It happens to every team, age, dissension, or injuries catch up to you. It has happened to the Los Angeles Lakers and The New York Yankees. First, take the Los Angeles Lakers. This team never recovered from the proposed Chris Paul trade from the beginning of the season that was quashed by NBA Commissioner David Stern. Power forward Pau Gasol was included in the package to bring Paul to the Lakers and he played like a man that was not wanted by his team this season.
When you add the inconsistent play of center Andrew Bynum, a new coach Mike Brown installing his own system, and Kobe Bryant slowing down a little you can see how the Lakers have faded from title contention. The Oklahoma City Thunder will close out the Lakers tonight in game five. This offseason is going to be interesting for the Lakers.
The New York Yankees are in a similar situation as the Lakers. This is an aging team in some key positions. Derek Jeter has got off to a hot start and is keeping the Yankees in contention but, he is on the wrong side of thirty and it is unlikely he will be able to keep up this pace for the season. Alex Rodriguez has slowed down a lot. He still able to make an occasional play in the field and hit a home run in certain situations but he is not the player he once was. Rodriguez is still owed a boat load of money and he is definitely in a decline. Also, the injury to closer Mariano Rivera is a killer for New York.
The division the Yankees play in the American League East is the best in baseball. Baltimore is in first place and although I do not think they will win the division, in the end they are good enough to be spoilers. The team I think will win the AL East are the Tampa Bay Rays. The other two teams in the division Toronto and Boston are a lot like Baltimore. They both have flaws but, in the long run but are good enough to compete with the Yankees. New York can make the playoffs, but there is little margin for error. Read more about the AL betting odds.
The Miami Heat bounced back to even their series with the Indiana Pacers 2-2. LeBron James and Dwayne Wade had monster games for Miami. They are going to have to play this way the rest of the series for Miami to advance. Power Forward Udonis Haslem came up big yesterday for the Heat and became the third scorer Miami needs to advance to the Eastern Conference finals. Forward Shane Battier has been a disappointment this season for Miami. I thought he would be the perfect complement to Wade and James. Battier showed in previous seasons that he could hit an occasional jump shot and defend the opposing team’s best small forward. He has shown little of those abilities on a consistent basis this season. Get current NBA betting odds.