THE WEEK THAT WAS:
Line Of The Week: DeMarcus Cousins put the Kings on his back with a 55/13/1/1/3 performance.
Longest Active Winning Streak: Warriors 6 in a row
Longest Active Losing Streak: Tied – Blazers, Suns and Pistons 4 in a row.
East Playoff Bubble: Hawks are holding 8th (14-15) with Bucks a game behind in W column (13-14) and Washington only a half game behind (13-15).
West Playoff Bubble: Blazers (13-18) continue to struggle with both Nuggets (12-17) and Kings (12-17) within striking distance for the 8th seed.
Tank Watch: Sixers (7-21) Brooklyn (7-21) Mavs (8-21) Suns (8-21). All these teams still have a little time left before the full ‘Hinkie’ tank (maybe not Brooklyn lol) begins but with this draft being touted as the deepest in many years, all these teams are assured of an amazing PG!
Recap: This weeks recap is devoted to ‘The Big Fundamental’ – Tim Duncan. Timmy had his jersey retired to the rafters in San Antonio on Monday in a special and unique ceremony after the Spurs win over the Pelicans. In a funny yet emotional ceremony, (summed up by Tony Parker’s “I will always look at you as the great example to follow, except for the clothing“) Duncan was farewelled by the likes of Parker, Ginobili, Pop, R.C. Buford and his Wake Forrest Coach Dave Odom. The NBA got its chance to say said goodbye to possibly the greatest Power Forward the game has seen. The Tim Duncan led Spurs have always been a difficult team to support due to a few factors, mainly because of a 70%+ win rate, notorious media shyness, and an often misconstrued style of boring and unassuming basketball. And unlike Kobe’s season long farewell tour, the NBA world got another glimpse of what made the Tim Duncan (and Pop) era so special, and so rare; an integrity driven approach to the game that we may struggle to ever witness again. Watch Pop’s tribute to Timmy – oh man the feels.
In other news, this week was mired by controversies. Nerlens Noel is looking an almost certainty to be traded after only playing 25 mins in his last 6 games. Coach Brett Brown has stated that there will be no minutes available for the big man and Noel went onto publicly rebuke the organisation for it. Boogie as per usual has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons after abusing a reporter who mentioned his brother’s altercations with the law and consequently getting fined $50k by the league. In another bemusing event Boogie was ejected after spitting out his mouth piece in the final minutes of the game. He then raced back into the game after it was ruled accidental. The Kings came out with the important win and Boogie still continues to have bragging rights over his continued beef with Meyers Leonard.
George Karl in an effort to boost sales of his upcoming book criticised Carmelo Anthony and Kenyon Martin’s immaturity during their time at the Nuggets due to the absence of a father figure in their formative years. (Melo lost his father at age 2 to cancer.) Poor form from a once highly regarded coach who it seems is struggling with the sun setting on his career. To grab headlines to sell books is not a new thing, however the hypocritical thinking here is shocking. A wealthy white coach complains about the thuggish, unmotivated ways of his formers players; instead why didn’t he help instruct and lead his young black players not only on the court, but as a wise soul help guide them off the court? What does speak volumes is the amount of players with unbridled animosity towards Karl; Ray Allen, Kendall Gill, Melo, J.R. Smith, Kenyon, Iggy and of course Demarcus Cousins. There was a reason why these players disrespected Karl and the league is now understanding why.
It seems the Lakers cannot be outdone when it comes to their greats, announcing an unveiling of a 9ft, 1200lb statue of Shaquille O’Neal outside of the Staples Centre on March 24th! This also coincided with the Heats retirement of Shaquille O’Neals #32 yesterday in Miami.
Finally Blake Griffin is set to miss between 4-6 weeks after having an arthroscopic operation to remove ‘loose bodies’ from his knee. Whilst not having a career year statistically, Griffin has been arguably the most important player for the Clips. On the flip side the Clippers have shown they can survive without him, last season going 30-15 without Griffin playing and yesterday beating the Spurs in a close game at the Staples Centre.
Bulls (14-14) @ Hornets (16-13)
Lakers (11-21) @ Magic (13-18)
Nets (7-21) @ Cavs (21-6)
Thunder (17-12) @ Celtics (17-12)
Warriors (26-4) @ Pistons (14-17)
Wizards (13-15) @ Bucks (13-14)
Rockets (22-8) @ Grizzlies (19-12)
Heat (10-20) @ Pelicans (10-21)
Kings (12-17) @ Wolves (9-19)
Hawks (14-15) @ Nuggets (12-17)
Raptors (20-8) @ Jazz (18-12)
76ers (7-21) @ Suns (8-21)
Spurs (23-6) @ Blazers (13-18)
Mavericks (8-21) @ Clippers (22-8)
#JerseyBet Competition: Giannis has been a force unleashed this season, posting career numbers in every single category. John Wall is leading the Wizards December revival by taking over the offence. Give us your Points, Rebounds, Assists for Wall OR The Greek Freak and if you guess right, you win a jersey of your choice… as long as I don’t get it right too!
Antetokounmpo: 27 PTS, 10 REB, 6 AST.
Wall: 27 PTS, 5 REB, 10 AST.
- Raptors @ Jazz – This is the game of the day for mine; an immovable object meets and unstoppable force. Led by the offensive forces of DeRozan and Lowry, the Raptors and the leagues best offence head to Salt Lake City to play the Gordy and Gobert and one of the leagues best (and slowest) defences.
- Rockets @ Grizzlies – Much like the above, two very different teams in the Rockets and Grizz. Both the Rockets and Grizzlies have been among the most surprising teams this season. Can the #1 ranked defence in the league stop Harden and co and the barrage of three-balls?
- Wizards @ Bucks – Are the Bucks and Wizards really a playoff calibre team? Xander asked this question not too long ago, and the jury for me is still out. One thing is certain though, watching Giannis and Wall go tic for tac with their ridiculously athletic games makes this a ‘DONT TELL ME THE SCORES I’M WATCHING IT ON LEAGUE PASS TONIGHT!’ game.
- Hawks @ Nuggets – If you’re anything like the sadist I am, sometimes you like to watch teams playing badly and want to know why. The Nuggets have line-up/depth related problems with Nurkic getting his 2nd DNP-CD, and the Hawks have seriously lost this November mojo caused by their poor guard play.