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March 3, 2011
The Shootaround
Race to Watch #4

by Bradford Doolittle

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HEADLINER

4. Last four playoff spots in the West.
In contrast to the bottom of the Eastern Conference, where a couple of sub-.500 teams battle for the right to become first-round cannon fodder, the back end of the Western Conference is choked with winning teams hoping to not only win their way into the playoffs, but also to land a decent seed. After Wednesday's games, seven teams are within six games of each other in the loss column. Let's look at them one by one:

Denver (36-26): The way the Nuggets have played since trading Carmelo Anthony has Denver fans thinking beyond merely making the bracket--they have their sights set on four-seed Oklahoma City. After blasting Charlotte by 40 points, the Nuggets have carved out a tiny buffer in the fifth slot for the time being. Working against Denver is an unbalanced schedule which sees the Nuggets on the road for 14 of their last 22 games. Denver is just 10-19 away from home. The strength of schedule (.497) isn't daunting, so that will help. Beginning with Thursday's game at Utah, the Nuggets play seven of eight games on the road, so if they are going to re-enter a precarious playoff zone, that's when it will happen. If they come out of that stretch still in the same position they are in now, the Nuggets will then point to an April 5 matchup at home against the Thunder as a last-gasp chance to move up and steal home advantage for the first round.

Portland (34-27): The Blazers eked out a win at Sacramento on Wednesday to halt a two-game mini skid. The Blazers' remaining schedule is more or less balanced (10 home, 11 away) but the quality of competition is nasty: Portland's .560 strength of finishing schedule is the most difficult slate in the NBA. By Portland standards, the Blazers are fairly healthy right now. It's a good thing.

New Orleans (35-28): Just five weeks ago, the Hornets were riding 10-game winning streak and were threatening the West's elite. Then Emeka Okafor was injured, the losses started to pile up and even with Okafor back in the lineup, New Orleans can't stop the bleeding. After losing a non-competitive game at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, the Hornets have gone 4-12 since the streak ended. The playoffs are no longer a given for Monty Williams' team. New Orleans gets 11 of 19 at home to finish the season but its future opponents have won at a .546 clip, giving the Hornets one of the tougher remaining schedules.

Memphis (34-28): The Grizzlies have gone 21-8 at FedEx Arena and play 12 of their last 20 games there to finish the season. Like some of these other West contenders, Memphis has a tough group of future opponents (.554). Working in Memphis' favor is the fact that they've underperformed against its point differential, so that could regress. Also the Grizzlies will get a shot in the arm when Rudy Gay returns from his injury.

Phoenix (31-28): Even after losing at Boston on Wednesday, the Suns are 16-8 since falling to a season-worst six games under .500. According to efficiency margin, Phoenix was the third-best team in the West for the month of February, so Alvin Gentry has his troops clicking. The remaining schedule is unremarkable, neither working for or against the Suns. What could work against them is the 2.3 games by which the Suns have outperformed their point differential. (Prorated to 82 games.) This suggests Phoenix has been playing a bit over its head.

Utah (32-29): The Jazz have gone 1-6 since Tyron Corbin took over as head coach and have lost seven of its last eight games overall. Utah also traded franchise player Deron Williams and, unlike the Nuggets with Carmelo Anthony, the Jazz haven't seen a bump in performance coming from a star player's departure. Utah has also been one of the league's luckiest teams in terms of outplaying its point differential. Regression is a bitch and it seems to be hitting the Jazz all at once. All trends point downwards.

Houston (31-32): The Rockets are still on the fringes of the race thanks to a recent 9-2 stretch, which ended with a loss to the Clippers on Wednesday. Houston has been one of the league's unluckiest teams this season and also has just seven road games remaining. The schedule (.533) isn't the easiest, but the Rockets seem primed for a late-season surge.

