It feels like the NBA season just started yesterday and as far as the playoffs go, we are already halfway there. And as far as the playoffs go, some teams are already living on a prayer (yes, it's from a Bon Jovi song). We can call these "living on a prayer" teams the "single digit crew". In other words, if you haven't won at least 10 games by now, unless something miraculous happens, you ain't going to the playoffs. As of today, the members of this crew are: New Jersey, Toronto, Detroit, Washington, Charlotte, New Orleans and Golden State. These teams can start hoping the ping pong balls land in their favor. We can invite 10-wins Cleveland and Sacramento to this party also.
The Philadelphia 76ers (18-9) and the Indiana Pacers (17-9) are the surprise of the Eastern Conference. Both teams are having fantastic seasons without the luxury of a "Big 3" or a real name superstar on their rosters. Meanwhile, the Big 3-led Boston Celtics (14-12) and the Carmelo Anthony-led New York Knicks (12-15) have not played up to par thus far. The Boston Big 3 are looking more like the Boston Old 3 and it looks like they'll be a one-round-and-out team come playoff time. As for the Knicks, they are starting to show some life (winners of 4 in a row) thanks to the "new kid on the block" Jeremy Lin. Let's wait and see how long Lin-mania can last.
As expected, the Chicago Bulls (23-6) and the Miami Heat (20-7) are the elites of the East. One of these two will more than likely represent the East in the NBA Finals.
Over in the Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs (18-9) are having their typical San Antonio Spurs REGULAR season. The question is, how much energy will the aging Spurs have when the playoffs come around? As for the defending champions Dallas Mavericks (16-11)-- it looks like they left it all on the court last season. Youth is not exactly on their side either. So Dallas fans, be glad ya got your ring because if you look at that roster, there are a lot of players 32+ years old on there. The entire core to be exact.
The LA Clippers (16-8) and the LA Lakers (15-12) are battling it out for the Pacific Division lead and for LA bragging rights. It looks like the Clippers have the upper hand on both. Who would've thunk it?
The Oklahoma City Thunder (20-6) are in a class by themselves. If I were them I'd start looking at game films of the Bulls and Heat and start setting up my game plans for the NBA Finals. No doubt.