The best teams in the NBA win most of their games going away, but when shit gets real they have to be able to win games with clutch shots. This week’s Fanalyst Rankings analyze the clutch shooting for the best teams in the East when teams are separated by no more than 3 pts with less than 24 seconds in the 4th quarter or overtime.
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 (58-15, prev. rank: 1)
MHI: The HEAT are shooting 9-17 in the clutch this season with 4 different players knocking down shots: LeBron James, Ray Allen, Chris Bosh and Shaved Monkey Nuts (aka Shane Battier). Whether or not they need to hit game-winners this week will be dictated by who’s available from coach Erik Spoelstra’s maintenance program with Knicks, @Bobcats and Sixers (back-to-back) on the schedule. Either way, it’s a 3-0 week for the HEAT.
Mrs. NBA: DENVER BEAT CHICAGO (WAS A GIFT), BUT MIAMI HEAT'S WIN STREAK ENDED THERE. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL *breathes* LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL
2. Indiana Pacers (47-27, prev. rank: 2)
MHI: The Pacers talk tough but they don’t act tough in the clutch, shooting only 1-16. George Hill is the only 1 to make a shot (1-3) while the Pacers’ best players, David West (0-3) and Paul George (0-9), have come up way. They may need them to come through with @Clippers, Thunder and Wizards (back-to-back) on the schedule if they want to go 2-1 this week.
Mrs. NBA: Holla at me when they make it to the Eastern Conference Finals.
3. New York Knicks (46-26, prev. rank: 3)
MHI: Despite the reputation of Carmelo Anthony being a clutch shooter and J.R. Smith’s late-game heroics, the Knicks have only shot 2-9 in the clutch this season. The Knicks will need a healthy Tyson Chandler and a healthy improvement in those clutch numbers to do better than 1-3 this week with @HEAT, @Hawks (back-to-back), Bucks and @Thunder on the schedule.
Mrs. NBA: Thanks to their schedule, New York has won 8 games. Unfortunately it has gassed up FeLOLton. Miami needs to disembowel them.
4. Chicago Bulls (40-32, prev. rank: 6)
MHI: The Bulls are shooting 6-18 in the clutch this season and their best players in this area almost reads like a who’s-who of cap filler: Marco Bellinelli (2-5), Nate Robinson (2-6), Carlos Boozer (1-2) and Kirk Hinrich (1-1). The Bulls may need some clutch shooting in D.C. or Brooklyn this week to go 3-1 with @Wizards, @Nets, Magic and @Pistons on the schedule.
Mrs. NBA: Only thing good about Chicago, as of late, is their pizza. Wait. No. Not even that.
5. Brooklyn Nets (42-31, prev. rank: 4)
MHI: The Nets are shooting 5-12 in the clutch this season, thanks to Joe Johnson making 4 of his 5 game-winning shots while Deron Williams is 0-3. They may need one of their former all-star guards to come through in the clutch against the Bulls this week to go 2-1 with @Cavs, Bulls (back-to-back) and Bobcats on the schedule.
Mrs. NBA: Brooklyn got OWNED by Denver (without their PG) and Utah. They're useless.
6. Atlanta Hawks (41-33, prev. rank: 6)
MHI: The Hawks are shooting 6-8 in the clutch this season with Al Horford making 4 of 4 shots. Kyle Korver is 1-1 and Josh Smith is 0-1. The Hawks may need some clutch shooting this week against the Knicks to go 3-1 with Cavs, Knicks, Sixers and @Spurs (back-to-back) on the schedule.
Mrs. NBA: No comment
7. Boston Celtics (38-35, prev. rank: 7)
MHI: The Celtics are only shooting 6-18 in the clutch this season, but the emergence of Jeff Green (2-3 in the clutch) in recent weeks may help them turn that around as a better option than Paul Pierce (2-6) and Jason Terry (1-4). One of those 3 may need to be clutch in Minneapolis to go 3-1 this week with @Timberwolves, Pistons, Cavs and Wizards on the schedule.
Mrs. NBA: Boston still hasn't clinched their playoff spot... here's to hoping they miss it.
8. Milwaukee Bucks (35-37, prev. rank: 8)
MHI: The Bucks are shooting 4-11 in the clutch this season thanks to Monta Ellis (1-6). The Bucks may need to rely on Brandon Jennings (2-4 in the clutch) when things get tight if they want to do better than 2-2 with Bobcats, Timberwolves, @Knicks and Raptors (back-to-back) on the schedule.
Mrs. NBA: *YAWWWNNSS*