The second half of the 2010-11 season is underway and while the Miami Heat are starting to hit their stride there’s another team slow-walking in the East. Quiet and unassuming just like their leader Derrick Rose - ladies and gentlemen the Chicago Bulls are coming.
1. San Antonio Spurs – The Spurs are happy to get back home for seven of their next nine after going 6-3 on their last road trip.
2. Boston Celtics - If the Celtics are going to remain number one in the East it’s going to come on the road. They play seven more road games than the Miami Heat in the stretch run.
3. Miami Heat - Until the Heat prove that they can beat the Celtics they’ll remain a step behind.
4. Chicago Bulls - Joakim Noah returns to a team that went 22-8 in his absence, the combination of Carlos Boozer and Noah has only suited up for nine games this season.
5. Dallas Mavericks - Jason Terry says that the Mavs will catch the Spurs…
6. Los Angeles Lakers – Kobe Bryant and the Lakers coasted through the first half of the season, now the Champs begin their assault on the Western Conference crown.
7. Oklahoma City Thunder - This is one of those teams that you pray stays together for awhile.
8. Orlando Magic – Where is Gilbert Arenas?
9. Portland Trailblazers – We’ll know today if/when Brandon Roy returns, what we know now is that the Blazers are on a six-game win streak and LaMarcus Aldridge is a man!
10. Memphis Grizzlies – Just when the Grizzlies gain momentum Rudy Gay is lost for a month or more. Time for O.J. Mayo to step up.
11. Denver Nuggets – Hey, at least the Nuggets got something for their star player. I don’t see this team falling into the abyss. This maybe a sympathy spot.
12. New Orleans Hornets – This team needs to regroup – and fast.
13. Atlanta Hawks – Looking more like a sixth or seventh seed.
14. Philadelphia 76′ers – It’s a shame that this young cap-strapped team can’t get better now.
15. New York Knicks - The Eastern Conference first round just got very interesting.
16. Phoenix Suns - It’s gonna be a long, ugly fight for that eight spot, and the Suns will be in the thick of it.
17. Utah Jazz – The Deron Williams watch is on…
18. Indiana Pacers – If they can take advantage of this soft schedule in the second half the playoffs would be a nice accomplishment.
19. Houston Rockets – The Rockets are in the mix with the Grizzlies, Suns and Warriors for the final spot in the West.
20. Charlotte Bobcats – If the Bobcats are going to make a run at consecutive playoff appearances the young ‘cats are going to have to get more tick.
21. Golden State Warriors – If they’re defense becomes a potent as their ability to score, they should be fun to watch down the stretch.
22. Milwaukee Bucks – The Bucks are going to make a run, those are the words of Brandon Jennings – not mine.
23. Detroit Pistons - Wise move by Chrysler not to put any Detroit Pistons highlights in their new ad for the 200.
24. Los Angeles Clippers – When it’s time for Blake Griffin to re-up, the only thing he may be changing is his jersey number – that one doesn’t come in purple and gold.
25. New Jersey Nets – The Nets were a year away from getting Carmelo Anthony.
26. Sacremento Kings
27. Washington Wizards
28. Toronto Raptors
29. Minnesota Timberwolves
30. Cleveland Cavaliers