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Friday, April 04, 2008

NBA Leaderboard, Part XX

The Celtics will not reach the 70 win plateau but if they run the table they will match Dallas' win total from last season (67). LeBron James and Dwight Howard are cruising to the scoring and rebounding crowns respectively but the assists crown looks like it will go down to the wire.

Best Five Records
-------------------

1) Boston Celtics, 60-15--clinched playoff berth
2) Detroit Pistons, 53-21--clinched playoff berth
3) New Orleans Hornets, 52-22
4) San Antonio Spurs, 52-23
5) L.A. Lakers, 51-24

With seven games to go, three teams--New Orleans, San Antonio and the L.A. Lakers--are within a game and a half of each other in the battle for first place in the Western Conference, with Phoenix and Houston just one game behind the Lakers and Utah a half game further back. While the West teams are battling it out, East leaders Boston and Detroit are tinkering with their lineups and trying to fend off boredom. "Rust versus rest" is an often debated topic in many sports and this year's playoffs could provide some interesting evidence to support one theory or the other: will the well rested Eastern leaders roll through the playoffs or will the fact that they clinched their playoff positions so early cause them to be rusty? It will also be interesting to see if the eventual Western champion proves to be a battle-tested juggernaut that wins the Finals or a war-weary team that falls prey to the Eastern champion.

Top Ten Scorers (and a few other notables)
------------------

1) LeBron James, CLE 30.4 ppg
2) Kobe Bryant, LAL 28.7 ppg
3) Allen Iverson, DEN 26.5 ppg
4) Carmelo Anthony, DEN 25.5 ppg
5) Amare Stoudemire, PHX 25.1 ppg
6) Kevin Martin, SAC 23.5 ppg
7) Dirk Nowitzki, DAL 23.5 ppg
8) Michael Redd, MIL 23.2 ppg
9) Richard Jefferson, NJN 22.8 ppg
10) Corey Maggette, LAC 22.5 ppg

13) Tracy McGrady, HOU 22.0 ppg

14) Chris Paul, NOH 21.4 ppg

28) Kevin Durant, SEA 20.0 ppg

30) Paul Pierce, BOS 19.9 ppg

38) Kevin Garnett, BOS 18.9 ppg

41) Ray Allen, BOS 18.0 ppg

Kobe Bryant outscored LeBron James 31.5 ppg to 31.1 ppg in March but that will prove to be too little too late for Bryant to claim his third straight scoring title; barring a total collapse by James, Bryant would have to average more than 50 ppg in the season's final games to catch him.

Kevin Martin has now met the minimum requirements and thus he joined the leaderboard in sixth place.

If Denver does not make the playoffs then six of the league's top ten scorers will not participate in the postseason.

Kevin Durant averaged 21.8 ppg on .526 field goal shooting in March.

Top Ten Rebounders (and a few other notables)
----------------------

1) Dwight Howard, ORL 14.5 rpg
2) Marcus Camby, DEN 13.3 rpg
3) Tyson Chandler, NOH 12.0 rpg
4) Tim Duncan, SAS 11.5 rpg
5) Al Jefferson, MIN 11.2 rpg
6) Carlos Boozer, UTA 10.7 rpg
7) Emeka Okafor, CHA 10.6 rpg
8) Lamar Odom, LAL 10.6 rpg
9) Sam Dalembert, PHI 10.3 rpg
10) Antawn Jamison, WAS 10.2 rpg
11) Al Horford, ATL 9.7 rpg

16) Amare Stoudemire, PHX 9.3 rpg

22) Dirk Nowitzki, DAL 8.7 rpg

24) Ben Wallace, CLE/CHI 8.6 rpg

28) LeBron James, CLE 8.0 rpg

30) Jason Kidd, DAL/NJN 7.6 rpg

Marcus Camby would have to average well over 20 rpg the rest of the way to catch Dwight Howard, who is about to become the youngest rebounding champion in NBA history.

Tim Duncan spent the first part of the season out of the top ten but he has quietly moved all the way up to fourth place. Sam Dalembert of the surging Sixers averaged 11.1 rpg in March, good enough to boost him into ninth place.

Al Horford has spent most of the season just below the 10 rpg mark and just outside of the top ten.

Top Ten Playmakers
----------------------

1) Chris Paul, NOH 11.4 apg
2) Steve Nash, PHX 11.2 apg
3) Deron Williams, UTA 10.5 apg
4) Jason Kidd, DAL/NJN 10.2 apg
5) Jose Calderon, TOR 8.3 apg
6) Baron Davis, GSW 7.8 apg
7) LeBron James, CLE 7.6 apg
8) Allen Iverson, DEN 7.2 apg
9) Raymond Felton, CHA 7.2 apg
10) Chauncey Billups, DET 7.1 apg

Chris Paul had been gaining ground on Steve Nash for quite some time and this week Paul took over the top spot. Paul averaged 13.3 apg in March compared to 9.9 apg for Nash but Nash had 18 assists in his first game in April and the race is still too close to call.

Note: All statistics are from ESPN.com

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posted by David Friedman @ 8:32 AM

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