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LIVE AT BASKETBALL PROSPECTUS

Around the Rim: Bruins Back in Pac-10 Mix (by John Perrotto): UCLA's slow start to the season appeared to be an extension of last year's disappointing below-.500 finish. However, the Bruins have rebounded and enter the final weekend with a chance to win the last Pac-10 regular-season title. (premium)

Poll Position: Lower Seeds that Can Win (by John Gasaway): In his feature for ESPN Insider, John says teams like George Mason, Utah State, Belmont, and Butler are all capable of knocking off a higher-seeded opponent before the month is out. (premium)

Buyout Rankings: Evaluating the Free Agents (by Kevin Pelton): Tuesday night was the deadline for players to be waived in order to be eligible to compete in the postseason with a different team. We count down the best players who were waived or bought out within the last week. (premium)

The Clipboard: How Mike D'Antoni Can Make the Melo-Amar'e Combo Work (by Sebastian Pruiti): With a few tweaks, the Knicks may be able to capitalize on their new high-scoring combo that, at first glance, doesn't seem like a great fit. (premium)

Tuesday Truths: March-at-Last Edition (by John Gasaway): Notre Dame and Virginia Tech are scoring points, Gonzaga and UCLA are preventing points, and teams on the bubble are trying to earn some points. It's March, at last. (free)

Start/Sit Projections: Week of Feb. 28 (by Kevin Pelton): March comes in like a lamb for Ersan Ilyasova and Ty Lawson, but Mike Miller and Nicolas Batum will be hoping to finish the month better than they will likely start it. (premium)

Transaction Analysis: Deadline-Day Blowout (by Kevin Pelton): Breaking down all eight of the deals completed before Thursday's NBA deadline, including the Boston Celtics unexpectedly breaking up their starting lineup and the Oklahoma City Thunder making a leap toward contention. (free)

Timeline: Their Last Trade (by Dan Feldman): Most of the NBA was busy trading this week. But what about the other teams?

Live Chat: 2011 NBA Trade Deadline (by Basketball Prospectus): Join Basketball Prospectus' NBA analysts to discuss all the deals and rumors leading up to the 3 p.m. Eastern trade deadline. (free)

Transaction Analysis: Deron Williams Stunner (by Kevin Pelton): It was a busy deadline eve, headlined by Deron Williams unexpectedly going from Utah to New Jersey. Transaction Analysis breaks down who made out well and who made questionable moves. (premium)

Making a Run: Chances for Denver and Utah (by Kevin Pelton): The Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz were the sellers in this week's biggest trades. Can the remaining players still reach the Western Conference Playoffs? (premium)

Poll Position: Florida's Back (by John Gasaway): Since winning their second consecutive national championship in 2007, the Gators have gone 0-1 in NCAA tournament play. But in his feature for ESPN Insider John says this is Billy Donovan's best team since the days of Horford, Noah, and Brewer. (premium)

Follow Unfiltered, the Basketball Prospectus blog.

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HOOPS CHATS

Basketball Prospectus authors take your questions from time to time in always-popular chat format. All chats begin at 1 p.m. EST on the day listed (unless noted), but you can go in and submit a question beforehand if you like, or read the transcript after the fact.

Feb. 24: John Gasaway (TRANSCRIPT)

Feb. 3: Kevin Pelton (TRANSCRIPT)

Jan. 28: Bradford Doolittle (TRANSCRIPT)

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HOT FIVES

POWER RATING (POW)      GR (03/02/11)          WP82 -- ALL         WP82 -- ROOKIES
San Antonio Spurs, 62.3 cousins,demarcus, 37.5 james,lebron, 26.5  griffin,blake, 14.5
Boston Celtics, 59.0    horford,al, 37.0       rose,derrick, 21.4  wall,john, 4.7
Miami Heat, 56.8        young,nick, 32.5       gasol,pau, 20.3     neal,gary, 4.7
Chicago Bulls, 56.6     curry,stephen, 30.8    howard,dwight, 20.0 fields,landry, 4.6
Dallas Mavericks, 56.3  garnett,kevin, 30.4    bryant,kobe, 19.4   turner,evan, 3.4
Note: GR leaders are from previous night only.

