Friday, April 15, 2005

Weekend Preview

So you didn’t believe us when we told you that the standings matter just as much as the box scores this time of year, huh? Well last night should remove all the doubt from your mind. Philadelphia and Cleveland are playing for their playoff lives right now, and so AI and LeBron had huge games last night. LeBron owners have got to be happy that Cleveland lost, as now they will have to continue playing incredibly hard over the next few games trying to fend off the Nets. Meanwhile, Dallas is stuck where they are at 4th place in the West, and so Dirk Nowitzki decided not to play last night, and no players saw over 34 minutes for the Mavericks.

Injuries aside, there are players in the league who will decide to simply stop playing at the end of the year. Some of them will use injuries as an excuse. Then, of course, there’s always guys like FBB fave Ruben “Sandwich” Patterson, who’s playing time for the next few games was answered in two words. “I’m done,” said Patterson after last night’s loss. Nice one, Ruben. Way to take one for the team. At least he’s honest.

Regardless, while a lot of teams are scrambling for playoff position, and others are scrambling for draft pick position, there are a couple of teams who could solidify their spot in the final standings this weekend, rendering a couple of their players useless next week. One team in this position is definitely the New Jersey Nets. 2 games behind Cleveland and Philadelphia for the 8 spot in the East, and 3 games in front of Orlando and the Clippers for the 13 spot in the lottery, a couple of Cavs and Sixers wins this weekend could render the rest of the Net’s schedule pointless. This could mean that Jason Kidd or Vince Carter might rest their ‘achy knees’ next week, opening up some playing time for, well … for somebody, I guess.

On the other hand, not having anything to play for as a team doesn’t mean that a lot of players don’t have anything to play for themselves. Just below the Nets in the standings, the Orlando Magic have little-to-nothing to play for as a team. But a bunch of their players have plenty of reason to wake up in the morning. Dwight Howard is still fighting for the ROY award and is trying to build a good rep in the league. Meanwhile, Steve Francis - whose rep is horrendous already - is trying to impress another team enough that they trade for him in the offseason. Just because your players’ team is out of it, it doesn’t mean your player is out of it, too.

Game of the Week(end)
Philadelphia 76ers
at Indiana Pacers
Friday, April 15 @ 8pm EST.

Playoff implications are all over the place with this game. After a leave-it-all-on-the-floor OT win over the Heat last night, now the Sixers are packing up and heading to Indianapolis to play a playoff-position-hungry Pacers squad. I’m not saying that there’s a lot going on here fantasy-wise, but it should be a pretty exciting game. And in the end, isn’t that what it’s all about?


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