Blogtable: Stretch Run Storylines

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

We still have a few games to go. Give us the top three things you’ll be watching in the last couple weeks of this whacked-out season.

Steve Aschburner:

1.) I’ll be watching the injury updates and inactive reports because I don’t believe that teams dealing with significant or multiple injuries (we’re looking at you, Chicago) can just flip a switch and be postseason-ready. Unless a playoff-bound team has 3-5 games intact to ramp up for the postseason – or a very, very breezy first-round draw – this meatball season might bite them.

2.) I’ll be watching some of the NBA’s golden oldies (Nash, Kidd, Garnett, Hill, etc.) just because our time with them is short, whether they’re back next fall or not.

3.) While I have my Sixth Man, Rookie and even my Coach award votes in mind, I still have to settle on Defensive, Most Improved and MVP candidates, and especially in a 66-game season, every game counts.

Fran Blinebury:

1.) The entire Western Conference playoff race. We have San Antonio and OKC dueling for the No. 1 seed and just about everybody else seeming to be a two-game win streak or a two-game losing streak from having home-court advantage or being knocked out of the playoffs entirely;

2.) The next sequel in “Dwight & Stan’s Excellent Adventure.”

3.) Can Andrew Bynum pull his head back on straight to make the Lakers a team to be taken seriously going into the playoffs?

Scott Howard-Cooper:

1.) Derrick Rose. Bound for the playoffs with good health? Bound for a disappointing playoff exit with the Bulls world on his shoulders?

2.) What becomes of the Clippers? They were down. They got back up. Now comes a tough finishing schedule with a lot of road games and back-to-backs.

3.) The latest annual great race for West playoff positioning. Anyone who says the regular season doesn’t matter does not understand the importance of seedings.

Shaun Powell:

1.) Do the Bobcats win another game, or continue flirting with infamy?

2.) Are the Sixers really in danger of missing the playoffs after leading the division just a month ago?

3.) Do the Spurs keep resting starters or make a run at best record and homecourt in the West?

John Schuhmann:

1.) The race for seventh and eighth in the East, if the Sixers can recover from their recent collapse, if the Knicks can avoid being considered of the most underachieving teams in history, or if the Bucks can ride their post-trade momentum into the playoffs.

2.) If the Lakers can put their drama behind them, because I think they’re a legit contender if Andrew Bynum can get on the same page as Mike Brown.

3.) Derrick Rose’s health, because … well, duh.

Sekou Smith:

1.) Who wins the Western Conference crown. The Thunder appeared to have it locked up a few weeks ago only to cede the top spot to the Spurs, and their 11-game win streak, recently. Now the Spurs are resting guys and preparing for the postseason. Both sides realize how crucial home court advantage throughout the postseason is to their championship dreams.

2.) Where the Grizzlies and Celtics finish in the playoff order. They are the two most dangerous teams in the league right now, where those aforementioned playoff dreams are concerned. They can turn someone’s dreams into a nightmare under the right circumstances. Their first-round draws will have no fun dealing with either outfit.

3.) Will one, both or none of Mike D’Antoni’s former teams make the playoffs. The Knicks and Suns are both in the mix, the Knicks are in this morning and the Suns are sitting at 9th in the West. D’Antoni will be watching the playoffs from home. It’s going to be interesting to see if he is joined by one or both of his former teams or if they both find their way into the playoff mix.


  1. Karlo Garcia says:

    1) The relationship between Dwight & Stan.
    2) How long will Chicago win keep going without Rose.
    3) Andrew Bynum controversies

  2. Rich says:

    1st round upsets – Celtics, Knicks, Grizzlies and the Mavs !

  3. anonymous says:

    Bynum vs. Rondo. 30 vs. 20. Big man vs. Point Guard. Who wins? Well, which is it? Which stat is more impressive? The answer is…

    To read more go to

  4. Comte says:

    I’m sorry but Bynum already proved he could anchor Lakers last night. He is one of the only five lakers to record 30 rebounds. Kobe used to be one of my favorite players when I used to watch him with Shaquille O’neal, hell, he was great when he played with Gasol against the Celtics a few years ago. I just feel that Bynum is the new gen. Think of it.

