Random Thoughts 2/11/15

-I watched a good bit of the LSU/Kentucky game last night.  I’ve been a bit obsessed with Kentucky this year, as they chase history with a perfect season.  They’ve nearly given that perfect season away during their last two games.  Granted these were both tough road games @ Florida and @ LSU, but they have not played with the same defensive intensity as they showed earlier in the season.  Perhaps the length of the season is starting to wear them down a bit.  One thing to remember is that this team gets the best shot from whoever they are playing each night.  It would make just about any team’s season to be the one that knocks off the mighty Kentucky.  Let’s also not forget the pressure these kids (and coaching staff) face each and every night.  Does it really matter to Duke or Virginia or Gonzaga if they lose a random game on a random Tuesday?  Sure they might not like it and they might drop in the rankings, but it doesn’t truly impact their season.  So if the other top teams have an off night, so be it.  They take their loss and they move on.  This is not true for Kentucky, especially not now.  Had they lost to Kansas or UCLA earlier in the season, it wouldn’t have been as big of a deal.  Now that they have reached 24-0, there is pressure every single game.

-Big night in the NBA tonight.  With 12 games on the schedule, nearly every team plays its final game before the All-Star break.  There are so many big story lines heading into the break this year.

  • Is Anthony Davis’ shoulder okay?  He took a nasty spill on Monday, but seems to be okay.  New Orleans is just outside of the Playoffs right now and won’t have any chance unless Davis is 100% healthy.  The Pelicans need him, the NBA needs him and the fans need him.
  • The Rockets and Clippers forge on without Dwight and Blake.  The West is so competitive that losing a guy like that could cause you to slip 4-5 spots in the standings.  Neither team is in any danger of falling out of the Playoffs, but losing home court could end up being a big deal.  The good news is that both of these teams should have their stars back by the time the Playoffs start.
  • Can the Hawks and/or the Warriors keep up their current pace?  They are both on pace to win 66+ games.  Only 13 teams in NBA history have won 66 games.  10 of those teams went on to win the NBA title.  And we’ve never had a season where two teams won 66 games.  With all this being said, I’d be shocked if they both stayed on their current pace.  The Warriors are a better team than the Hawks, but the Hawks schedule appears to be easier.  They don’t have a ton of tough road games left.  They play @ Phoenix, @ Golden State, @ Oklahoma City, @ Charlotte, @ Washington and @ Chicago.  Those could all be tough, but the rest of their games are either at home or against inferior competition.  They actually only have about 6-7 homes games that are tough too.  The Warriors schedule is much different.  They play @ Washington, @ Cleveland, @ Toronto, @ Phoenix, @ Portland, @ Memphis, @ Milwaukee, @ LA Clippers, @ Dallas, @ San Antonio and @ New Orleans.  Plus they still have tough home games against San Antonio, Dallas, LA Clippers, Atlanta, New Orleans, Washington, Phoenix, Portland and Memphis.  That’s 20 tough games.  The Hawks only have about 13-14 tough games left.
  • Are the Cavaliers are good as they’ve looked now or as bad as they looked earlier in the season?  They are playing out of their minds right now.  A lot of this has to do with LeBron playing like LeBron.  The trades they made have also helped out a ton.  I actually believe they’re more like the team we’ve seen recently.  If they are healthy (or should I say if LeBron is healthy), this team is legit.  There is some concern over the whole Kevin Love situation, but that is being overblown to some extent.  However, there is real concern over whether or not he fits on this team.  He’s a great player, but he hasn’t been as good as the Cavs were expecting.  This has been covered a million times, but would the Cavaliers trade Love straight up for Wiggins right now?  Given the way Love has played and the money he’s making, I tend to think they would.  The real question is whether or not they’d trade Love to anyone.

 

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