Title: Southeast Division Recap
Date: March 26, 2008
Original Source: About.com
Synopsis: After branching out from The ODC to Hoops Addict, I also got hooked up doing weekly Southeast Division reviews for About.com. Why? Because the site is USA Today affiliated, and because I had a connection with the editor and he needed someone on short notice. It only lasted a few weeks of the season and into the summer, and the links are now lost (About.com doesn’t keep archives of previous seasons’ weekly division reviews, because apparently nobody cares what the Wizards’ outlook was in late March of 2008, go figure), but luckily I have backups and can recover the text.
Recap Rewind: The Hawks had a slow week, splitting a pair of games. Unfortunately, the loss came to the Nets, who site just a game behind Atlanta for the East’s 8-seed. They upset Orlando, and while they don’t have a shot at the division title, it’s good to see them beat top competition.
Notable News: Al Horford had a good pair of games, averaging 15.5-12.5-4.5 and continues to make his case for the Rookie of the Year award. Acie Law continues to heal and could provide the necessary point guard depth, should the Hawks make the playoffs. On that front, seeds 8 through 11 will be in a dog fight for the East’s final playoff spot the rest of the way.
Fast Forward: The Hawks have a crucial week, playing five times in seven days. It is definitely their toughest chunk of schedule for the season, especially since two games come against Chicago, a team chasing them for the final playoff spot.
Recap Rewind: The Bobcats split a pair this week, losing on the road to the Pacers and using the NBA’s resident Slumpbuster in the Miami Heat to break out of a five game losing streak.
Notable News: The biggest news out of Charlotte was Dell Curry’s son Stephen lighting up the March Madness tournament’s first weekend. Dell is the Bobcats’ assistant coach. Charlotte sits five games out of the East’s playoff race but is largely an afterthought. Gerald Wallace hasn’t lost a step, returning to post 43 points over two games.
Fast Forward: If the Bobcats have any hope of making the playoffs, they’ll have to make a strong push in their five games this week. Unfortunately, four of those are on the road out West before finishing up with a home game against Toronto.
Recap Rewind: The Heat beat the Bucks on Tuesday before spiralling back into their losing ways. They lost in Toronto Wednesday, managing an NBA-season low 54 points, and followed it up with losses to Washington and Charlotte. Milwaukee proved fruitful again Monday as Miami topped them 78-73 in one of the ugliest games of the NBA season.
Notable News: Not that an NBA team would ever tank, but the Heat have a two-and-a-half game advantage in the battle for worst record in the league. Blake Ahearn, Stephane Lasme and Kasib Powell all got called up from the D-League and saw some playing time. Joel Anthony also made his NBA debut on Tuesday, posting 9-and-10 in the win over Milwaukee. Additionally, it looks like Udonis Haslem will be shut down for the season, joining Dwyane Wade on the sidelines.
Fast Forward: The Heat have four games on tap this week, all on the road against Eastern Conference foes. New York, Detroit, Boston and Indiana are on the docket.
Recap Rewind: Largely in a holding pattern right now, the Magic took just one of three games against lesser opposition. I win against Philadelphia was sandwiched between losses to Washington and Atlanta.
Notable News: The team revealed that their goal over the last few weeks of the season is to go into the playoffs healthy and well rested. With Cleveland 5.5 games behind for third and Detroit 5.5 games ahead for second, the number one goal in Orlando is preparing the team for the playoffs. The Magic continued to be one of the most three-point reliant teams in the league, and they’re on pace to shoot the third most threes in NBA history. Oh, and if you needed further proof that Hedo Turkoglu has become a star, please refer to his 39 point performance Wednesday against the Wizards.
Fast Forward: The Magic have a quiet week with just two games, Tuesday and Friday. Tuesday, however, is one of those tried and true ‘measuring stick games,’ as the Magic try their hand against the San Antonio Spurs.
Recap Rewind: It was a big week for the Wizards, as they took three straight. They beat Orlando, Miami, and Detroit, putting the league on notice that they can hang with the best teams.
Notable News: The three wins and the struggles of Toronto moved Washington into the fifth spot in the East. They’re still fighting hard with Philadelphia and Toronto to see how the 5-through-7 seeds will shake down, so it’s into ‘every game is important’ time. In even bigger news, Gilbert Arenas wanted to return this week, only for doctors to tell him not to. He reacted poorly but calmed down, and now Agent Zero is eyeing a return sometime during this big west coast road trip.
Fast Forward: The Wiz embark on a nasty west coast trip that could determine their playoff seed. Four of those games take place this week, starting with Portland on Tuesday, followed by stops in Seattle, Sacramento, and Los Angeles for a show-down with Kobe you know Gil would love to be a part of.