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The Spurs Contender Watch: The March to April

Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE


It gets a little warmer moving out of February and into March. Maybe that's because there's more...Heat?

Winning Percentage (Win%)

1. San Antonio Spurs .770 (63-19)
2. Miami Heat .759 (62-20)
3. Oklahoma City Thunder .729 (60-22)
4. Los Angeles Clippers .694 (57-25)
5. Memphis Grizzlies .672 (55-27)

No change here compared to last week, save the numbers in the hundredths and thousandths decimal places.

Margin of Victory (MoV)

1. Oklahoma City Thunder +9.39
2. San Antonio Spurs +9.07
3. Miami Heat +7.28
4. Los Angeles Clippers +6.56
5. Indiana Pacers +4.32

See comment above.

Simple Rating System (SRS)

1. Oklahoma City Thunder 9.38
2. San Antonio Spurs 8.78
3. Miami Heat 7.12
4. Los Angeles Clippers 6.55
5-6. Denver Nuggets 4.15
5-6. Memphis Grizzlies 4.15

Wow. Three metrics down and not a single change in rank anywhere. I guess this would be a good time to point out that we have to hope that nothing changes in the West, i.e. Spurs #1, Thunder #2, Clippers #3. If all the high seeds win, the Thunder and Clippers can punch each other in the groin for seven games. (Of course, this would mean a 1-4 matchup with the almost literally named Grizzlies; damn, the playoffs are tough.)

Bill James' NBA Power Ratings (James)

1. Oklahoma City Thunder 209.6
2. San Antonio Spurs 209.2
3. Miami Heat 207.4
4. Los Angeles Clippers 206.5
5. Denver Nuggets 204.5

I guess I could have just linked to last week's edition...?

John Hollinger's Power Ratings (Hollinger)

1. Oklahoma City Thunder 110.16
2. San Antonio Spurs 109.89
3. Miami Heat 108.89
4. Los Angeles Clippers 106.37
5. Houston Rockets 106.03

The only change we've seen on five lists, and at that it was only the Clippers and Rockets flipping the 4-5 spots. What surprises a bit is that the Miami Heat aren't showing up stronger on the power rankings (James and Hollinger). This is the dark side of playing out East - you win 14 in a row and cold calculating machines look at it and say, "Meh, let me know when you play a real team."

ON TAP

A new wrinkle to this weekly piece, I will post the upcoming week schedules of each team listed here.

SAN ANTONIO SPURS
vs. Bulls (3/6), vs. Blazers (3/8), vs. Thunder (3/11)

Two reasonably tough games and a showdown game. Playing OKC without Tony will be a tall order, even at home.

OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
vs. Lakers (3/5), at Knicks (3/7), at Bobcats (3/8), vs. Celtics (3/10), at Spurs (3/11)

The Bobcats are the only breather on this tough stretch of schedule. The Lakers are playing better basketball, the Knicks are pretty decent, and the Celtics have this weird ability to play above their heads sometimes. Five games in seven nights, three of them on the road. Oof.

MIAMI HEAT
vs. Magic (3/6), vs. 76ers (3/8), vs. Pacers (3/10)

One tough game at home Sunday. The streak may not be over by this time next week.

LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
vs. Bucks (3/6), at Nuggets (3/7), vs. Detroit (3/10)

Honestly, that game at Denver looks like a must win at this point. After recent losses to the Spurs and Thunder, the Clippers will have to show observers and themselves that they can still win against a quality opponent. Their biggest wins since February 1st are at the Knicks and at home against the Rockets. Their biggest win in 2013 came in Memphis on January 14th.

MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
vs. Blazers (3/6), at Cavaliers (3/8), vs. Hornets (3/9)

The Portland game might be tough, but this looks rather like a 3-0 week for Les Grizzerables.

INDIANA PACERS
vs. Celtics (3/6), at Magic (3/8), at Heat (3/10)

This could be a 1-2 week for the Pacers, but they've got a respectable 5-6 record against the other seven teams seen here. How has every other team fared against this group?

Spurs 10-6 (.625)
Thunder 9-7 (.563)
Heat 9-4 (.692)
Clippers 9-6 (.600)
Grizzlies 5-11 (.313)
Pacers 5-6 (.455)
Nuggets 11-6 (.647)
Rockets 2-14 (.125)

Well. It would appear that Houston is the classic "beats everyone below them, loses to everyone above them" team.

DENVER NUGGETS

at Kings (3/5), vs. Clippers (3/7), vs. Timberwolves (3/9), at Suns (3/11)

Denver seems to be doing their annual "team no one wants to play in the playoffs" routine.

HOUSTON ROCKETS
at Mavericks (3/6), at Warriors (3/8), at Suns (3/9)

Three road games in four nights might just be enough to knock Houston off of John Hollinger's radar.

Let's rally for Tony Pizzle (AKA The Machine), everybody! Go Spurs Go!

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