NBA Power Rankings East 12-3

BostonCelticsChampionshipBanners

1.Boston Celtics (14-4)

Center Kendrick Perkins has a higher FG% on the season than FT%. A rarity in this league. Also a complement and an insult at the same time.

2. Orlando Magic (15-4)

Everyone talks about the big three of Carter, Howard and Lewis, but the true keys to them winning the conference again lie in Mickael Pietrus and Matt Barnes

3. Atlanta Hawks (13-5)

How far they can do depends on how fast their young bigs Al Horford and Marvin Williams develop.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers (13-5)

Seven different players scored in double figures last night versus Phoenix (arguably the league’s best team). This practice is how the supposedly “Cleveland LeBrons” will shed the practices holding them back from winning a title

5. Miami Heat (10-7)

Michael Beasley is showing a lot more self-assuredness and attacking the rim often this year. He’ll need to keep that up, in order to draw doubles off D. Wade.

6. Chicago Bulls (7-9)

When seeing Derrick Rose touch the sky like Kanye on numerous dunks last night, I noticed his ankle is finally 100%. Then I heard Tim Legler say it on ESPN’s “NBA Fastbreak” so only now is this truth confirmed.

As for Ben Gordon’s return to Chicago as a Piston, Bulls C Joakim Noah had this appropriate soundbite “It’s a business. It’s not like college, that’s for sure. There’s just so much money involved. That’s just the way it is.”

7. Milwaukee Bucks (9-8)

Like TSB’s Jake McCormick said Andrew Bogut’s absence and return can be likened to the Crystal Pepsi fad of the early 1990s; people didn’t realize the little things they loved about Pepsi (like its color) until they were taken away. Now clear cola is celebrated as if it were a walk of shame, and Bogut’s presence on both sides of the ball should help the team understand just how long of a walk that can be.

8. Charlotte Bobcats (7-9)

Don’t look now, but they actually won 4 in a row. But don’t get too excited, inconsistency is to this franchise what infidelity is to Tiger Woods.


9. Indiana Pacers (6-10)

By far the least inspiring and interesting team in NBA history to garner a #9 in a power rankings segment

10. Washington Wizards (7-10)

Gilbert Arenas exploded publicly saying “what do they expect me to score 30 every game”. Well yes, when you’re a narcissist and play for one of the league’s worst teams, that’s exactly what’s expected of you.

11. Detroit Pistons (5-7)

Ben Gordon on getting massively (and I think grossly unfairly) booed in his return to Chicago. “It’s not like I won the championship while I was here or anything. I just had a couple good years so I wasn’t surprised at all”

detroit-pistons-automotion-8


12. Toronto Raptors (7-13)

What a disappointment! At least try and give Chris Bosh an incentive to stay

13. Philadelphia 76ers (5-14)

A.I.’s playing a Brett Favre is the EXACT reason I was so IRRITATED by all the Tiger Woodslike media overkill of Iverson’s “retirement”. I knew the answer wasn’t done. Now he can join MJ, Clemens, Favre and Jay-Z in that “I’m going to fake my retirement so you can PLEASE LOOK AT ME” club

14. New York Knicks (4-15)

Who exactly is Danilo Gallinari? Not just a one trick pony, I guess. He followed up his breakout game vs. Phoenix with 20 against Orlando.

15. New Jersey Nets (0-18)

One of the most embarrassing records in NBA history? Check! The 1972-73 76ers 9-73 awaits. With a new coach in place, and Devin Harris and Courtney Lee back, they’re running out of excuses for this horrible losing streak.

Ben Gordon gets no Love in Return to Chicago

ben_gordon_pistons

By Paul M. Banks

See the video below to watch Ben Gordon meeting the media following his first game in Chicago as a member of the opposition. Not just any opponent, but the Bulls’ biggest rival, the Detroit Pistons.

The Chicago crowd was full of boos for Ben Gordon as he returned to where he played his entire career prior to this season. Perhaps those boos were far from being deserved. Nevertheless, Gordon led the Pistons with 18 pts on 6-16 shooting, but just 2-8 from beyond the arc. The Bulls beat their rival Detroit 92-85 to end a 5 game losing streak. Joakim Noah on the Chicago crowd booing BG,

“It was kind of weird. I feel like he made people happy here but its just the way it is. I had a lot of fun playing with him and he did a lot of great things for this organization.”

Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro “I think the fans respect what he did here. He is with the Pistons now. It was nothing that I did not expect from the fans.” If this reminds you of Jerry Seinfeld’s famous “rooting for sports is like rooting for clothes” routine. Noah had this appropriate soundbite “It’s a business. It’s not like college, that’s for sure. There’s just so much money involved. That’s just the way it is.”

