THE WEEK THAT WAS:
Line Of The Week: Marc Gasol 42/7/2/1/2
Longest Active Winning Streak: Spurs and Heat with 5 in a row.
Longest Active Losing Streak: Raptors on a skid without DD, losing 5 in a row.
East Playoff Bubble: Same as last week; there is only 1.5 games separating 6th and 10th with Charlotte, Indy, Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit battling it out.
West Playoff Bubble: Denver, Portland, Sacramento and New Orleans all within one game to take the 8th seed. Unfortunately the way that all four teams are playing means they would be bounced out of the first round in four games.
Tank Watch: Brooklyn. With Miami, Phoenix and 76ers all on a tear, they are clear last at 9-36. Boston fans are eagerly licking their lips.
Sat – Durant 32/4/7/2/2
Sun – CJ McCollum 35/2/3/3
Mon – Eric Bledsoe 40/6/13
Tues – Dion Waiters 33/5/4
Wed – Andrew Wiggins 31/6/3/2 (and game winner)
Thurs – Boogie Cousins 28/11/9/3/1
Fri – Nikola Jokic 29/14/9/1/2
The Cavs hit a rough spot after their loss to the Pels, losing 5 of their last 7. And what is seemingly becoming a trend, Lebron James voiced his displeasure to Cavs local beat writers at what he perceives as a lack of commitment from the franchise:
“It’s like when you don’t have bodies, it’s tough,” James said. “The f—— grind of the regular season. We’re a top-heavy team. We have a top-heavy team. We top-heavy as s—. It’s me, Kyrie, Love. It’s top-heavy.”
“We need a f—— playmaker,” James said. “I’m not saying you can just go find one, like you can go outside and see trees. I didn’t say that.
Then there was the loss to the Kings, at home. The King would not be drawn into his profane comments after the Pelicans loss. Yet continuing on the trend from last season, Love’s name was yet again included in trade rumors, for one Carmelo Anthony.
Yesterday Woj and Mannix wrote that the Knicks have reached out to the Celtics, Clippers and Knicks, with the hope that Melo will eventually waive his no trade clause. But it seems Melo’s currency has taken a large hit this season. He has been vocal about his lack of touches and exclusion from drawn plays at the end of games.
Melo has $54m and another two years left on his contract, including a player option on the final year, as well as a 15% trade kicker. This season he was to lead the Knicks on a deep playoff push, with help from Porzingis, Rose and Noah. However it’s now the end of January, the Knicks are two games behind the 8th seed, (3-7 over the last ten), Noah’s contract is quickly looking like an albatross and Courtney Lee has been replaced in the starting lineup by Ron
Burgandy Baker. Porzi is set to be the new face of the franchise and it seems Jackson is resolved to moving Melo, so he doesn’t get in the way of that. Could a change of scenery bring peak Melo back?
Kings (18-27) @ Pacers (23-22)
Nets (9-36) @ Cavs (30-14)
Magic (18-29) @ Celtics (27-18)
Bucks (21-24) @ Raptors (28-18)
Hornets (23-23) @ Knicks (20-27)
Rockets (34-15) @ 76ers (17-27)
Heat (16-30) @ Bulls (23-24)
Spurs (36-9) @ Pelicans (18-28)
Wizards (25-20) @ Hawks (27-19)
Grizz (27-20) @ Blazers (20-27)
#JerseyBet Competition: The battle of the underrated (and All-Star snubbed) Point Guards, Conley and Lillard. Pick ONE of Conley or Lillard and if you guess their points, rebounds and assists stat lines correctly, you win an NBA jersey of your choice. The catch is if I get either of them right, I win! My guesses are below:
- Kings @ Pacers – Boogie vs. PG13. These two are stars of the league, yet both are playing in broken systems. Both are continually in discussions for potential trades (But not if Larry Bird gets his way). Both are battling to keep their sides in playoff contention. Should be a fun duel.
- Heat @ Bulls– Have Miami still not got the message that the tank should well and truly be under way?! They have won five straight beating – wait for it – the Rockets, Mavericks, Bucks, Warriors and the Nets. The Bulls however are battling for the 8th seed in the East, and have been continually playing up and down basketball, unable to refind their form from the start of the season. It’s a big game for both squads and for Wade’s second re-match.
- Rockets @ 76ers – Speaking of teams that should be losing that are not. The 76ers are on a tear! Going 8-2 in the last ten! Led by Jo Jo, with some great back up play from Saric and McConnell, this game against the proven Rockets will be a real test of their new found momentum.
- Wizards @ Hawks – Finally the two playoff smokey’s from the East. At one point or another this season, these teams were both considered potential lottery bound teams. However, with Millsap’s name now out of trade discussion and John Wall playing some seriously good ball, these two teams will put up a battle, especially since the 4th seed is on the line.