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Old 01-12-2008, 03:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
LX
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I think we'll finish 3rd, or struggle to get the last seed, depending on how things pan out at the pg spot, and with Bargnani.

The defense has irrefutably improved this year, but with TJ gone right now, and Bargnani seemingly finding it hard to commit to playing at the 5, maybe they scrap their defensive gains thus far, grab a pg who can add to the offense, and win through the softer part of the schedule by scoring alone, and playing good enough on defense, similar to last season. I can't see that happening, but it might be necessary.

I think the biggest thing to look out for is how effective TJ is when he returns, on both ends of the court. If he can't return to the kind of form he displayed before being hit, then that will probably throw the whole balance off yet again, and keep them at around .500. But if he does fully recover his form, then he'll act as quite a leader in terms of bringing the right kind of intensity every game and ignite the team to a pretty strong record. I like how guys like Parker and Calderon have picked up the reigns of leadership a little more lately. Ultimately, the challenges of the past month, could really help this team peak at the right time.

And really - December could have been much worse. It looked like it was going to go better than expected before the hit on TJ, but then at that point it was up in the air. And with the resultant difficulty of hitting shots, they did well to stay in enough games to survive a difficult month. Now let's see if they can get on something of a roll.
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