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LEADERBOARD

LUCK FACTOR
TEAM, LUCK                        TEAM, LUCK
 1. San Antonio Spurs, 8.1        16. Chicago Bulls, -1.1
 2. Dallas Mavericks, 7.8         17. Los Angeles Lakers, -1.3
 3. Atlanta Hawks, 5.9            18. Washington Wizards, -1.5
 4. Golden State Warriors, 4.3    19. Memphis Grizzlies, -1.8
 5. Oklahoma City Thunder, 3.9    20. Los Angeles Clippers, -2.0
 6. Portland Trail Blazers, 3.7   21. Toronto Raptors, -2.2
 7. Utah Jazz, 3.7                22. Miami Heat, -2.5
 8. Charlotte Bobcats, 3.6        23. Denver Nuggets, -2.6
 9. Phoenix Suns, 2.3             24. Indiana Pacers, -2.8
10. Boston Celtics, 1.4           25. Houston Rockets, -3.1
11. New York Knicks, 0.2          26. Milwaukee Bucks, -4.6
12. New Jersey Nets, -0.1         27. Sacramento Kings, -4.9
13. Detroit Pistons, -0.4         28. Philadelphia 76ers, -5.1
14. New Orleans Hornets, -0.6     29. Orlando Magic, -5.3
15. Cleveland Cavaliers, -1.0     30. Minnesota Timberwolves, -6.1
NOTE: "LUCK" is the difference between the team's 82-game win pace
and the same pace as projected by the teams' point differential

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WEDNESDAY'S RESULTS

NOTE: Glossary is at bottom of page.

HAWKS 83, BULLS 80 (box): The Bulls scored the first 14 points of the game but collapsed in the second half, scoring just 30 points on 11-of-36 shooting, committing 10 turnovers and missing two threes (by Derrick Rose and Kyle Korver) in the final seconds while Atlanta got 31 points and 16 rebounds from Al Horford, including 22 points in the second half.

CHI (41-18).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR  ATL (37-24).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR
rose,derrick.........78%  40%  0.70  - 5 22.1  horford,al...........86%  31%  1.28  + 1 37.0
noah,joakim..........71%  17%  1.46  + 3 17.7  johnson,joe..........82%  26%  0.97  - 2 17.9
deng,luol............92%  17%  1.24  - 1 16.6  crawford,jamal.......64%  23%  1.03  +11 14.2
boozer,carlos........69%  20%  0.85  + 1  8.5  williams,marvin......62%  19%  1.01  - 1 11.6
bogans,keith.........39%   5%  4.13  - 2  7.8  wilkins,damien.......27%  16%  1.48  + 6  6.3
asik,omer............29%  15%  1.62  - 6  6.4  hinrich,kirk.........66%   8%  0.81  - 1  4.8
brewer,ronnie........33%  14%  1.32  - 5  5.4  pachulia,zaza........40%  10%  1.29  - 3  4.7
gibson,taj...........30%  20%  1.04  - 2  5.4  powell,josh..........15%  34%  0.51  - 1  2.3
korver,kyle..........37%   6%  2.99  + 2  5.1  teague,jeff..........14%  12%  0.65  + 4  1.2
watson,c.j...........22%  28%  0.26    0  1.4  collins,jason........35%   3%  0.15  - 1  0.1
scalabrine,brian.....(DNP)                     armstrong,hilton.....(DNP)  
thomas,kurt..........(DNP)                     thomas,etan..........(DNP)  
PACE: 82.9          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%  PACE: 82.9          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%
Bulls............   96.5 .459  .400 .205 .111  Hawks............  100.1 .433  .325 .157 .090

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SPURS 109, CAVALIERS 99 (box): Starting in place of the injured Tony Parker, George Hill led the Spurs with 22 points, while Samardo Samuels put up 23 points and 10 rebounds in his first career start for the Cavaliers.