  5. LakersRangafan2417 says:

    1. Who takes the 7/8 spots in the east and who finishes top 4 in west, can the mavs hold on to their spot, and can the suns clinch the 8 seed.
    2. who wins the MVP award, it is either Kobe or Durant in my opinion because look at the lakers since kobe has been out, and durant takes over in the 4th and has won games for the thunder. Lebron is not an MVP because he cannot play well against big teams or play well under pressure.
    3. Who is in the Finals? no clear cut team from either conference is favourite. Is it bulls, Miami or Celtics from the East?
    Is it Thunder, Spurs, Lakers, Mavericks or even Grizzlies or Clippers from the West. Also how many teams can the Grizzlies and Celtics knock off?

  6. Clips Fan says:

    1. The race for home-court in the West. I think the Spurs will finish with the 1 seed, but OKC will outlast them in the playoffs regardless. Not looking forward to Memphis beating LAC to 4th seed, but I do think the Grizzlies can make a solid run in this years playoffs.

    2. Whether LeBron comes through in the clutch. I’m a huge LBJ fan, and I really want to see him dominate the last few weeks of the season and all through the playoffs. He’s tied up MVP for mine, easily the best player in the league both in terms of statistics and impact. When he fires, Miami don’t lose, it’s as simple as that.

    3. How far Philly can move up in the East when they get out of this slump. They’re better than this, I want to know if they can earn a strong seed to set them up for a solid postseason.

    • CAVS 4EVER says:

      “when he fires”
      lol seriously,
      you mean when he fires while trying to hit. He’s already starting to get tired of Miami and you can see it in the way he plays

  7. truth says:

    Rose is overrated. He is not why the Bulls are a great team, this year or last year. (Thibodeau is.)

    LeBron totally owned him defensively last year, which was a statement, since the media gave Rose the MVP that Lebron should have had last year, much as they gave Nash the MVP that Kobe should have had back when Kobe was in the media’s doghouse.

    The Bulls don’t yet have the big-time player they need to win a championship. Great regular-season team, but that’s it.

  8. bj says:

    1. Kevin Durant is this years MVP, I doubt Rose will get it again `cause the injury and since the Bulls play good without him.
    Lebron are not a big enough factor at Miami, look at their record !! Tony Parker at Spurs ? well he is good but he does not shine as those mentioned above..

    Even though I think Miami can make it to the Final, and most including me think they have enough power, but if the Bulls share the ball and not putting everything on Rose as the clock winds down they will mos def win the Eastern Conf. With Rose injured it will be hard.

    Western , in my opinion is far more open.. Mavs can get back the feel form last play off, Lakers have Kobe, OKC can stumble on expectations, Spurs have the routine. It will be more fun than Eastern.

    And hopefully an outsider can emerge outta nowhere !!

    • I think the MVP should be Durant or Kobe. LeBron just is not clutch and disappears in the 4h quarter. And since the All-Star break his team is not up there with the Thunder or Lakers. Durant and Kobe are clutch and are 4th quarter perfomers. They both make everyone on their team better. If you take Kobe off the Lakers they probably don’t make playoff, just look at what them since Kobe has gone out with the shin injury. Plus, at age 33 Kobe is leading the league in scoring. He continues to play at such a high level and do whatever is needed to help the Lakers win. LeBron has lost to Lakers, Celtics, Thunder, Memphis, Bulls. He has a hard time beating the big teams and when he gets down in a big game he checks out, that is NOT an MVP!!!

  9. Iam waitn on the playoffs thats what iam waitin on, to see the rest of the season end, the playoffs is were we seperate the men from the boys and the contenders and pretenders theres only a few real teams in the league that have a chance to win, and we will see who is the real mvp of the playoffs and finals, isn’t thats what matters the most, nothin in the regular season means anything in the playoffs, the will and compettiveness of great players will shine in the playoffs and teams will feed off that and we will see who is the best in the league this year.

