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Rowan’s Rankings | NBA Week 19

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Slump season is still in full effect as a few teams try to survive until the All-Star break. The NBA season is a war of attrition and teams like the Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets are just trying to hold their positions before getting a break and an opportunity to regroup. For others, this is the time of the year to capitalize on the slumps from the top and make some moves.

1. Golden State Warriors

last week 1
The Warriors five game winning streak came to an end against the Sacramento Kings, as Steph Curry missed a jumper and layup in the final ten seconds that could have tied the game. The Warriors are human after all and are capable of a letdown loss. Nobody else has played consistently enough to overtake them, so the Warriors keep the power rankings lead.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers

last week 3
The “sky is falling” Cavaliers have won four of their last five with the lone loss coming in Dallas on the second night of a back-to-back without Kevin Love. Quietly, the team has looked dominant once again outside of that loss, handling the Nets, Thunder, Timberwolves, and Knicks with ease. They have three games left of a four game road trip where they’ll look to improve on their 12-10 road record.

3. San Antonio Spurs

last week 2
Like the Cavs, the Spurs have looked very good since their loss to the Mavericks, dismantling the Thunder, Sixers and Nuggets. The Spurs have had a home-heavy schedule lately and face a test against the always-tough Grizzlies in Memphis on Monday night.

4. Washington Wizards

last week 4
The Wizards have won seven games in a row, as well as 17 straight at home. They’ll put that on the line Monday night as they host an old rival in the Cleveland Cavaliers.

5. Boston Celtics

last week 5
If you aren’t watching what Isaiah Thomas is doing lately, you are missing one of the most entertaining runs of regular season basketball in the last few years. Thomas is pushing Westbrook in the scoring race and got a signature win over the Raptors in his fourth quarter showdown against Kyle Lowry.

6. Utah Jazz

last week 9
The Jazz have won seven of their last ten games and have moved up to the fourth seed in the Western Conference. With the Rockets sliding, the Jazz have an opportunity to make-up some ground and make a late season push to avoid the Warriors in the second round. That is, if they can stay healthy…

7. Indiana Pacers

last week 11
Whenever you have a lot of turnover, you’ll almost always struggle to start an NBA season. Chemistry and continuity is key, and it appears as though the Pacers have adjusted to playing with their new teammates. Winners of six straight, Indy is showing off the tremendous potential their roster possesses.

8. Atlanta Hawks

last week 7
The Hawks got a quality road win over the Rockets and took care of business against the Magic. Unfortunately for them, they fell victim to the Dion Waiters experience. The Hawks host the Jazz and Nuggets before heading on a West Coast trip that could influence the direction of the team moving forward.

9. Houston Rockets

last week 6
The Rockets have been a .500 team over their last ten games as the defense has suffered dramatically. Their schedule for the rest of February is fairly light, so they will have an opportunity to stop the bleeding and regain their defensive composure.

10. L.A. Clippers

last week 8
The Clippers have not had the best luck lately. Without Chris Paul, the team had to face the Warriors twice as well as the red-hot Celtics in their last five games. They competed well against the Warriors and Celtics, but ultimately lost both games.

11. Memphis Grizzlies

last week 10
The Grizzlies have won four of their last five games as they try to hold off the Thunder in the standings. With their lone loss coming to the Thunder, they lost a golden opportunity to create some separation between them and OKC.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder

last week 13
The Thunder put an end to their three-game losing streak with wins over the Grizzlies and Trail Blazers. While they have only gone .500 over their last ten, Westbrook has shown no signs of slowing down and has been stellar in their last two games.

13. Miami Heat

last week 16
The Heat still haven’t lost and are riding one of the least likely ten game winning streaks I can recall. They’re just two games back of a playoff spot as the bottom quarter of the East playoff picture has struggled as of late.

14. Dallas Mavericks

last week not ranked
The Mavericks have won four straight games including wins over the Spurs, Cavaliers, and Trail Blazers. The team has won seven of their last ten and are showing Rick Carlisle can make magic out of anything.

15. Toronto Raptors

last week 12
The Raptors have lost eight of their last 11 and have fallen to fourth place in the Eastern Conference. The team has missed DeRozan and has responded to his absence by playing Kyle Lowry an ungodly amount of minutes. The team’s struggles may impact how they approach the trade deadline in a couple weeks.

16. Denver Nuggets

last week 14
The Nuggets still are a game up of Portland for eighth in the West, despite losing three of their last four. With Nikola Jokic back in the lineup, the Nuggets will now face a tough test as they travel East to take on the Hawks, Knicks, and Cavaliers, before returning home to host the Warriors.

17. Chicago Bulls

last week 15
The Bulls went .500 over the last week with the lone quality win coming against the Thunder. Jimmy Butler continues to carry this flawed roster and hold off the advances of Charlotte and Detroit, who will try to knock them out of the playoff picture.

