which case, maybe, who knows.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    Entirely agree with Jukai’s last post. Also, Amare was already a big scorer before Nash came, playing with “selfish” Steph at point. I think it just boils down to whether you’d rather have the non-dominant all-round-producing Bosh, or the flawed but always dangerous Amare. As team leaders, both are kinda suspect. As second banana, you’d be hard pressed to choose between em. Nonetheless, I think the crux is this: Bosh’s skillset and demeanour make him a perfect 2nd option, while Amare’s unparalleled ability to turn passes into easy points makes him a super-efficient first option.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    @Cheryl: Chris Paul and Wade? Wow.

  • http://fdjsklf.com Jukai

    Joel: I think I’d rather go with Bosh.
    Skill-wise, in my mind, it’s dead even, between Amare’s non-stop offensive arsenal and Bosh’s greater all-around game… so we gotta look at outside factors. Both are fine with being the first or second option. Both seem eager to learn. Both are slowly taking steps to improve their suspect defense. More deadlocks.
    I’d take Bosh because he’s slightly younger, has less wear and tear on his knees and REALLY seems to want to win. I’m not sure if STAT wants to win or wants to be on the all-star team.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Joel O’s: Steph was always called “selfish,” but he was ALWAYS a fantastic passer too… With great court vision.

  • Permaculture James

    West #6,7,8: Very exciting last 10 games coming up. Sad to see the Spurs struggle: bad timing to injure Parker and Manu’s back. RJefferson isn’t delivering 20pts as hoped and putting them over the top. I never get to see the Thunder play. This year I’m a Blazers fan since I now live here -fun to see their story unfold so dramatically given the injuries. Camby (and Miller) was a great addition to match up. They are starting to finally look more poised both on offense and defense.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Bosh. He’s 2 years younger, and if all else is equal, is less of an injury risk than Stat.