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Rowan’s Rankings | NBA Week 25

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As another week passes, we have seen teams try to discover their identity on the fly — whether it be the Warriors trying to win without Durant, the Raptors without Lowry, the Cavaliers trying to integrate pieces that haven’t played together all year, or the Spurs dealing with a health scare to LaMarcus Aldridge. Nothing is given in today’s NBA and just because things look inevitable on paper, doesn’t mean that the league doesn’t have any surprises in store for us come playoffs. In the spirit of March Madness, it’s important to remember that upsets can and do happen, and what teams do down the stretch may impact their ability to execute when it matters.

  1. San Antonio Spurs last week 1

It wasn’t a particularly good week for the Spurs. They lost to both the Blazers and Grizzlies, but rebounded with a convincing win over the Kings. With none of the top teams playing their best basketball, the Spurs keep their top spot.

  1. Houston Rockets last week 2

With a 4-1 record over their last five games, the Rockets are getting closer and closer to securing the third seed in the playoffs. That position may not be as desirable, though, should the Spurs overtake the Warriors for the top seed in the West.

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers last week 3

The Cavs are starting to take shape as Kevin Love and J.R. Smith are both back. While the team rested the big three for the blowout loss against the Clippers, the offense has looked potent in the two games Love has played in. Now they must try to shake off the rust before the playoffs start.  

  1. Golden State Warriors last week 4

The Warriors have busted out of their slump with three straight wins. The struggles of Steph Curry had made things difficult for the Warriors, but his 28 point performance on 9-of-13 shooting against the Bucks was a loud statement that he is still one of the league’s best players.

  1. Boston Celtics last week 8

Resting Isaiah Thomas over the weekend caused Boston to have a close game against the Nets, plus suffer a loss to the Sixers. If there was ever any doubt about Thomas’ value, it should be put to rest now. Overall the Celtics are 3-1 over their last four and have an important showdown Monday against the Wizards.

  1. Utah Jazz last week 5

The Jazz fell on the second night of a back-to-back against the Cavaliers as Kevin Love made a surprise return. That loss would be understandable, but they followed it up with a low-scoring loss against the Chicago Bulls. At this point the Jazz have likely had too many setbacks to catch the Rockets for the third seed.

  1. Toronto Raptors last week 9

Don’t look now, but the Raptors appear to be adjusting to playing without Kyle Lowry. Their defense has been strong since the acquisitions of Ibaka and Tucker, but now their offense is finding ways to move the ball and be effective. A blowout win over the Pacers was the exclamation mark to a 3-1 week for the dinos.

  1. Washington Wizards last week 5

The defensive slide from the Wizards since the All Star break has made things considerably tougher for them. Now the Wizards need to right the ship in a hurry, or they could lose their third seed to a Raptors team that has found its stride. Washington went 1-3 over the last week.

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder last week 12

The Thunder have been an absolute buzzsaw lately, winning five straight games including quality wins over the Spurs, Jazz, and Raptors. The team is clicking offensively to go along with their excellent defense and are roaring up the standings. That Russell Westbrook guy has also had a pretty good stretch, someone should talk about him.

  1. Memphis Grizzlies last week 10

Memphis isn’t giving the Thunder much room to relax after winning their last four games. They are just a half game back of the Thunder and are playing some great basketball. This will likely be a photo-finish out West.

  1. L.A. Clippers last week 7

The Clippers had lost three straight games before their 30 point beatdown of the Cavaliers. While they rested Paul and Griffin for their loss to the Nuggets, the team is now in danger of losing the fifth seed to the surging Thunder.

  1. Milwaukee Bucks last week 11

With an 8-2 record over their last ten games, the Bucks are one of the hottest teams in the league. They’ve moved up to seventh place in the East and if they can hold on to that positioning, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them make some noise in the playoffs.

  1. Portland Trail Blazers last week 18

Like the Bucks, the Blazers are 8-2 over their last ten games. Damian Lillard has been sensational and the team is finally living up to the amount of talent they possess. They will give the Nuggets all they can handle in the race for eight.

  1. Denver Nuggets last week 17

Denver won’t go down without a fight. The Nuggets had won four straight games before their close loss to the Rockets. Their schedule doesn’t do them any favors with back-to-back games against the Rockets and Cavaliers coming up, but their schedule gets much easier after that point.

  1. Miami Heat last week 13

The Heat have won six of their last eight games, but have suffered a big loss on the injury front with Dion Waiters going down. Waiters hopes to return before the end of the season, but his absence could hurt their shot at a playoff spot.

  1. Dallas Mavericks last week 14

The Mavericks got a quality win over the Wizards and took care of business against the Nets. However those wins served as the bread to a bad loss sandwich as the Mavs were blown out in Philadelphia by 42 points.

  1. Indiana Pacers last week 16

Last week I pointed out that the Pacers have alternated between wins and losses for the last ten games. Well, that streak is now up to thirteen games for one of the league’s most inconsistent teams.

  1. Detroit Pistons last week 10

The Pistons put an end to their three game losing streak with a win over the Suns. Detroit is still in a playoff spot, but the Heat are right on their tail.

  1. Atlanta Hawks last week 15

If it wasn’t for the hot start from Atlanta, this likely wouldn’t be a playoff team. They are ninth in point differential in the East and have lost three straight games. They have the ability to play good basketball, but they appear to be stuck in limbo.

  1. Chicago Bulls last week 20

The Bulls got a solid win over the Jazz, however Dwyane Wade is done for the season. That may be the final dagger in the heart of their playoff hopes.

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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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…

Created by Tristan Laughton | Twitter: @Ctrice

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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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