HoopsAddict.com’s Southeast Division – Jan. 16

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.

ATLANTA HAWKS

Recap Rewind: The Atlanta Hawks corrected a four-game losing skid this week, winning two and dropping another. The Hawks’ fortune began to turn on Wednesday when, at home, they defeated LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Hawks followed up the win with a loss to the surging Washington Wizards. Atlanta wrapped up the week with a win over the Chicago Bulls.

Notable News: For a minute it looked as though the Hawks could give the Orlando Magic a run for first place in Southeast Division, but appear to have lost out to the Washington Wizards. Currently, at 16-17, the Hawks sit in third place in the division but, surprisingly, still playoff bound… Rookie Al Horford is starting to heat up again after a couple weeks of average performances, on the week Horford averaged just under 15 rebounds per game, including a career high on Friday.

Fast Forward: This week the Hawks will fight to get back above .500 with games against Denver, Toronto, Milwaukee and Portland before heading off on a five game west coast trip the following week.

Recap Rewind: The Charlotte Bobcats won two and lost three this week which does little for their hopes of jumping out of the cellar, but the week overall should be considered a step in the right direction. The Cats started the week with wins over New Jersey and, surprisingly enough, the Boston Celtics in Boston. Unfortunately from there the team would go on to drop two overtime contests on Friday and Saturday. The Bobcats finished the week with a win over the Denver Nuggets on Monday.
Notable News: At 14-23, Charlotte sits in fourth place in the Southeast Division. If the Cats can transfer some of their momentum this week to the weeks forthcoming, they may be able to surpass the Atlanta Hawks who seem to have cooled off in third… Gerald Wallace has performed well for the Cats while logging some heavy minutes, 46 per game. Wallace responded Monday night with a career-high 40 points.
Fast Forward: The Bobcats will have their work cut out for them if they hope to build on last week’s success. On Wednesday the Cats will face the Orlando Magic before heading out to take on the New Orleans Hornets. Charlotte will finish the week with matchups against San Antonio and Memphis.MIAMI HEATRecap Rewind: Nothing, I repeat, nothing is going right for the Miami Heat. This week Dwyane Wade cringed as his team dropped another three, bringing their losing streak to a league-high ten games. What’s worse? The losses came to opponents like the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Milwaukee Bucks. We’ll try not to blame them for their most recent loss in New Orleans.

Notable News: With a record of 8-22 the Miami Heat are below and beyond any of their Southeast Division opponents, comfortably in last place. Now only the Minnesota Timberwolves sit below the Heat and the absolute bottom of the entire NBA… The Heat did win something this week, however, when they were granted the first official re-do since the 1982-1983 season. In a game in Atlanta on Dec. 19, Hawks’ scorekeepers incorrectly reported that Heat center Shaquille O’Neal had six fouls. As a result O’Neal was ejected from the tight game with just over 50 seconds remaining. What would later unfold is that the foul Shaq committed late in the game was only his fifth. The re-do will take place before the next meeting between the two teams in March.

Fast Forward: This week the Heat will look for anything they can get. The Heat start their quest Wednesday night against the Chicago Bulls before matching up against Portland, New York and Cleveland, all of which will take place at home.

ORLANDO MAGIC

Recap Rewind: Another disappointing week for the once-promising Orlando Magic. This week the Magic lost three and won just once over the course of a four-game road trip. This week the Magic fell to Sacramento on Tuesday, defeated the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, and lost to the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz on Friday and Saturday respectively.

Notable News: Well the Orlando Magic are still in first place in the Southeast Division, but if you ask anybody who the team to beat is, that would likely be the boys in Washington. At 23-16 the Magic hold a game and a half lead over the Wizards… At least Dwight Howard continues to look like a shoo-in for the Eastern Conference All-Star team starting lineup this February. After a month’s-worth of voting the Howard has more than double the votes of the second place Shaquille O’Neal.

Fast Forward: This week the Magic will look to take on a number of decent opponents beginning on Tuesday against the Chicago Bulls, from there Orlando will head to Charlotte for a game against the Bobcats before heading back home for a pair of games against Portland and Detroit on Saturday and Monday.

Recap Rewind: The Wizards started this week with a loss to the disappointing Rockets and a close win over the struggling Atlanta Hawks, but it can still be considered one of the best weeks by any team in the league so far this season. The reason being, the still-Gilbert Arenas-less Wizards took down the legendary Boston Celtics, not once, but twice, on Saturday – in Boston – and at home on Monday.
Notable News: With a record of 20-16 the Wizards have snuck up on the first place Orlando Magic in the Southeast Division. Washington now sits two and a half games ahead of the Atlanta Hawks who they were tied with just weeks ago… Gilbert Arenas announced Monday that he has chosen to opt out of his contract at the end of the 2007-08 season. Arenas has stated publicly, in his blog no less, that his decision to opt out is in an attempt to garner a bigger contract come this free agent period and that he has no intention of leaving Washington.
Fast Forward: After a grueling back-to-back with the league’s best team the Wizards will take on one of its worst, again in a back-to-back. On Tuesday and Friday the Wiz will face the New York Knicks before ending the week at home against the Dallas Mavericks.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.

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