Some sobering news broke on Tuesday night when the Chicago Bulls announced that Derrick Rose has suffered a tear of the medial meniscus in his right knee—the same meniscus that ended his 2013-14 season. Without Rose, the Bulls will be forced to attempt to win big in the playoffs against daunting odds.
Meanwhile, the Cleveland Cavaliers are finally playing closer to their full potential. After acquiring J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Timofey Mozgov in acquisitions that coach David Blatt recently said saved their season, the Cavs have since gone 17-2 and will enter play on February 26 just 1.5 games out of second place in the Eastern Conference. And now they have added Kendrick Perkins, so clearly, we know who the team to watch in the East is as we begin our sprint toward the playoffs.
Out West, the Oklahoma City Thunder are the scariest eighth seed we have ever seen, assuming Kevin Durant is able to perform at a high-level once again this season, but we’d be remiss to not shout out the Memphis Grizzlies, who, like the Cavaliers, have managed to string together an impressive 20-game stretch that saw the team go 16-4, even after losing to the George Karl-coached Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.
With less than 30 games to go in the regular season and the trade deadline having passed, Week 17 ends with us having a very clear idea of who the elite teams out East are, while things out West continue to be somewhat murky.
They may be murky, but at least we still know who the top dogs out there are…
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