Blakely's NBA Six Pack Power Rankings
BOSTON — The building blocks for what some teams hope will be a successful playoff run, are starting to settle into place with the best of the best pulling away.
And those that seemed to be on shaky ground but still in position to be in the postseason, are starting to crumble before our very eyes.
This is how it is this time of year in the NBA, which makes for a lot of competitive games down the stretch.
Even teams like the Boston Celtics who will miss out on the playoffs for the first time since 2007, have a lot to gain with a strong finish to the season.
And by no means does a strong finish equate to lots of wins.
Teams that are bad still have some qualities about them that are worthy of focusing on and just as important, building off of going forward.
For the Celtics, that would be trying to remain a competitive team whose downfall more than anything else, is their inability to finish off games in the closing minutes.
Improving in that area of their play, should be the motivation right now with the outcome being irrelevant.
The whole "play for pride" theory is way overblown, and is often used as a convenient motivation tool for bad teams.
"You really should play for pride anytime you step on the court," Boston's Brandon Bass told CSNNE.com earlier this season. "Whether you're a playoff team or not, that shouldn't matter."
And as we have seen lately, a team's desire to get into the playoffs is much, much stronger than whatever lottery-bound teams like Boston have been trying to use to remain engaged this time of year.
Look at games on Wednesday.
The New York Knicks overwhelmed the Brooklyn Nets by 19 points.
Boston was waxed by 26 points by the Washington Wizards.
Orlando lost by 21 points to a Cleveland team that's just two games out of the eighth and final playoff spot.
And Philadelphia, this season's favorite punching bag for teams, was destroyed by 30 points by Charlotte in the Bobcats' quest to improve their playoff position.
It's the end-of-the-season in the NBA, where big wins and blowouts become the norm.
And with that, here's this week's power rankings: