With the trade deadline behind, the playoffs are in sight as the conference’s brackets begin to take shape. Barring a few improbable developments, the New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets all seem destined to miss out on the playoffs this season, while the Atlantic Division-leading Toronto Raptors, Charlotte Bobcats and Phoenix Suns lead the charge of surprising teams who will join the postseason party.
Aside from the 16-team field beginning to take a discernible shape, the changing of addresses for Evan Turner (Indiana Pacers), Andre Miller (Washington Wizards), Steve Blake (Golden State Warriors) and Marcus Thornton (Brooklyn Nets) figure to add some drama to the final weeks of the regular season.
While the field may be shaping up out West, who will eventually emerge as conference champions, and even how the seeds stack up remain to be seen.
One thing we have seen, is the continued production of Kemba Walker. Walker is the Eastern Conference’s Player of the Week after leading his Bobcats to a 4-0 week behind averages of 22.5 points, 8.8 assists and 5.5 rebounds. Out West, Kevin Love is the man of the week with an astonishing 36.7 points and 12.7 rebounds in three games last week.
With the passing of the trade deadline, the focus will shift to this summer, when the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love and Rajon Rondo may all change teams.
And although nobody is talking about that prospect as it relates to LeBron James, it is his mighty Miami HEAT who enter the week with the Association’s longest current win-streak of five games, and it is that which makes them regain their rightful place atop the NBA’s mountain.[/xyz-ihs snippet="powerrankings224"]
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