SAS (50-11).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR  CLE (11-49).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR
hill,george..........69%  26%  1.20  +27 22.8  samuels,samardo......70%  26%  1.22  - 2 21.4
ginobili,manu........57%  21%  1.40  +21 20.4  gee,alonzo...........78%  16%  1.44  + 2 20.3
duncan,tim...........47%  33%  1.11  +18 19.4  sessions,ramon.......67%  25%  0.96  -17 14.5
bonner,matt..........43%  17%  2.16  + 2 16.4  harris,manny.........57%  19%  1.04  + 9 13.2
blair,dejuan.........45%  22%  1.29  +23 10.6  eyenga,christian.....34%  18%  1.82  + 3 12.0
neal,gary............63%  24%  0.80  -10 10.4  hickson,j.j..........60%  23%  0.68  -17  9.1
mcdyess,antonio......34%  10%  1.78    0  6.2  parker,anthony.......64%  13%  0.59  -27  5.3
jefferson,richard....56%  10%  1.31  +23  6.1  graham,joey..........31%  16%  0.90  + 5  5.2
quinn,chris..........34%  16%  0.44  -14  2.4  hollins,ryan.........21%  20%  0.51  - 6  1.9
anderson,james.......21%   7%  0.25  -17  0.4  harangody,luke.......17%   8%  1.03    0  1.6
splitter,tiago.......(DNP)                     davis,baron..........(DNP)  
novak,steve..........(DNP)                     gibson,daniel........(DNP)  
PACE: 94.7          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%  PACE: 94.7          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%
Spurs............  115.1 .566  .289 .180 .084  Cavaliers........  104.6 .429  .302 .137 .130

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WARRIORS 106, WIZARDS 102 (box): Stephen Curry scored 29 points as Golden State handed Washington its seventh straight loss and 16th in 18 games.

GSW (27-33).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR  WAS (15-45).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR
curry,stephen........77%  30%  1.23  - 8 30.8  young,nick...........91%  27%  1.02  - 1 32.5
ellis,monta..........65%  30%  0.86  + 1 14.6  blatche,andray.......81%  20%  1.27  - 5 26.5
wright,dorell........94%  17%  0.88  +10 11.8  howard,josh..........39%  29%  0.96  -11 15.5
lee,david............67%  13%  1.53  - 8 11.6  wall,john............81%  17%  0.94  - 7 14.3
williams,reggie......37%  23%  1.13  + 8 11.4  mcgee,javale.........37%   9%  1.41  -13  6.6
radmanovic,vladimir..30%  13%  2.31  +14  9.8  crawford,jordan......25%  24%  0.39  + 6  2.6
law,acie.............40%  14%  1.21  + 1  7.2  evans,maurice........44%  17%  0.25  + 2  2.2
udoh,epke............63%  12%  0.62  - 1  4.7  seraphin,kevin.......22%  10%  0.24  - 3  0.7
biedrins,andris......26%  20%  0.62  + 3  3.5  shakur,mustafa.......17%  14%  0.09  + 3  0.3
adrien,jeff..........(DNP)                     crawford,jordan......(DNP)  
amundson,louis.......(DNP)                     booker,trevor........(DNP)  
lin,jeremy...........(DNP)                     jianlian,yi..........(DNP)  
PACE: 100.7         ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%  PACE: 100.7         ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%
Warriors.........  105.3 .465  .326 .169 .149  Wizards..........  101.3 .427  .216 .129 .157

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CELTICS 115, SUNS 103 (box): Kevin Garnett had 28 points on 12-of-14 shooting and the Celtics dominated the boards, cruising to an easy win despite the Suns' 12-of-23 performance beyond the three-point arc.

