By Marcus Thompson
Tuesday, December 19th, 2006 at 4:34 pm in Uncategorized.
It looks as if the Warriors, who can’t seem to get a road win even in the embarrassing Atlantic Division, are done for this season. They’ve blown a season’s-worth of fourth-quarter leads already and the injury bug they’ve gotten clearly isn’t the 24-hour one. Nevertheless, you could make a case that they have time to rebound. There is plenty season left and they’ll be better with a healthy Jason Richardson, Ike Diogu and Troy Murphy.
BUUUUUUUT, the Western Conference has gotten even tougher now that Allen Iverson is on the left side (a.k.a. the best side).
As I posted before, pretty much five of the eight Western Conference playoff spots are all but taken: San Antonio, Dallas, Phoenix, the Northwest Divison winner (Utah) and the Clippers (I still believe they’ll get it together, but feel free to swap the Clippers with Houston, because they’re in).
That leaves three spots, and here are the teams competing for those spots: Houston (or the Clippers), the Lakers, Denver and the Hornets. That’s four teams fighting for three spots, and I haven’t mentioned the Warriors yet.
Now, you could’ve made the case that the Warriors are better than Denver and the Hornets. But with Iverson joining Carmelo and J.R. Smith in George Karl’s uptempo offense, Denver has moved much closer to the Lakers and Houston than to the Hornets and Warriors.
The Nuggets are already the second-highest scoring team in the league. Now they’ll have the league’s two highest-scoring players. They probably won’t be strong enough to knock off Dallas or San Antonio, but they are good enough to hurt the Warriors chances.