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Rowan’s Rankings | NBA Week 23



Heading into this season, many felt as though a seemingly inevitable rematch between the Cavaliers and Warriors took away from the excitement of the regular season. What’s followed has been a tremendously entertaining season, with a fantastic MVP race, furious battles for the eighth seed of each conference, as well as a showcase for the next generation of elite young talent.

Lately, we’ve unfortunately seen the season clouded by injuries. Knee surgery for Kevin Love, a knee injury that could keep Kevin Durant out for the remainder of the regular season, and Kyle Lowry needing surgery on his hand. It’s a sad reminder that anything can happen and nothing is guaranteed. The NBA season is a war of attrition, and how teams respond to adversity can be the difference between winning a championship or bowing out early.

  1. San Antonio Spurs last week 4

It’s been a long time since the Warriors weren’t #1 in these rankings. But the injury to Kevin Durant, followed by two consecutive losses was enough to do it. The Spurs have quietly won seven games in a row and could make a real push for home court throughout the playoffs, which could help Kawhi Leonard in his case for MVP.

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers last week 2

The Cavs biggest win may have come on the buyout market, where they added both Deron Williams and Andrew Bogut. They’re still down two starters, but with the looming return of J.R. Smith and added depth, they have all the tools they need to make a serious run at repeating.

  1. Golden State Warriors last week 1

There’s few better cures for losing than a matchup against the New York Knicks. The Warriors busted their slump at The Garden, but the biggest question moving forward will be the usage of Steph Curry. The lack of pick and roll in the team’s offense continues to be baffling, and may be contributing to his recent shooting slump.

  1. Houston Rockets last week 3

Houston suffered a bad loss to the Pacers, but bounced back with blowout wins over the Clippers and Grizzlies. If Durant is not himself when he returns, the Rockets will be eyeing a Finals berth. They will get to test their legitimacy this week as they take on both the Spurs and the Cavaliers.

  1. Boston Celtics last week 5

The Celtics got a quality win over the Cavaliers in one of the best regular season games of the season. While much has been made over the production of Al Horford, his absence was felt in the Celtics loss to the Suns. His spacing and playmaking has been a large part of their success this season.

  1. Washington Wizards last week 7

It was a pretty great week for the Wizards. They defeated the Warriors at home, then got a dominant road win in Toronto. Losing the second half of the home at home against the Raptors may be a missed opportunity to generate space in the standings, though. While the Raptors are without Lowry, their schedule is considerably easier down the stretch and they now hold the tiebreaker.

  1. Toronto Raptors last week 6

The Raptors are 4-2 in their last six games, all without Kyle Lowry. They also managed to get wins against both the Celtics and Wizards. Without Lowry there is a lack of consistent playmaking, but Cory Joseph has been better and Serge Ibaka has helped transform the team’s defense. Toronto only plays one team with a top ten offense for the rest of the season, the Cavs on the final night of the season, so they may be able to keep their winning ways going.

  1. Utah Jazz last week 8

The Jazz haven’t been particularly impressive lately. They botched their comeback against the Thunder, lost to the Wolves, and barely beat the Kings in overtime. Still, they are fourth in the West, but they lack the consistency necessary to move up in the standings.

  1. L.A. Clippers last week 9

Their win over the Chicago Bulls helped put an end to the 1-4 rut the Clippers were in. With a healthy lineup, it’s now or never for L.A. to make a move.

  1. Detroit Pistons last week 15

Quietly, the Detroit Pistons have been playing better basketball lately. The team is 4-2 in their last six games and have a better point differential on the year than the Hawks, Pacers and Bulls. They’re just two games back of sixth in the East and could make a jump up the standings if they keep this play up.

  1. Memphis Grizzlies last week 11

It was an underwhelming week for the Grizzlies, going 2-2 with losses to the Mavericks and Rockets. They’re still a game up on the Thunder, but have little room for error.

