|Written by Michael Patrick|
Bet on the NBAIn spite of a big loss to the Lakers, who continue to rise in the power poll, the San Antonio Spurs remain the top team in the NBA. However, it is not going to be an easy road to the finals for any team in the NBA, as the Mavericks out West along with the Lakers and Spurs, and the Celtics in the East along with the dangerous Chicago Bulls prepare for the toughest part of their respective seasons.
For the Spurs, the answer to any questions revolves around the injury to star point guard Tony Parker. The Spurs are aged, and that's putting it lightly, so it is imperative that they stay healthy and that T Duncan can prove that his play against the likes of the Lakers can improve come time for the NBA Playoffs.
The Lakers are power rated at number two this week and their reality rests heavy on the shoulders of Andrew Bynum. Bynum must continue to exert his will on opponents and should a little more of the load for the aging Kobe Bryant. Bynum is going to be key for the Lakers in the Playoffs.
Number three in the power rankings are the ever present Boston Celtics. The return of the Diesel is next week, but possibly the most important part of this team is the continued development of Delonte West. West is, without question, the Celtics best perimeter defender, and the fact that he knows Eastern Conference opponents very well, will play into the Celtics assault on the East.
The fourth seed in the power rankings goes to the upstart Chicago Bulls and their MVP candidate D Rose. With Boozer and Noah back, at full strength, and playing very well together, their may not be a scarier team in the NBA. Rose has become one of the most complete players in the NBA, continuing to make everyone around him better.
Rounding out the top five are the Dallas Mavericks, bumping off the Miami Heat after their week of Shakespearean tragedy. This could be the year for the Mavs because they are aging and there is a sense of urgency in their play which we have not seen before. Knocking off one of the two West Coast powers is a definite possibility for Dallas.