I normally don't even give these a look but this game vs the Bulls tonight has my hyped. So I thought I'd share this..
Hero Team of the Week: Chicago (4-0) - Included in the Bulls' four wins were victories over two top-11 teams on the road.
Zero Team of the Week: Cleveland (0-4) - The Cavs started the week with a tough loss to the Celtics, but then got spanked by the Knicks and Bulls, before helping the Wizards end their six-game losing streak.
Plus-minus Stud: Darren Collison (IND) was a plus-55 in two games last week.
Plus-minus Dud: Monta Ellis (GSW) was a minus-49 in four games last week.
High jumps of the week: Boston (+5), Indiana (+5), L.A. Lakers (+4), Phoenix (+4)
Free falls of the week: Dallas (-4), Portland (-4), Cleveland (-3)
*Check the DUD again...
1 Chicago (31-8)
Pace: 92.9 (20), Off: 105.3 (3), Def: 95.0 (2)
It's been more than a month since the Bulls (without Luol Deng) lost to the Heat. And with another meeting between the two coming next Wednesday, we can put that one behind us and hand the Bulls the No. 1 spot. They've won 13 of their last 15, with big wins in San Antonio and Philadelphia last week.
2 Oklahoma City (29-8)
Pace: 96.0 (6), Off: 106.2 (2), Def: 99.2 (13)
OKC has the league's second-most efficient offense despite the highest turnover rate, thanks to free throws and shots in the paint. They got to the line on Saturday in Atlanta, but struggled in the paint (13-for-29), putting the spotlight on their 21 turnovers in one of their worst offensive games of the season.
3 Miami (28-9)
Pace: 94.9 (8), Off: 107.9 (1), Def: 97.5 (7)
It's strange how a guy gets repeatedly criticized for passing the ball to open teammates, but such is the life of LeBron James, at least until he wins a championship (or five). Meanwhile, Dwyane Wade seemingly gets off scot free, despite bad fouls in Utah on Friday and in L.A. on Sunday.
4 L.A. Lakers (23-14)
Pace: 92.5 (22), Off: 101.4 (13), Def: 97.9 (10)
This mask thing is working out pretty well for Kobe Bryant, who's shooting 54 percent since breaking his nose. That, along with consecutive double-figure games from Metta World Peace for the first time since December, has helped the Lakers' offense break through and pick up a signature win over the Heat.
5 San Antonio (25-12)
Pace: 93.9 (17), Off: 104.0 (6), Def: 100.3 (14)
The Spurs have already lost more home games after the All-Star break (two) than they did before it (one). More importantly, they have Manu Ginobili back for the rest of their seven-game homestand, which features great matchups against the Knicks (Wednesday) and Clippers (Friday) this week.
6 Indiana (23-12)
Pace: 94.0 (15), Off: 101.3 (14), Def: 97.1 (6)
You want consistency? Indiana has attempted either 31 or 32 free throws in each of its last five games. They've won six straight, scoring 112 points per 100 possessions. And if they can come close to keeping that up against Chicago, Atlanta, Miami and Orlando this week, they become a really scary team.
I just keep finding things that make tonight's game even better for me. This is a nice stat fact I read on nba.com bulls-pacers preview:
"Granger averaged 21.6 points in last year's East quarterfinals - 10.4 more than any other Pacers player - and has scored 24.7 per game in his last nine regular-season matchups with Chicago."