  10. Rapcity says:

    1. Can Knicks beat the Sixers for the seventh spot? Is Melo going to score like he should. Is Amare coming back after all?

    2. Lakers, are they going to finish strong or weak? Kobe Bryant, be healthy and stay healthy.

    3. Miami Heat, not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, not 6… come on Heat, the whole league thought u guys can win 72 or more games… Tough it up!! Again, i want to see whether or not they finsih the season strong or finsih with “tears in the locker room”

    Anyway, just for my own view, i wish Lakers VS Miami or OKC VS Miami in the NBA final!!

  11. nbafan says:

    lebron traveled…

  12. Robert says:

    1) What is the final seeding in the West, specifically who gets to face the Grizzlies

    2) Essentially what John Schuhmann said about will the Knicks be the biggest underachieving team in history

    3) Does Dallas get its act together and show that they are defending champs and play like they have something to prove in the last few weeks of the regular season

  13. Jasen says:

    In my opinion, I would think Kevin Durant [OKC} would be the MVP this year. Knicks won’t made it to playoffs. They were too late to rebuild theirselves into a good teams. Despites d’antony no loger in knicks, it doesn’t concern anything to the game, coz coach doesn’t play on the ground, the players do. And do you think all the players would listen to the coach’s instruction while each personality has their own way of thinking?
    At last, NBA is the best basketball entertainment in this world. Hope next year there won’t be another selfish guys trying to hold or postpone the game. Share some profit won’t make you die, coz at the end of the time, the players earns their every penny with theri sweat and hurts along the games.

  14. LOL says:

    Mike D antoni winning rings with the knicks ? Did I miss something ???

  15. Ted says:

    1.) Nobody talking bout the mavs here! Hope they can fix themselves up and get ready for a B2B!! much dismay to odoms inactiveness, but we can’t do anything bout that. oh and yeah speaking of Xfactors! (YI JIANLIANSANITY anyone!?!)

    2.) Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City’s road to the championship!!

    3.) Lebron’s clutch factor going to be put to the test again.

  16. Bulls Fan says:

    For 1. Kevin durant is by far the best player in the league as of today, and actually comes through in the clutch. and 2.. Derrick rose is the MVP. So what he missed 23 games, the bulls are still atop the conference. You dont win with just one player. The bulls clearly have enough depth to win against the best teams in the league, so i dont know why yall scared.

  17. balls says:

    Celtic Nation! KG5!

  18. Kevin NY says:

    It’s good to hear Mike D’ Antoni again. I’m glad he’s watching the playoffs soon, he was the former head coach of NY Knicks, although we had our ups and downs, I thank him for all the things he’s done for us. Hopefully the Knicks can pull through and at least be the 8th seed after the brutal loss to the Bulls.

  19. gerardo says:

    haha… it will be interesting, rose’s injury is crucial for the bull’s and the fight for playoff clinch would be very exiting

  20. scott says:

    who is Derrick Rose? Are you insane…

  21. johnnybravotravolta says:

    whos derrick rose? and how long before mike d’antoni starts winning them rings for the knicks baby

    • crankykong99 says:

      You must be insane.

      • nbafan says:

        you obviously havent watched basketball for the last 2 years now…please dont make anymore comments.

        “whos derrick rose? and how long before mike d’antoni starts winning them rings for the knicks baby”…still cant believe you said that….smh

  22. welcome back to reality says:

    i’ll definitely be watching who wins MVP.. coz if lebron loses the MVP award this year even with his season long success i’ll probably be calling the cops.. ROBBERY here!!

  23. This fan will be watching to see:

    1) If the Memphis Grizzlies can earn home-court advantage in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

    2) Which two teams out of the Sixers, Knicks and Bucks will earn the final two spots in the East?

    3) Whether Kobe Bryant’s shin will heal up and stay healthy. In this season where no team is without flaws and there isn’t a clear-cut favorite to win it all, a healthy Kobe Bryant along with a focused and engaged Andrew Bynum give the Lakers as good a chance at a Finals appearance as any other team in the Western Conference.