PHX (31-28).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR  BOS (44-15).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR
brooks,aaron.........44%  25%  1.64  +13 19.0  garnett,kevin........69%  25%  1.45  +24 30.4
dudley,jared.........57%  21%  1.22  +11 15.7  rondo,rajon..........81%  13%  2.32  +26 26.4
gortat,marcin........67%  15%  1.21  + 9 13.7  allen,ray............76%  18%  1.30  + 9 17.6
hill,grant...........51%  29%  0.83  -23 13.1  pierce,paul..........75%  17%  1.22  +26 15.4
pietrus,mickael......53%  22%  0.93  + 9 11.1  davis,glen...........55%  28%  0.77  - 4 12.8
nash,steve...........56%  16%  1.29  -24 10.6  krstic,nenad.........44%  31%  0.68  +16  9.4
carter,vince.........39%  22%  1.15  -23 10.1  green,jeff...........35%  18%  0.72  - 7  4.3
warrick,hakim........47%  16%  0.82  +15  6.1  bradley,avery........19%  19%  0.33  -15  1.1
lopez,robin..........33%  27%  0.57  -20  4.6  murphy,troy..........30%  11%  0.23  -10  0.7
frye,channing........53%   8%  0.65  -27  2.4  wafer,von............16%   4%  0.98  - 5  0.6
childress,josh.......(DNP)                     johnson,chris........(DNP)  
dowdell,zabian.......(DNP)                     west,delonte.........(DNP)  
PACE: 96.7          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%  PACE: 96.7          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%
Suns.............  106.5 .506  .167 .176 .150  Celtics..........  118.9 .561  .278 .134 .155

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TIMBERWOLVES 116, PISTONS 105 (box): Kevin Love had 20 points and 20 rebounds and recently-acquired Anthony Randolph came off the bench for 19 points and 10 rebounds and the T-Wolves have now won a season-high two straight games for the fourth time this season.

MIN (15-47).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR  DET (22-41).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR
love,kevin...........71%  25%  1.24    0 20.0  daye,austin..........82%  25%  0.93  + 2 20.9
flynn,jonny..........63%  15%  1.64  +12 16.6  monroe,greg..........77%  19%  1.25  + 1 18.0
randolph,anthony.....51%  27%  1.15  +13 15.2  stuckey,rodney.......74%  15%  1.42  + 2 15.6
hayward,lazar........46%  21%  1.43  +19 14.1  hamilton,richard.....54%  21%  1.15  - 6 13.9
tolliver,anthony.....63%  13%  1.54  + 6 14.0  gordon,ben...........68%  19%  0.96  -10 11.8
johnson,wesley.......60%  20%  1.07  - 3 13.9  villanueva,charlie...47%  27%  0.91  -10  9.8
ridnour,luke.........37%  20%  1.53  - 1 12.2  wilcox,chris.........35%  17%  1.38    0  9.1
beasley,michael......42%  24%  0.69  - 5  6.7  bynum,will...........31%   9%  1.79  -18  4.7
ellington,wayne......40%  10%  1.26  +14  5.6  maxiell,jason........24%  22%  0.90  -12  4.1
pekovic,nikola.......26%  17%  0.21    0  0.9  summers,dajuan....... 9%   7%  0.00  - 4  0.0
milicic,darko........(DNP)                     mcgrady,tracy........(DNP)  
telfair,sebastian....(DNP)                     prince,tayshaun......(DNP)  
PACE: 97.4          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%  PACE: 97.4          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%
Timberwolves.....  119.1 .572  .250 .175 .167  Pistons..........  107.8 .466  .264 .133 .140

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KNICKS 107, HORNETS 88 (box): Starting in place of injured Chauncey Billups, Toney Douglas scored 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting for the Knicks.