Bulls-Pistons Tweet at a thon

bullscourtDetroit_Pistons_logo

By Paul M. Banks and H. Jose Bosch

It’s a Tweet at a thon. not a Tweet a thon, but a Tweet at a each other a thon. It’s one of the NBA’s greatest rivalries, Bulls-Pistons, always a good time, even when the teams’ combined records are 12-20, as they are tonight. So TSB’s resident Bulls and Pistons experts are going at it, with only the mediums of Twitter and WordPress between them.

(PMB) Bulls-Pistons It’s on HJB. Let’s see what you got with no Rip and no Tayshuan.

(HJB) We got a good chance at beating your sorry ass.

(PMB) the piston’s d is making taj gibson look like wilt chamberlain

(HJB) I finally found the game online, but the quality is about as good as watching the game with cataract

(HJB) We have the Bulls right were we want them. Lull them into a sense of false security.

(HJB) Remember when I said we were going to beat your sorry ass? I still mean it.

(PMB) interesting strategy Cotton, let’s see if it pays off for them. Ben Gordon is getting massvely BOOED evrytime he touches the ball

(PMB) nice shot Will Bynum. Altho I do love Ben Wallace’s ABA style headband. Skiles wouldnt let him wear it when he was here

(HJB) Nice save by Noah. Ass

(PMB) damn Det scores again, I wanted there to be a single digit in there for 1st pd scoring. would have been sweet And the Bears lead the Lions 24-10 after 1 qtr.

rose is a lot more substance, and a lot less hype than Cutler. Austin Daye needs to eat more thanksgiving leftovers

(HJB) I smell a cooooooomeback

(PMB) even though Noah just “arced” on you guys!

(PMB) talk to me when you get the deficit to single digits, in a game like this, 1st team to 85 pts wins

noahsuit

(HJB) Noah could be saving babies from a burning building and I’d still want to punch him in the face

(HJB) Wow. Rose almost ate the rim. Christ.

(HJB) There’s possibly a chance Detroit has just given up. I mean, really?

(HJB) I’m not sure if I should be happy that Detroit managed to be down by just 10 at the half or the Bulls lack a killer instinct. (48-38 Bulls)

(HJB) Well here we go. I’m still confident the Pistons will win. Mainly becuase I have to be. BTW,someone just dropped a FUCK on TV

(HJB) Count it!

(HJB) This game isn’t particularly thrilling. But I’m glad the Pistons are actually competing.

(PMB) I can’t believe it’s a 1 possession game now. Jonas Jerebko is dangerous

(HJB) God damn you Chicago!!! Lame.

(HJB) This game is the perfect example of why the NBA shouldn’t matter until the playoffs

(HJB) When Miller turns to face the basket, it’s probably a safe bet someone should defend Rose.

(PMB) It’s such a LONG SEASON, I see your point. It’s funny how it’s a winter game, but it’s hot out when the season starts and ends. Its like the people who say you only need to watch the last 5 min of a game

(PMB) Lindsey Hunter sounds like the name of a hottie Skinemax actress. Rodney Stuckey sounds like the name of a 70s comedian that would do frequent guest spots on Sanford and Son

(HJB) Yeah and Joakim Noah looks like a tranny.

8mile_l

(HJB) When announcers talk about a game being “scrappy” and “grinding” they really mean “This game sucks.”

(PMB) That’s true! it’s like when they say someone is a “lunch-pail guy”, tremendous worker”, blue-collar” etc. It means he has no athletic ability. The server keeps timing out here in the arena when I try to get on Twitter, so I’m just going to finish my updates in wordpress from here on out.

(PMB) Bulls up 80-71. There is a LOUD DRUNK MORON BULLS FAN sitting right behind me. HE IS A DOUCHEBAG with his screaming, and I’m getting a headache, so I’m going to finish the exchange up in the press room. Talk to ya in a bit HJB.

(HJB) You shouldn’t say those kinds of things about Jay Mariotti. He has feelings, you know.

(HJB) At this stage of a game, should the announcers be allowed to just rip on anyone or anything they observe off the court? I think it would make the broadcast more interesting. Better yet, for the last three minutes of any bad game, the announcers should be allowed to just be fans and say whatever they feel without punishment.

(HJB) I don’t think fans should kid themselves. Even with Rip and Prince back, this team will still be bad. And the broadcasters were just doing Road Runner impersonations. Yeah, the cartoon roadrunner. Maybe they are allowed to say whatever they want.

(HJB) The last 20 seconds of this game have been sloppier than a girls’ middle school basketball.

(HJB) It appears your terrible team is just slightly better than my terrible team.  The NBA: Expect mediocrity!

(PMB) Joakim Noah after the game “it was sloppy and it was kind of boring, but a w is a w.” I don’t think you would disagree HJB

(PMB) I guess you could say “the NBA where mediocrity happens”

(PMB) HA HA nice Mariotti comment HJB. I was the last of the five journalists at my table to leave, and that was a mistake, because the douche started trying to talk to me. Asking me who I work for and what I was doing…I’m like “just working hard buddy, working hard” The less I said to him the better.

