This is my Tuesday thing. It's a little late because I started a new job this week - or at least that's what I'll tell you guys.
Winning Percentage (Win%)
I know it's weird that three one-hundredths of a point separate the Clips and the Bears but they're on pace to have two different records. That's just what happens when you round numbers. This probably does reflect reality, though - I'll bet they finish either tied or one game apart in the end.
Margin of Victory (MoV)
1. Oklahoma City Thunder +9.28
2. San Antonio Spurs +8.64
3. Miami Heat +7.31
4. Los Angeles Clippers +6.77
5. Denver Nuggets +4.60
Last week the Spurs and Thunder were separated by .32 in this category; now that lead has doubled for the Thunder despite the Spurs' victory last night. A thirty-point loss will have that effect.
Simple Rating System (SRS)
1. Oklahoma City Thunder 9.32
2. San Antonio Spurs 8.51
3. Miami Heat 7.05
4. Los Angeles Clippers 6.73
5. Denver Nuggets 4.69
The problem with starting this survey in late February is that more than half the season is done with; there seems to be little doubt that these are the five best teams in the NBA in 2012-13. It would have been more fun to keep track of this stuff from the start of the season to see which teams started hot and faded (cough Clippers cough), which teams gained strength as the season progressed (cough Miami, Denver cough), and which teams were among the best all throughout the season (cough Spurs, Thunder cough COUGH COUGH OH CRAP I'M CHOKING).
Bill James' NBA Power Ratings (James)
1. Oklahoma City Thunder 209.5
2. San Antonio Spurs 208.7
3. Miami Heat 207.1
4. Los Angeles Clippers 206.7
5. Denver Nuggets 205.2
Like I said, your Fab Five. Everything's pointing in that direction.
John Hollinger's Power Ratings (Hollinger)
1. Oklahoma City Thunder 110.53
2. San Antonio Spurs 108.94
3. Miami Heat 108.30
4. Los Angeles Clippers 107.22
5. Denver Nuggets 105.68
This is getting repetitive. Wouldn't it be cool if a good writer were here to cull some interesting abstractions from these lists?
at POR (3/12), at LAC (3/13), at DEN (3/15), at UTA (3/16), vs. MIN (3/18)
One creampuff on this schedule, which they will most assuredly need after four tough road games in five nights. Now, if Memphis somehow sweeps this bunch, watch hoops writers throughout the blogosphere fall all over themselves to compliment them. "Peaking at the right time", "Finding their game", "Hitting their stride"...blah blah blah. They all sound like euphemisms for something naughty.
vs. NYK (3/13), vs. MEM (3/15), at CHI (3/18)
No weakies here, but it's a light schedule with two of the three at home. I wonder if maybe we all make too much of Denver's homecourt advantage? This franchise has not once appeared in the NBA Finals. And they've only been to the Conference Finals three times since joining the NBA in 1977. By contrast, the Spurs have only missed the playoffs FOUR times in that same time. And think about this: all the other former ABA franchises have gone to the NBA Finals - even the usually putrid Nets did it in 2002 and 2003.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
vs. MEM (3/13), vs NYK (3/17)
Last week I pointed out that the Clippers haven't beaten a quality opponent in some time; they failed to do so again last Thursday in Denver. If they don't win either of these games, they are complete and utter fool's gold. Not even DeAndre Jordan's awesome dunking skills will save them. (No link, because I'm lazy and we've all seen it by now)
By the way, people gave DAJ way too much credit for that dunk. The guy trying to block it was like half his size. Jordan is like 8 feet tall with a 50 inch vertical or something; instead of propping him up for throwing down on Mini-Me, people should ask where he was for the rest of this game with that kind of raw physical ability. Not even David Robinson was that athletic and he was ten times the player DAJ is.
I'm a bitter old fart.
vs. ATL (3/12), at PHI (3/13), at MIL (3/15), at TOR (3/17), at BOS (3/18)
Mark your calendars: Saturday, March 16th marks the eleventh anniversary of Miami's last loss. These four games are part of a five-game roadie that ends in Cleveland on March 20th. It would be a gas to see Miami's streak end there, but I don't think any of these losers will get it done. If Boston puts it all together, summons all of their championship spirit and competitive pride for one night, they might pull out a quarter.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
vs. UTA (3/13), vs. ORL (3/15), at DAL (3/17)
Somehow I think Los Trenos will bounce back nicely from their Monday night loss in SA.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS
at MIN (3/12), vs. DAL (3/14), vs. CLE (3/16)
As I write this, the Spurs are getting crushed by the T'Wolves. It sucks, but I'd much rather lose to the Blazers and Wolves if it meant beating OKC in between. Adequate rest and playing at home should yield two wins afterward.
(Am I calling the game? That's for you to decide, but if you think I am, note that I did not do so in the game thread. Lawyered.)