18. Detroit Pistons

last week not ranked
Detroit appears to be turning things around as they ended their three-game losing streak with back to back wins before falling to a hot Pacers team. They’re back in playoff position and will look to overtake the Bulls as they face a very manageable month of February.

19. Portland Trail Blazers

last week 19
The Blazers have lost three of their last four and failed to make up any ground on the Denver Nuggets. While this team is incredibly flawed, they should still be considered the favourite to get the eighth seed in the West. They just need to finally stop disappointing.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves

last week 18
The Wolves have lost three straight games, but their biggest loss is losing Zach LaVine to a season-ending ACL tear. While the news is a tough blow for the Wolves, it presents an opportunity for other young players to show what they have, or for Andrew Wiggins to show the assertiveness he’s lacked.

From the heart of continent, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Justin is a life-long hoops head with a love of the team from Northeast Ohio. He’s written for Fear the Sword as well as Hoops Habit. And he’s never blown a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. "It's kind of boring when you take open shots." - J.R. Smith. Checkout Justin’s weekly NBA Power Play called Rowan’s Rankings.

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Featured Article

Ride The Wave

Back in October the sky was the limit. LeBron had decided to move to LA and join the Lakers. Things were good then.

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Back in October the sky was the limit. LeBron had decided to move to LA and join the Lakers, drawing in a decent support team and a lot of talk that the West was looking incredibly dominant next to a “weaker” East. Things were good then.

Five months later and things couldn’t be farther from that idylistic picture. The East thrived without the King and GMs put together some of the most noteworthy teams in a while. And the Lakers? The Lakers currently sit in the 11th spot of the Western Conference with very little hope of making it to the playoffs. They’re a team that is constantly attacked for their lack of chemistry, skill, and effort. For the first time in a long time, LA became synonymous with “hopeless”.

This wasn’t the future we saw for the King.

On the heels of a night filled with one of his greatest achievements ever, the Lakers as a team walked away with a loss to the Denver Nuggets. A night that began on a high note went out on one that was equivalent to sour candy. Furthermore, a frustrated team left an arena, hopped on social media, and found a bevy of congrats for their star player, while enduring the storm that came with another Lakers loss.

It seems that James’ stardom has reached a tipping point, one that makes him a GM one moment, the King of the league the next, and finally the biggest point of contention within the locker room. The most notable thing is that it is clearly wearing him down. Chris Martin let us know that “nobody one said it was easy”, but you’ve got to ask yourself, does it have to be so hard?

The answer is unfortunately, yes. It’s always going to be this way, and there is no fighting the current, but there is beauty in riding the wave. Embracing that moment when the wave comes crashing down on you is important, because it’s always going to happen, but your attitude will always be remembered. LeBron rides high, and keeps things in the positive light for the media, but he’s got to realize that they are writing his story, and he doesn’t have to play into their’s. Ride the wave, and take the loss in stride with all the great that has come with it, but take the loss because your part of a team that is.

The wave has crashed down, but the current will bring another.

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Year 15 | A Mini Documentary

Year 15 of a legacy…

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What’s to come for the man on top, and what got him here?

It’s Year 15 of a man’s career, but it’s also Year 15 of a legacy…

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Editorial

Something Out of Nothing

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It’s March 2016, and I’m driving with Alan Shane Lewis to Montreal to meet with Marc Griffin and Phil Boileau. We’re meeting to speak about this exciting new idea I pitched to them. We were tired of spinning the wheels on our own individual internet shows, and I told them that it was time we stopped waiting for a network and became the network.

We spoke that weekend about creating a community of content creators that all loved ball and came together to make unique content with unique voices – voices we felt were never heard in the mainstream. This community was the base of Press and we’d continue to push forward from that spot. We spoke about some amazing show ideas, article ideas, social media plan. It was truly an exciting time, and still one of the best weekends of my life.

Two years later and that group is a lot smaller, and that idea is Press Basketball.

It caught fire at the beginning and we had people joining our bright shiny new plaything left, right, and center. It was exciting, but now I kind of realize that a lot of it was just that we were that “bright shiny new thing”.

We ended up with a lot of Press Basketball “members” but when I stepped back and looked at what was happening… it wasn’t what I’d imagined. The fire burned out. The idea was gone. We had just become another thing trying to stay alive, waiting for some deus ex machina to show up with money and make everything okay.

I’ve gone through most of my life making something out of nothing. It’s never easy, but when it happens it’s always worth it… ALWAYS. Press made me feel alive at a point. It was literally all I could think about, and while it still is on my mind, it doesn’t make me feel alive. This hurts more than I can ever explain.

Changes are coming my friends. We’re not laying down and dying, and if we do it’s not going to be like this.

The core of Press will be setting fire to a lot over the next few weeks and I personally can’t wait for this to start. From the ashes something new will rise (I watched a lot of XMEN growing up).

Stay tuned, because it’s not over.

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