(PMB) So of course everyone wanted to discuss BG coming back and getting booed, and there was a large contingent of reporters in the locker room around him. But I’ll devote another post to that. Flip video of BG included! Great job with this exchange HJB

Signings can’t hide Pistons shortcomings

charlie_and_ben

By H. Jose Bosch

I’m going to be the first one to admit it: the signings of Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva are working well for the Pistons so far.

Over at PistonPowered.com the other day Dan Feldman showed me the light:

But in Detroit’s 98-75 win over Charlotte last night, with Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince still out with injuries, Villanueva and Gordon put the Pistons on their backs.

Villanueva: 30 points on 17 shots, four rebounds, two steals and a block.
Gordon: 22 points on 16 shots, eight assists, a steal and no turnovers.

I never expected them to carry the team, but it’s nice to know they can at times. When Prince and Hamilton return, this game is even more evidence the newcomers can play at a high level.

He finished by saying as the season progresses, maybe people will start to realize that these two moves were actually solid.

That’s where my agreement with him ends.

Yes, both players are doing very well for Detroit, especially with Tayshaun Prince and Rip Hamilton out with injury. And since both players won’t be back for awhile, it’s comforting to know that the Pistons’ season won’t devolve into a traveling circus.

But if last night’s loss against the Lakers proved anything, and Feldman admits this in his excellent write up of the game, Detroit doesn’t have a solid big man to battle in the paint.

This is a problem when you look at some of the best team’s in the East.

Orlando (Dwight Howard), Boston (Kevin Garnett), Cleveland (Shaq, even if he’s a bit past his prime), Atlanta (Al Horford), and Miami (Udonis Haslem).

When Prince returns he’ll bother shooters in the paint with his long reach but he’s still no banger down low.

So when I see the absence of a reliable big man I think: did Dumars have to sign Gordon and Villanueva? With the money he’d save by not signing one of those contracts could he have signed a free agent or worked a trade for someone to play down low?

Dumars deserves a lot of credit for making Detroit a perennial contender in the East and revitalizing a team that had been mired in mediocrity for several years. But I still believe these moves will come back and bite him when the season is complete.

His only saving grace is that the East is still weak and with the return of Prince and Hamilton, Detroit will still compete for the seven or eight seed in the conference.

But lest I sound too negative, check out Jason Maxiell violent block of Shannon Brown. It gave me the chills. Fortunately it happened in L.A., where anything goes. Try and pull that off in Middle America and you’re charged with assault.

The unscientific, non-expert Detroit Pistons preview

automotion

TSB blogger H. Jose Bosch is excited for the start of another NBA season and wonders whether or not the Pistons will repeat as the Eastern Conference No. 8 seed.

By H. Jose Bosch

If you read the blogosphere … OK if you read two blogs … you get two differing opinions on the upcoming Piston season, which begins tonight.

TSB blogger David Kay gave Detroit a failing grade for its offseason moves writing, “The Pistons put their future in the hands of two players who have yet to show they can carry a franchise.”

Daniel Feldman, master of PistonPowered.com (an ESPN affiliate!) — and a former college newspaper colleague of mine — is more optimistic about this season writing, “The Pistons were a playoff team last year that got better in the offseason. How many teams can say that? Probably about half of them. Even if you’re the eighth seed and didn’t get a ton better, it’s still a good situation to be in.”

So what does this season hold in store for fans?

I’ve made it clear on this here site that I didn’t like the draft pick or the free agency acquisitions made by Detroit. At the same time I can’t help but be moved by Feldman’s optimism: “The sun is out. The seas have parted. The basketball gods are shining upon us!”

(I drove 13 hours with this kid too and from Harvard to cover Michigan basketball and I’m pretty sure if I gave him a few more hours he could’ve convinced me I didn’t really exist.)

I understand his arguments for each position on the floor (I’ll let you read for yourself) and can be talked into this team making the playoffs again. Besides, the Pistons made the postseason with a losing record last year, so the Eastern Conference isn’t exactly brimming with competition.

Even if they can squeak into the playoffs, this team won’t be fun to watch for three reasons:

1. Rodney Stuckey won’t develop into a true point guard (I don’t think he is one)
2. Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva won’t play lock down defense (two scorers, albeit good scorers)
3. The best teams in the East (Boston, Cleveland and Orlando) will manhandle the Pistons in the paint (no real surprise, just frustration that it’ll continue to happen)

Are those reasons not to watch? Of course not! You’re a fan. But don’t be surprised if your sanity is tested two months into the season. And have those custom-made “We’re No. 8 (seed)” t-shirts ready because you may need them.