Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Cavalry

Imagine starting out on a long and challenging journey and realizing shortly after you left that you weren't going to make it.

You've gone too far to turn back but not nearly far enough to reach your destination. You're running out of food and supplies and know that the end is near.

It is just a matter of time.

As you lie there waiting for the end to arrive and wondering how you got yourself into this awful situation, you hear something in the distance.

Weak and barely alive, you look up just long enough to see men on horseback coming to your rescue. They arrive and give you the food, supplies and the manpower you need to survive trip.

It would be quite a relief.

Although all of the teams which have suffered through injuries this season aren't in a situation as desperate as this, some are.

And fortunately, the cavalry has either arrived or is on the way.


Carlos Boozer missed the first month of the season with a broken hand.

Chicago suffered two blowout losses to Orlando and Boston as he worked himself into the lineup but has won four in a row since, with impressive wins over Oklahoma City and the Lakers.

Chicago should only get better as Boozer, Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose play more games together.

They currently sit at fourth place in the East.


Los Angeles started the season strongly, but slowly, the absence of Andrew Bynum is starting to catch up to them.

Bynum practiced fully this week for the first time and appears to be on track to return next week.

It doesn't take many words to describe the impact his return will have on the team. We've all been watching Los Angeles during championship runs over the past three seasons and know how important he is to the team.


Miami has been on a roll since Mario Chalmers (ankle) made his way back into the rotation.

He still looks to be limping at times, but his impact cannot be denied.

Miami's offense has a much better flow to it thanks to his contagious passing, which makes the team highly-entertaining now and fun to watch. has one of the greatest advanced statistics of all time. It breaks down turnovers by type and focuses in on what it calls the "Assist/Bad Pass" ratio.

This helps identify the most accurate passers by eliminating all other turnovers from consideration and only looking at the turnovers a player makes while passing the basketball.

As of the time of this post, Chalmers averages 10 assists for every passing turnover he makes.

Compare that to Chris Paul (7.7), Deron Williams (6) and Steve Nash (5.1).


This is a team which simply can't catch a break.

After waiting nearly a month for Baron Davis and Chris Kaman to return and racking up the worst record in the association in the process, both players returned in early December.

And what happened?

It turns out Kaman's ankle wasn't quite ready yet, and Davis started struggling with a hamstring problem, a different injury than the knee which kept him out for so long.

Davis has continued to play, but Kaman will be out for at least three more weeks.

The cavalry may not arrive in time to save the Clippers this season.


The only team which has suffered more with injuries than the Clippers is the Minnesota Timberwolves.

It got so bad for them that at one point they were down five players (Jonny Flynn, Luke Ridnour, Martell Webster, Nikola Pekovic, Wayne Ellington) in a game at Charlotte, a game which they almost won.

Flynn (hip) and Webster have both been cleared to play their first games this season, and Pekovic returned last week to solidify the big man rotation.

Flynn has been rehabbing by playing a few games in the development league while Kurt Rambis is waiting to get Webster some good practice time before putting him back in the lineup.

Flynn and Webster are both major, impact players for Minnesota.

Webster had an outstanding preseason and had Minnesota looking like one of the most improved teams in the league before he had to have back surgery and miss the start of the season.

And Jonny Flynn is one of the most gifted, young point guards in the NBA.

David Kahn may not have made the right decision in drafting him ahead of Stephen Curry and Brandon Jennings, but he certainly didn't make the wrong one either.

Minnesota looks to be on their way back.


Golden State has lost six games in a row, but all were against playoff teams from last year and some of the best teams in the NBA so far this season.

The team had gotten so razor thin up front that Vladimir Radmanovic started a few games at power forward.

David Lee returned from his elbow injury seven games ago, and Ekpe Udoh made his season debut last night against Miami. Louis Amundson returned recently as well to help shore up the depth at power forward.

Acie Law was a nice addition and will help fill the void while Stephen Curry recovers from his ankle injury and help when Curry comes back.

The schedule starts to lighten up a bit, and Golden State could finish the season in a good way assuming they can remain healthy and assuming Keith Smart utilizes all of the talent he has on this roster.

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