Road rocky for these four teams

Updated: February 17, 2005, 11:11 AM ET
By Greg Anthony | ESPN Insider
In a season of surprises in the NBA, things just get more weird by the day.

The ESPN doubleheader Friday featured four teams – -- each considered a prime title contender at the beginning of the season – -- which have unexpectedly hazy postseason prospects. The Dallas Mavericks fell to the Indiana Pacers 95-94 in Indianapolis, while the Houston Rockets defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 119-113 in overtime in Minneapolis.

The Timberwolves' and Pacers' title prospects seem very distant. Instead of contending, these teams simply are competing for playoff berths in their respective conferences. Each is on the outside looking in, and neither is showing any signs of salvaging its season.

Neither the Rockets or the Mavericks are as consistent as they would prefer. But considering the Rockets are trying to come together after multiple trades and the Mavericks are recovering from a spate of injuries, I think each team will accept its current place in the Western Conference standings.

But what does the future hold?

Former NBA guard Greg Anthony covers basketball for Insider. He joined ESPN in November 2002 as a studio analyst for the network's NBA coverage. He appears on all of ESPN and ESPN2's NBA studio shows.