Oct 19, 2010, 10:24 AM EDT
Preseason games are not irrelevant. A team’s record in them can have some correlation to the regular season.
Not so much with the elite teams — nobody thinks Boston is any better at 6-1 in the preseason, nobody is reading much into the Lakers being 2-3. Come deep in the playoffs those teams will still be around.
But there is correlation with lesser teams. In the last five years, teams with a .500 record or better made the playoffs 65 percent of the time, as John Schuhmann pointed out at NBA.com.
So watch out for Minnesota (5-1) and Memphis (7-0).
The Grizzlies almost made the playoffs but most pundits — PBT included — expect the team to take a small step back this season. But maybe they are ready for another step forward. Minnesota is a team that has added some depth over the last couple years, even if they lack the star power most think they need. But maybe that depth and some scoring from Kevin Love, Michael Beasley and Martell Webster will be enough.
Other teams with a hot start are Utah (6-0, but we expect them to be good every season), Houston (4-2 and showing with Yao they may be back) and Cleveland (4-2, trying to prove that LeBron’s supporting cast was better than we thought, and a playoff trip would do just that).
Also, Orlando is 6-0, they are now 19-0 in their last preseason games, but that goes back to us not really learning about elite teams in preseason.
The others are just a few teams to watch when the games really matter starting next week. A few will not live up to expectations, but a couple of those teams may surprise.
- Monta Ellis, J.J. Barea pairing ignites Mavericks offense, gets Dallas Game 4 win over Houston 0
- Wizards blow out Raptors to complete first-round sweep 12
- Chris Paul scores 34 points, Clippers win Game 4 to even series with Spurs 6
- Cavaliers advance to second round – but but maybe lose Kevin Love and moral high ground in process 52
- Mike Conley out for Game 4 with “serious” facial injury, no timetable for return 6
- Grizzlies start fast, hang on to beat Portland, take 3-0 series lead 2
- Bucks outwork Bulls, stay alive on Jerryd Bayless game-winner 6
- Nets use 18-0 second-half run to secure Game 3 victory over Hawks 6