NWO (35-28).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR  NYK (31-28).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR
jack,jarrett.........57%  29%  1.21  -14 20.7  douglas,toney........67%  23%  1.79  +13 30.0
west,david...........67%  29%  0.79  -18 16.6  stoudemire,amare.....73%  36%  0.94  +21 23.6
pondexter,quincy.....47%  23%  1.30  - 8 16.0  anthony,carmelo......61%  38%  0.96  +18 20.1
paul,chris...........75%  13%  1.29  -19 10.9  williams,shawne......57%  14%  2.20  +12 18.3
okafor,emeka.........69%  15%  0.87  - 9 10.2  fields,landry........58%  15%  1.38  + 3 11.7
ariza,trevor.........41%  14%  1.36  -13  8.5  carter,anthony.......38%  17%  1.07  + 6  5.8
green,willie.........44%  21%  0.88  - 6  8.3  mason,roger.......... 8%  23%  2.94  + 1  5.3
belinelli,marco......35%  17%  0.49  + 3  3.8  turiaf,ronny.........37%   0% 15.31  + 8  5.3
landry,carl..........34%  16%  0.65  - 5  3.2  jeffries,jared.......50%   6%  0.58  - 2  1.9
gray,aaron........... 8%  11%  1.74  - 1  1.8  williams,shelden..... 6%  16%  1.09  + 2  0.9
andersen,david....... 8%  21%  0.64  - 1  1.0  walker,bill..........36%   6%  0.00  +12  0.0
smith,jason..........14%   6%  0.00  - 4  0.0  williams,shelden.....(DNP)  
PACE: 87.0          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%  PACE: 87.0          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%
Hornets..........  101.2 .486  .200 .195 .132  Knicks...........  123.0 .610  .265 .149 .101

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THUNDER 113, PACERS 89 (box): Oklahoma City held the Pacers to 34.1 percent shooting, including a 9-of-38 performance from Indiana's starting lineup, from which only Darren Collison (11 points) reached double figures in scoring.

IND (27-33).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR  OKC (37-22).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR
hibbert,roy..........56%  21%  0.96  -23 13.1  westbrook,russell....58%  32%  1.23  +17 21.9
hansbrough,tyler.....67%  26%  0.60  -14 11.4  durant,kevin.........54%  28%  1.24  +20 19.5
collison,darren......47%  30%  0.78  -10 11.4  harden,james.........48%  35%  1.02  + 9 16.2
stephenson,lance.....42%  24%  1.08  - 1 10.3  cook,daequan.........47%  17%  1.55  + 2 12.8
george,paul..........59%  13%  1.18  -10  9.0  maynor,eric..........29%  21%  1.91  +10 11.0
jones,dahntay........38%  17%  1.42  - 1  8.5  ibaka,serge..........58%  16%  0.94  +16  9.6
granger,danny........38%  36%  0.48  -20  6.9  sefolosha,thabo......52%   9%  1.28  +24  6.8
price,a.j............27%  17%  1.44  -14  6.9  mohammed,nazr........46%  19%  0.77  +10  6.8
mcroberts,josh.......45%   6%  1.53  + 3  4.9  robinson,nate........16%  27%  1.16  - 1  4.9
rush,brandon.........50%  12%  0.67  -16  4.6  aldrich,cole.........38%   5%  1.11  + 5  2.5
foster,jeff..........23%  10%  1.24  -12  3.7  ivey,royal...........13%  13%  1.27  - 3  2.2
posey,james.......... 9%  18%  0.15  - 2  0.3  collison,nick........41%   5%  0.56  +11  1.2
PACE: 98.0          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%  PACE: 98.0          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%
Pacers...........   90.8 .360  .213 .174 .175  Thunder..........  115.3 .538  .214 .133 .153

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NUGGETS 120, BOBCATS 80 (box): Wilson Chandler's 16 points led seven Denver players in double figures as the Nuggets improved to 4-1 without Carmelo Anthony and have held three of their last four opponents to .93 points per possession or less.

