Monday, November 5, 2012

Week 2 NBA Fanalyst Rankings: Game-Winners Edition

It helps to have players that can knock down a winning shot when games appear closer than they should while teams figure out the kinks early in the season. This week’s edition of the Fanalyst Rankings lists the best clutch options for the best teams in the Eastern Conference going into the second week of the NBA season.

There are two sides to every NBA Power Ranking: the Fanalytical and the Fanatical. As a Miami HEAT blogger living on the east coast, MHI plays the fanalyst for the Eastern Conference. As a Denver Nuggets fan living west of the Mississippi River, Mrs. NBA plays the fan and provides the slander. The roles are reversed for the Western Conference.

1. Miami HEAT (2-1, prev. rank: 1)

MHI: The HEAT got clutch shots from Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem and LeBron James in the last 24 seconds of games they trailed by 1 to 3 points last season and they already got a clutch 4-point play from Ray Allen to beat the Denver Nuggets on the second game of a back-to-back this season. The HEAT don’t play any back-to-back games this week, but they do have a tough game in Memphis on Saturday that could come down to the last possession and result in an undefeated week. Mario Chalmers was 0-4 on clutch shots last season, so maybe he can redeem himself if the ball swings to him at the end of the game.

Mrs. NBA: Knicks beat the Heat by 20, but Miami is first!?!?! GTFOHWTBS.

2. New York Knicks (2-0, prev. rank: 6)
MHI: The Knicks actually run an offense with Jason Kidd, Ronnie Brewer and Raymond Felton in the starting lineup with Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler. Their first 2 wins over the HEAT and 76ers weren’t close, but Melo’s the man in crunch time for the Knicks. He made 5-of-8 clutch shots last season, including 3-of-5 from three-point range. If the second game of a back-to-back vs. the Sixers on Monday is close, assistant coach Michael Curry will probably draw up a play to deny Melo the ball since none of the other Knicks in the rotation hit a game-winner last season. The 76ers game is the only thing standing between the Knicks going 2-0 this week.

Mrs. NBA: Oh, look, all the portly athletes are working together and winning a few games. Aren't they special!

3. Atlanta Hawks (1-1, prev. rank: 3)
MHI: The Hawks lost their home opener by 7 points after letting James Harden go for 44 but won by 9 in Oklahoma City after Kevin Martin went for 28. The 16-point difference between Harden and Martin’s scoring is the difference in the Hawks’ season. They play 3 playoff teams this week and if any of them are close, Devin Harris is the only player with experience making shots in the clutch with Josh Smith out from a right ankle sprain. Looks like a 1-2 week for the Hawks, but they stay #3 because the Nets haven't proven anything yet.


4. Brooklyn Nets (1-0, prev. rank: 7)
MHI: The Nets got 27 points from Brook Lopez in the opener and 13 rebounds from Reggie Evans in their home opener and that’s exactly what they need to be a top-4 team in the East. Their game against the Timberwolves could be close if Gerald Wallace doesn’t return from an ankle injury. If that’s the case, the Nets will need Deron Williams or Joe Johnson to come through in the clutch or Kris Humphries to get the putback if they miss. If they come through in crunch time, the Nets should go 3-1 this week to stay a half game behind the Knicks in the Atlantic Division.

Mrs. NBA: Did you see their mascot? The Brooklyn Knight?!?! THEY NEED TO BE CONTRACTED FOR THAT SHIT!

5. Chicago Bulls (2-1, prev. rank: 2)
MHI: The Bulls lost at home to a Hornets team playing without Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon. All of their games have the potential to be close. The problem, of course, is that Luol Deng is the only active player on the roster that hit a clutch shot since Derrick Rose is out with an ACL injury. Feels like the Bulls will go 2-1 this week but 1-2 wouldn’t surprise me, either.

Mrs. NBA: Wake me up when they make the playoffs.

6. Milwaukee Bucks (2-0, prev. rank: unranked)
MHI: The Bucks blew out the Celtics to start their season and end the week at home against the Celtics on the second night of a back-to-back. The rematch should be closer and the Bucks have 3 options in the clutch: Ersan Ilyasova (made 2 clutch buckets last season), Monta Ellis or Brandon Jennings - who hit the first game-winner of his career against Kyrie Irving and the Cavs Saturday night. Fear the Deer if 1 of those 3 players comes through next week, because the Bucks will be undefeated.

Mrs. NBA: Fear the deer?? Cut me a slice of that venison.

7. Boston Celtics (1-2, prev. rank: 5)
MHI: If the Celtics struggled with the Wizards on the second night of a back-to-back, then every week with back-to-back games will be a struggle for them this season. This week, they’re in Milwaukee on the second night of a back-to-back. In the clutch they’re going to Paul Pierce (2-for-8 on clutch shots last season) or Jason Terry (4-for-11). The the luck of the Irish won’t save them against the Bucks and they’ll end the week 2-1.

Mrs. NBA: Wait, the Celtics BARELY beat the Wizards and they aren't in 8th place? CLOSET CELTICS FAN!

8. Indiana Pacers (2-1, prev. rank: 4)
MHI: Without Danny Granger, the Pacers went 1-1 in 2 close games on the road against the Raptors and Bobcats and went home to beat the Kings in double OT. They could play 4 more close games this week: @Spurs, @Hawks, @Timberwolves and then home on the second night of a back-to-back against the Wizards. The best they can hope for is that David West comes through in the clutch to go 2-2 this week.

Mrs. NBA: You really hate white people and Hoosiers, don't you?

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