You may recall that last year HoopsAddict.com was lucky enough to take a spot on About.com’s weekly division recap panel. Both Ryan McNeill and I took turns breaking down the woes and worries of the Atlantic Division, back before the Boston Celtics were even worth talking about. Well this year HoopsAddict.com is back, shedding light on the unpredictable Southeast Division. So if it’s the youth movement taking place in Atlanta that you’re interested, or you just like relishing in the fact that the Miami Heat (appear) to have fallen off for good, then be sure to check in every week.
Recap Rewind: Things in Atlanta have taken a turn for the worse in the last week, and after sitting comfortably above .500 have slid back down. This week featured three more losses, extending their current streak of losses to four. On Wednesday the Hawks fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers, before dropping a pair against the Indiana Pacers and New Jersey Nets.
Notable News: The Hawks, after a surprising stint in second place have fallen behind the Washington Wizards in the Southeast Division race. At 15-16 it also marks the first time Atlanta has been below .500 since the middle of December… Sources in Atlanta are reporting that Josh Smith is still nursing the sore neck he suffered on Dec. 19, limiting his effectiveness but not keeping him off the court.
Fast Forward: This week the Hawks will have a chance to redeem themselves and end their skid. With three home games the Hawks will take on the same Cavs team they lost to last week, the Washington Wizards and the Chicago Bulls.
Recap Rewind: Not surprisingly, the Charlotte Bobcats dropped all three contests this week. The Cats began their most recent losing streak Wednesday against the Chicago before falling in New Jersey on Friday and against Milwaukee on Sunday.
Notable News: The only thing keeping the Bobcats from being the worst team in their division is the fact that the Miami Heat are atrocious. At 11-21 Charlotte looks to have fourth place all but locked up for the next few weeks at least… The Cats are growing frustrated in Charlotte, specifically Gerald Wallace who feels his team needs to move fast before the hump they are fighting to overcome becomes a mountain.
Fast Forward: It’s time for the Bobcats to either sink or swim this week. In fourth place with no real shot at third or fifth anytime soon, the Bobcats can do nothing but keep taking things one game at a time. Unfortunately they’ll have to do that five times this week with games against New Jersey, Boston, Cleveland, Detroit and Denver.
Recap Rewind:The Heat’s four game skid grew to seven games after yet another winless week this week. On Wednesday the team fell to the Milwaukee Bucks before coming up short against Dallas on Friday and Memphis on Sunday.
Notable News: With a record now at 8-26, the Heat sit in second-last place in the entire league and clearly last in the Southeast Division… To make matters worse for the pathetically performing Heat, a number of their key players continue to fight injuries, including Shaquille O’Neal, Dwyane Wade, Jason Williams and Dorell Wright, not to mention Alonzo Mourning who will miss the remainder of the year. The list is growing and hopes are dwindling.
Fast Forward: This week the Heat will wrap up the final three games of their five-game road trip, beginning on Tuesday in Minnesota, before heading to Milwaukee the next day. The Heat will close out the week with a game in New Orleans on Friday.
Recap Rewind: The Magic only played twice this week, but after a promising four-game win streak last week, they dropped them both. On Wednesday the team fell at home to New Jersey and on Friday, again at home, to the Houston Rockets.
Notable News: This week’s losses don’t affect much in terms of standings, but they do reflect an unfortunate trend that has developed in Orlando. It doesn’t appear that the team that started the season 14 and 3, will carry on for the remainder of the year. The Magic better turn things around before they surrender their place on top to, most likely, the Washington Wizards… The point guard position in Orlando appears to be in question as head coach Stan Van Gundy must decide whether to run with Jameer Nelson who has started 25 games this season, or Carlos Arroyo who has gotten the nod in the last four.
Fast Forward: Orlando is on the road four times this week starting on Tuesday in Sacramento. From their the Magic will head down to Los Angeles to take on the Clippers, and then back up to Denver and Utah.
Recap Rewind: The Washington Wizards dropped a Wednesday contest to the Detroit Pistons but have since won a pair – in Milwaukee on Friday and against Seattle on Sunday.
Notable News: The recent wins, combined with the struggling the Atlanta Hawks are currently facing, has helped propel the Wizards to first place in the Southeast Division… The Wizards finally got something close to resembling a point guard, and it came in the form of a healthy Antonio Daniels. Daniels has started his first three games back and chipped in with averages of 15 ppg and 5.7 apg.
Fast Forward: The Washington Wizards have a big week coming up, starting on Tuesday with a matchup against the Houston Rockets. From there the Wiz will travel to Atlanta take on the Hawks on Friday. The Wizards close out the week with a gruesome back-to-back, on Saturday and Monday, against the unstoppable Boston Celtics.
Well that’s it for this week. Be sure to head over to About.com to check out the recaps of the other five divisions.