Mediocrity Rules in NBA CentralBy Marc U.
Last week in the National Basketball Association’s Central Division, the five teams from top to bottom all had weeks between 4-6 and 6-4 over their previous 10 games. Such is life in the Central where defense typically reigns and mediocrity is more or less the rule right now.
Indiana was able to increase their lead to 1.5 games over Chicago which at first glance probably doesn’t sound like much but that’s as much distance as they’ve seemingly had most of the season. Last week I discussed the injury situations of the Pacers’ Danny Granger and the Bulls’ Derrick Rose and already things have changed significantly on that front.
Rose said during the last week that he “wouldn’t mind missing the whole season.” That was the part most Bulls’ fans heard. What he went on to say was that “if the knee doesn’t feel right.”
Don’t be so quick to dismiss those comments. For any athlete, a severe knee injury is nothing to rush back from regardless of the fans or anyone else for that matter feels. Rose is the only guy who knows when the right time is for him to come back.
With that said, my personal opinion is that if he feels well enough, he needs to play at some point in this current season simply for the competitive nature of testing the knee. The Bulls could be in serious trouble regarding the playoffs or could be leading the division. That shouldn’t matter. He needs to get on the floor before next year unless the knee just isn’t going to let him.
For the Pacers, their leading scorer of the last five years Danny Granger is expected to return as soon as tomorrow night. He has missed all of this season with a knee problem but seems on target to return.
Granger’s return should help the Pacers on the offensive end significantly. They already lead the league in defense and rebounding but they are 28th in the league in scoring. While defense and rebounding will take you places in the NBA Playoffs, you still need to be able to score.
Other teams in the post-season will play defense as well but if they can create ways to score more often that you can then get the golf clubs ready.
News Around the Central… I find it interesting the Kyrie Irving was one of the main stories of All-Star Weekend. Cavs’ fans could be facing a ‘LeBron-type’ situation when the contract situation comes up with Irving… The Pacers have climbed into the 3rd seed where they would play 6th seed Atlanta in the playoffs… The 8th seed Milwaukee Bucks would draw the top-seeded Heat if the playoffs started today.
Games This Week
Milwaukee at Brooklyn – If the Bucks plan stay in the playoff chase then they’ll need to win games like this on the road. Even with a 4.5 game lead on the 9th place team, the Bucks need to beat solid teams like the current 4th seed Brooklyn. I like the Nets.
Detroit at Charlotte – I still have a glimmer of faith in the Pistons and the fact they’ll make a run at the 8th seed. A loss in Charlotte will end that faith. Take the Pistons.
Brooklyn at Milwaukee – In the rare ‘home and home,’ who can take advantage or will there be nothing more than a split? Brooklyn is actually .500 on the road and Milwaukee only two games over at home. Take the Nets.
Detroit at Indiana – The Pacers will be coming off a date with the rival Knicks while the Pistons will be coming in from Charlotte. With Granger returning for Indiana, I like the Pacers.