CHA (26-34).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR  DEN (35-27).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR
livingston,shaun.....62%  22%  1.08  -19 16.7  lawson,ty............58%  17%  1.91  +20 19.2
carroll,matt.........55%  23%  1.25  -22 16.2  chandler,wilson......61%  26%  0.96  +25 16.6
augustin,d.j.........51%  32%  0.72  -20 11.5  smith,j.r............55%  18%  1.75  +18 15.3
jackson,stephen......50%  27%  0.58  -22  8.5  hilario,nene.........50%  25%  1.07  +25 13.6
hendersonjr,gerald...57%  18%  0.73  -21  7.8  martin,kenyon........54%  17%  1.23  +18 12.7
diaw,boris...........53%  10%  1.15  -17  6.6  andersen,chris.......28%  26%  1.49  + 1 12.3
white,d.j............41%  16%  0.85  -21  6.0  afflalo,arron........47%  18%  1.31  +23 11.6
najera,eduardo.......35%  16%  0.99  -17  5.9  felton,raymond.......51%  14%  1.56  +19 10.8
brown,kwame..........37%   9%  1.29  -12  5.0  harrington,al........31%  12%  2.47  + 8  8.5
cunningham,dante.....25%  27%  0.11  -16  0.8  forbes,gary..........28%  24%  0.84  +15  5.7
przybilla,joel.......34%  10%  0.23  -13  0.8  koufos,kosta.........14%  13%  1.29  +14  2.6
thomas,tyrus.........(DNP)                     koufos,kosta.........(DNP)  
PACE: 93.1          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%  PACE: 93.1          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%
Bobcats..........   85.9 .392  .120 .183 .109  Nuggets..........  128.9 .662  .185 .140 .128

---

TRAIL BLAZERS 107, KINGS 102 (box): The Kings got 28 points and 11 boards from DeMarcus Cousins and 26 points from Marcus Thornton--both off the bench--and shot 53.2 percent from the field yet still managed to lose, mostly due to Portland's 25-8 edge in points off turnovers.

POR (34-27).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR  SAC (15-44).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR
aldridge,lamarcus....90%  32%  0.73  + 7 21.1  cousins,demarcus.....73%  30%  1.20  + 8 37.5
batum,nicolas........92%   8%  2.37  +11 20.9  udrih,beno...........83%  20%  0.98  - 6 24.1
matthews,wesley......93%  16%  1.48  + 5 20.7  thompson,jason.......66%  10%  1.39  -11 15.8
miller,andre.........71%  25%  1.09  + 3 18.9  dalembert,samuel.....57%  14%  1.11  - 9 14.3
mills,patrick........29%  29%  1.65  + 2 14.1  taylor,jermaine......32%  34%  0.68  + 7 11.1
wallace,gerald.......68%  17%  1.20  + 8 13.3  casspi,omri..........65%   9%  0.77  - 4  7.1
camby,marcus.........45%  15%  0.93  - 5  6.4  jeter,pooh...........16%   4%  0.93  + 3  0.9
collins,jarron.......13%  22%  0.45  - 6  1.0  jackson,darnell...... 1%  71%  0.00  + 2  0.0
babbitt,luke.........(DNP)                     jeter,pooh...........(DNP)  
fernandez,rudy.......(DNP)                     jackson,darnell......(DNP)  
johnson,armon........(DNP)                     garcia,francisco.....(DNP)  
roy,brandon..........(DNP)                     head,luther..........(DNP)  
PACE: 91.9          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%  PACE: 91.9          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%
Trail Blazers....  116.4 .494  .341 .185 .120  Kings............  111.0 .563  .273 .141 .081

---

CLIPPERS 106, ROCKETS 103 (box): Chris Kaman had 21 points and nine rebounds off the bench, DeAndre Jordan had 16 rebounds to lead the Clippers' dominance off the glass and Houston's Chase Budinger missed a game-tying three at the buzzer.

