Volume 95, Issue 30

Thursday, October 25, 2001
 
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SPORTS

Dinosaurs scintillating in East

Western's Donato a survivor

Mustangs host Waterloo

Dinosaurs scintillating in East

Vince and company leave hockey in dust



By Jordan Bell
Gazette Staff


Micheal Jordan's back, the Raptors are stacked and the Clippers may actually rise from the dead.

As The Gazette's self-proclaimed basketball guru, I have peered into my crystal basketball and have the skinny on all 29 teams vying for the NBA crown.

To spice things up, I have also included my all-star picks for the East and West Conferences.



ATLANTIC:

The Atlantic division is easily the most heated division in the league.

Every squad has the potential to snag a playoff spot – even the lowly Washington Wizards who will sit back and watch as Michael Jordan puts on a nightly clinic.

The Philadelphia '76ers are still the dominant team in the division though.

Allen Iverson finds ways to score, Dikembe Mutombo is a wall inside and the role-players take care of the small intangibles that turn good teams into great teams.

But, can the 76ers continue to rely on the oft-injured Iverson to carry such a heavy burden?

The Orlando Magic appear to be potential front-runners, but a battle of egos between Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady may undermine the Magic's season.

The New Jersey Nets' Keith Van Horn and Kenyon Martin must be the two happiest players in the league. These budding talents will finally be pushed to the limit when Jason Kidd turns them into the players they couldn't be with Stephon Marbury around.

As for the rest of the Atlantic, the New York Knicks will be a middle of the road team with Latrell Sprewell and Allan Houston vying for the starring role and Marcus Camby providing strong play inside.

The Celtics are a team on the rise and will win more games with Jim O'Brien holding the reins. Yet despite the coaching change, the Celtics still rely far too much on a long bomb, high-risk offence to succeed.

The Miami Heat can't compete with their aged lineup and Alonzo Mourning will never be the same player he once was. And bad news for the Wizards – Jordan is good, but not that good.

Sorry Washington.



CENTRAL:

The Central is a guard-friendly division.

Big men are hard to come by and for this reason the Toronto Raptors are the favourite claim the division. This isn't just Canadian nationalism talking – the Raptors front-court is far too strong for any of their Central division competition.

Newly-acquired Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon won't fill the highlight reel or the stat sheet, but he doesn't have to. His presence in the middle is sufficient – "Vinsanity" will do the rest.

The Milwaukee Bucks are tough because of their threesome of Sam Cassell, Ray Allen and Glenn Robinson. Anthony Mason, who is expected to sign today, could improve their brutal front line.

The Atlanta Hawks will open some eyes this season with the addition of Shareef Abdur-Rahim, the emergence of Jason Terry and the return of injury-riddled Theo Ratliff.

The Charlotte Hornets line-up is big and bruising, but I have this strange hunch the Hornets won't be able to repeat last year's success. Jamal Mashburn was scintillating last year, but I don't see him doing it again and it's no secret Derek Coleman is a loose cannon.

To polish off the Central: the Pistons will live and die with Jerry Stackhouse, the Pacers are young and need some grooming and the Cavaliers and Bulls will remain cellar-dwellers.

*Check out the wild West in next Thursday's edition.


To Contact The Sports Department:
gazette.sports@uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 2001