Here’s a barometer to gauge the difference in the atmosphere in the NBA and the ABA, er, I mean the West and the East.
After three losses, the Nuggets are sitting ninth, half-a-game behind Golden State for the last playoff spot in the West. After three losses, the Hornets are no longer perched atop their conference. Instead, they’ve dropped down to fifth and could conceivably end up going to play in Utah‘s basketball cathedral, where the Jazz are 24-3 this season.
The Hornets are taking a full step closer to the panic button as a result. “I don’t know if the guys realize that by the time the week’s over, we could be in seventh,” said Byron Scott.
On the other hand, the Wizards have lost ten out of their last thirteen games, but don’t have too many worries as the six seed in the East. Eddie Jordan nearly wet himself after DeShawn Stevenson went off for 33 points against New Orleans last night.
“He’s had some ailments but he just comes out every day,” Jordan said of Stevenson. “He’s a warrior, man, a true warrior. His confidence is growing — he’s making threes — he’s just a true pro. This is a man’s league and he is man. In the dictionary next to that word there is a picture of DeShawn Stevenson.”
Sure the Hawks are 22-32, but as the ninth team in the East, things are looking up. Even after they fell to the Jazz 100-94 on Saturday, no one in Atlanta’s locker room hung their head.
“I think anyone paying attention can see that we’re coming together,” said Josh Smith. “Mike‘s made us a much better team. With his ability to stretch the defense with his outside shot and then dive into that defense and create for everybody else … I think when we get back home things will really start coming together for us. You’ll see.”
The 89-74 loss to San Antonio last night wasn’t quite as “together” as J-Smoove hoped, but they were going up against the West. As Smith said, it’ll be different when they get back East.