HOU (31-32).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR  LAC (22-40).........PLY%  USG   PCP  +/-   GR
lowry,kyle...........73%  28%  1.39  -12 25.4  griffin,blake........72%  21%  1.33  +10 22.6
lee,courtney.........74%  20%  1.12  + 9 17.4  gordon,eric..........73%  28%  0.97  + 7 22.3
scola,luis...........76%  15%  1.05  - 1 11.8  kaman,chris..........48%  37%  1.06  - 8 16.1
dragic,goran.........27%  20%  2.06  + 9 11.8  williams,maurice.....65%  30%  1.05  +18 15.7
miller,brad..........38%  17%  2.00  + 8 10.9  jordan,deandre.......78%   9%  1.59  + 7 12.0
martin,kevin.........64%  25%  0.64  + 6 10.4  gomes,ryan...........30%   7%  2.73  +10  6.7
budinger,chase.......63%  20%  0.78  -18  9.0  foye,randy...........42%  14%  0.81  - 7  4.6
hayes,chuck..........53%  13%  0.82  -17  5.4  moon,jamario.........35%   9%  1.13  -14  3.7
hill,jordan..........12%   6%  1.92  + 1  1.6  aminu,alfarouq.......40%  12%  0.73  + 3  3.6
patterson,patrick....20%  13%  0.37    0  1.0  bledsoe,eric.........16%  10%  0.23  -11  0.3
thabeet,hasheem......(DNP)                     diogu,ike............(DNP)  
williams,terrence....(DNP)                     smith,craig..........(DNP)  
PACE: 98.5          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%  PACE: 98.5          ORTG eFG%  oRB%  TO% FTA%
Rockets..........  104.6 .489  .188 .173 .085  Clippers.........  107.6 .494  .286 .132 .121

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NEWS & MOVES

Minutiae from press releases around the league

HEAT: The Miami HEAT announced today that they have signed free agent guard Mike Bibby. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

MAGIC: The Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month for games played during February. It marks the sixth time of his career and the second time this season that Howard has earned the league's top monthly honor (November 2006, April 2006, November 2007, December 2007, October/November 2010). Howard led the Eastern Conference in rebounds per game (14.8 rpg.) and field-goal percentage (.667) and ranked second in points per game (26.6 ppg.) during the month of February.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ON TAP

Tonight in the NBA

WTC  VIS @ HOM,  GAMETIME     NBAPET LINE    OFFICIALS
+24  orl @ mia,  8:00 PM EST [ mia by  5 ]   not yet available
+ 6  den @ uta, 10:30 PM EST [ den by  1 ]   not yet available
Notes: WTC is a junk stat rating the "watchability" of a game, taking into
account the quality of the opponents and the likelihood of a close game.

Through Wednesday, 909 of 1,230 games (73.9 percent) have been played in the 2010-11 NBA regular season.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

GLOSSARY
+/- (Plus-Minus) Raw data is from official box scores from NBA.com.
GR (Game Rating) Reflects a player's Points Created total, or the portion of his team's offense for which he gets credit based on his box score line. This number is then adjusted for estimated defensive performance based on box score counterpart productivity. GR is pace-adjusted so you can compare players from game to game.
PCP (Points Created Per Possession Used) An estimate of each player's points created per possession used, a measure of offensive efficiency. The stat accounts for a player's entire box score line, not just the scoring categories.
PLY% (Play percentage) An estimate of the percentage of a team's possessions on which the player was on the court.
USG An estimate of how many of those plays a player used by shooting, going to the line or committing a turnover, with a portion the team's offensive rebound total subtracted.
TEAM STATS
PACE: Estimated possessions in the game.
ORTG: A team's points per 100 possessions.
eFG%: Team's shooting percentage with an extra half-point added for each made three-point field goal.
oRB%: Percentage of a team's misses that they retrieved off the offensive glass.
TO%: Percentage of a team's possessions resulting in a turnover.
FTA%: Percentage of a team's possessions resulting in a trip to the foul line.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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