||by Joe Smart
Published: April 16, 2005, 5:43 pm
Are the Golden State Warriors for real? Some people, including me, think they are. It took a while for Baron Davis to settle in, but once he did the Warriors were on fire. The Warriors have won 7 straight games, most recently beating the slumping Portland Trail Blazers 104-102 on April 6 th. They have 7 games left in the season, including a few tough games coming up, where they face the Suns, the Spurs and the streaking Denver Nuggets. Baron Davis, acquired from the New Orleans Hornets before the trade deadline, has definitely made the Warriors better. In 21 games with the Warriors, he is averaging 18.5 PPG, a team high 8.0 APG, 1.8 SPG, all while shooting only 39% from the field. Davis has helped the Warriors get victories over some of the top teams in the league recently, including the Phoenix Suns, Seattle Supersonics, Sacramento Kings and the Houston Rockets, one of the better defensive teams in the league. The Warriors scored 122 points in the game against Houston on April 5 th, where Davis scored a career high 40 points while dishing out 13 assists, plus 5 rebounds and 5 steals. One thing I believe is that if you hold the playoffs tomorrow and have the Warriors be in it, they could very well move past the 1st round with the way they have been playing. They are one of the more surprising teams in the league, along the Denver Nuggets. One difference though, is that the Warriors have been winning since acquiring a new player (Baron Davis) and the Nuggets have been winning since getting a new coach (George Karl). Denver has already moved into the 7th Western Conference playoffs, after losing only twice since the All-Star break, both times to the Phoenix Suns.
With their third straight loss and 7 th loss in 10 games, the Cleveland Cavaliers have moved to the 8 th and last spot in the Eastern Conference, with a 103-98 loss to the 76ers, who moved up to the 7th spot, on Friday. The Cavs could very well be out of the playoffs soon if New Jersey keeps winning. The Nets have won 2 straight and are 2 Ĺ behind Cleveland for the final playoff spot, and Vinsanity and the Nets donít plan on giving up.
Despite all the injuries and suspensions, the Indiana Pacers continue to move up in the playoff race. The Pacers have won 6 straight, including a recent win over the Wizards on Friday 93-83. With that win, the Pacers moved past the Wizards for the 5th playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They are doing all of this without some of their best players like Jermaine OíNeal, Ron Artest and Jamaal Tinsley. In other playoff news, the Detroit Pistons have locked up the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference and would face the 76ers if the playoffs were held now. There are really only 3 teams that still have a chance to make the playoffs. The New Jersey Nets, Orlando Magic and the Minnesota are all less than 5 games back in their conference. The Lakers, Clippers, and the Raptors are headed for the lottery.
The 2005 NBA Playoffs start Saturday April 23, 2005.
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