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NBA: Three tiers of teams

Posted on February 19th, 2010

Now that’s we’re all done with the distraction of the trade deadline (and seeing the next place Tracy McGrady will sit on the bench), let’s take a look at some upcoming NBA games. The rivalries are heating up, and teams are starting to group themselves into powerhouses, almost-rans, and see-ya’-next-years. Where’s your favorite team stand?

Our powerhouse matchup is Cleveland at Orlando on Saturday. The Cavs have the best record in the East by a sizable margin these days, and Lebron and company are brimming with confidence. Of course, it was the same story last year until Orlando showed them all it takes is a lot of Dwight Howard to push through to the next round. And this year, a lot of Dwight Howard has a still-relevant Vince Carter to kick the ball around to from time to time. Think that’s not one of the top duo’s in the league? Think again. And Orlando is easily my pick right now to get back to the Finals, especially considering all of Boston’s age and health problems. (Yes, age is a problem). Cleveland suffers the same issue I had with them last year – a lack of depth. A big lack of depth. Orlando will be favored by 4 or so as the home team, and while I think this is going to be a very close matchup, they usually open up at the end in garbage time. I’m giving the edge to the Magic to cover.

The almost-rans pit Miami at Dallas. Too harsh to call Dallas an also-ran? Doubtful, since they play in the same conference as LA and Denver. What a great Western Conference finals that’ll be this year (bet on it). Miami, stuck in neutral as a .500 team, has to not only watch themselves slide down the ladder of Eastern teams each year, but watch most of the moves during the trade deadline being made to free up cap room so they can take a stab at stealing away Wade during the off-season. That’ll rattle your confidence, especially on the road, and it wouldn’t surprise me if things went downhill fast now that the All-Star break and trade deadline are over. Dallas hasn’t been on much of a roll lately, but they do still average 101 points per game. According to the latest NBA odds, Dallas will be favored by 7 or 8, and I’d bet them to cover.

And the Cubs teams (see ya’ next year) has Sacramento at the Clippers. In this one, you want to watch for…ah, who we kidding? Nobody cares about this game. Little fun fact, these teams are 3-17 combined in their last 20 games. Losing teams are the most unpredictable. Save your money for a better matchup.