  1. Dallas Mavericks last week 18

The Mavericks have won four of their last five games, including a blowout win over the Thunder. Seth Curry has been fantastic and Nerlens Noel has fit in well with his new team. They’re just two games back of a playoff spot, which would undoubtedly earn Rick Carlisle coach of the year.

  1. Chicago Bulls last week 12

With wins over the Cavaliers and Warriors, the Bulls can feel pretty good about this past week. They suffered a setback with a loss to the Clippers, but they’ve managed to hold their ground and remain in the playoffs.

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder last week 10

The Thunder have lost three straight games, despite Russell Westbrook still producing eye-popping statistics. The culprit for their slump may be adjusting to new pieces with Oladipo out of the lineup. Regardless of the reason, Westbrook simply isn’t getting much help at the moment.

  1. Indiana Pacers last week 16

Indiana has won three of their last five games, including a close win over the Atlanta Hawks. However, their inability to put together consecutive wins has hindered their ability to climb up the standings.

  1. Miami Heat last week 14

Alright, so the Heat technically beat the Cavs… but with no LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, or J.R. Smith, that’s not all that impressive. The Heat had a disappointing loss against the Magic, but have continued to impress with their strong team play overall.

  1. Atlanta Hawks last week 13

Seven teams have set their season high in three-point makes against the Hawks this season, including the Cavs setting an NBA record with 25. The team appears to be stuck on the same treadmill of mediocrity that has plagued the franchise in the past.

  1. Denver Nuggets last week 17

The Nuggets have played well enough to hold on to a playoff spot and achieved two quality wins over the Bulls and Bucks. They have an important game Monday against the Kings that could have a significant impact on the playoff picture.

  1. Milwaukee Bucks last week not ranked

The Bucks collected two quality wins against the Raptors and Clippers to help keep their playoff hopes alive. Few teams have had to deal with adversity like the Bucks this season, but the play of Giannis Antetokounmpo has been enough to keep them in the race.

  1. Portland Trail Blazers last week 19

Jusuf Nurkic has impressed for the Blazers in a more featured role. Portland has played better as of late as well, winning their last two games against the Thunder and Nets. Whether or not they can salvage their season remains to be seen.


Press Basketball is a sports news organization that brings the old school mentality of the press room to the new age of sports media. Past the gloss and the stat lines lies a game that we all love and Press Basketball wants to remind you why. Featuring video programming, podcasts, written articles, and a community driven social platform, Press Basketball aims to be the “go to” outlet for basketball news in the new age of media.

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Below the Hardwood

Kyrie The Crusader



Below The Hardwood
Kyrie The Crusader
Below The Hardwood Kyrie The Crusader

In episode 2, the team gives their thoughts on the crusade led by Kyrie Irving to keep the 19-20 NBA season cancelled amidst the social injustice and Covid-19.  As the league prepares for the return of the season, the crew ponders whether Kyrie and others have a good argument on why continuing the season could be a distraction to bigger issues and if the league does return which teams, players are you looking forward to watching in the new 8 game format.

Don’t forget to follow the team on Instagram and most social media platforms

  • @belowthehardwood
  • @RAHenry
  • @alanshane
  • @livingmydexlife 

Podcast available on Spotify, Apple, Google, and iHeartRadio.

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Below the Hardwood

The COVID Special



The Break
USA vs Everybody | Episode 17
The Break USA vs Everybody | Episode 17

For the first time in over 4 years BTH is back to talk the best in the NBA as they always do….

Social distancing style!

In this episode the team, the homies and  the compadres give their takes on “The Last Dance” MJ Doc; who’s really behind it?, the 2020 NBA season; will it return and which players need it bad, who is the season MVP, would be playoff match ups for east and west conference finals and who would have ultimately won the NBA Finals had it not been for the pandemic of Covid-19.

Don’t forget to follow the team on Instagram and most social media platforms

  • @belowthehardwood
  • @RAHenry
  • @alanshane
  • @livingmydexlife

Podcast available on Spotify, Apple, Google, and iHeartRadio.

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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.



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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