Good Week/Bad Week – 18/1/13

It’s been another week of highs and lows around the NBA. We’ve had another LeBron Milestone, and the Suns parting ways with Alvin Gentry. We’ve had All-Star announcements. And, for UK fans, we’ve had NBA London spreading the popularity of the game this side of the pond.

We take a look at this week’s winners and losers…

Good Week

Pelican_lakes_entrance02

New Orleans Hornets

With the Nets continuing to impress under P.J. Carlesimo, this was a close cal. But for sheer resilience, we’ve gone for the resurgent men from the Big Easy.

After an embarrassing start to the season, the soon-to be Pelicans (see what we did there?) have looked like a different team of late. The return of Eric Gordon has definitely helped, and Anthony Davis is finally starting to put some decent time together on the court. The most impressive thing, however, has been the strength of the opposition faced.

In the last 10 days, New Orleans have beaten the Spurs, the Rockets, the T-Wolves, the 76ers and most recently the Celtics, only falling to the New York Knicks. For a team that made the Wizards and Raptors look good, it’s been nothing short of miraculous.

OK, so it’s probably too little too late. They’re still fighting it out at the bottom of the West, and they’re almost certainly going to miss out on the playoffs. But hey, they deserve some recognition. Also, possibly some pity.

We apologise to Pelicans everywhere…

Honourable mentions: Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers, LeBron

Bad Week

Rockets

.Houston Rockets

From a bad team currently playing well , we go to a good team doing the complete opposite. Just where has it all gone wrong for the Rockets?

After winning five in a row, Kevin McHale’s have found themselves on the receiving end of a season-high four game losing streak. To make matters worse, they face the impressive Indiana Pacers tonight to start a four game road trip. Although their record at the Toyota Center is quite comfortable (14-7), their record on the road leaves a lot to be desired (7-11). To put it simply, they’re a very different team outside of Texas.

With James Harden and his fetching facial fur having a career year, and with their defense continuing to improve, it’s definitely not time to panic for Houston. They just need get some of that belief back that was so evident in December, and learn to play as a team as effectively as possible.

To Linfinity, and beyond…

Honourable mentions: Charlotte Bobcats (shocker), Minnesota Timberwolves (actually a shocker), Detroit Pistons (2 words: Jet. Lag.), Alvin Gentry.

Melo Melee

Melo

Often seen as one of the great rivalries of the NBA, Celtics Vs. Kicks is always a game that can get a little heated. And, unfortunately for Mike Woodson and the New York Knicks, last night was no different.

The Knickerbockers lost to the Celtics 102-96 last night, but it was the action after the game that made the headlines. The Melo-drama all came down to two players. One was Kevin Garnett… You can probably guess the other one.

Following an altercation in the fourth quarter (which resulted in both men receiving technical’s) and as the game finished, Anthony was seen walking down the away tunnel at Madison Square Guardian, heading for the Celtics locker room. After some screaming and shouting, Carmelo waited for Garnett outside the team bus. Security (and coach Mike Woodson) quickly intervened.

Melo & KG

OK, so the ‘melee’ we mentioned was maybe exaggerating a little. No punches were thrown, no fight was fought. The true damage caused by the incident is further beneath the surface. Chiefly, it’s highlighted a few things about the current state of the New York Knicks that they might not be too pleased about.

Carmelo Anthony is supposed to be the leader of this franchise, and a serious contender for this season’s MVP. Last night, he acted more like a playground bully trying to act tough. He had a tough night, shooting only 6 of 26, but come on. What did he even have to gain from the incident?

After a going 10-0 at home at the start of the season, Anthony and company are now 3-4 in their last 7 at MSG. Teams are no longer scared to come there, instead thinking that they can get a result. And, if they can antagonise Carmelo during the game, all the better.

If he really wants to be considered a serious contender in the race for MVP, he needs to put the petulance to one side, and start leading this team. If he doesn’t, it may just be another disappointing season in New York.

So stay Mellow Melo (no more puns, we promise…)

Good Week/Bad Week – 3/1/13

The turkey’s been thrown away, the diets have started, and it’s officially over. It can be a depressing time of the year for most people. But, if you love the NBA, it’s just beginning to get good. We take a look at the winners and losers of 2013 so far…

Good Week

Lee Warriors

Golden State Warriors

The Warriors have started 2013 like they finished 2012. Going quietly about their business, but getting it done.

Since losing to the Lakers on December 22nd, they’ve won four in a row, with victories coming against the Jazz, the 76ers, the Celtics and the Clippers. They’re now only 2.5 games back in the Pacific, and slowly but surely gathering momentum in the West.

With the Thunder, Clippers, Spurs and Grizzlies all starting strongly, it remains to be seen whether they can keep it up. But with David Lee (the only player in the league averaging over 20 points and 10 rebounds) and Stephen Curry (insert equally impressive stat here) going from strength, you wouldn’t write them off.

Rating: Can we finally start to consider Lee and Curry for the All Star game now? Please?!?

Honourable mentions: JaVale McGee, Amar’e Stoudamire, James Harden.


Bad Week

Clippers

LA Clippers/ Blake Griffin

After showering them with praise last week, we can’t help but feel partly responsible for this one.

The Clippers franchise-record winning streak has come to an end, and they’ve lost 2 on the bounce in 2013. The losses to Denver and Golden State were convincing, and the latter meant that even with their impressive winning stretch, competition in the West is fierce.

2013 hasn’t been kind to Blake so far either. The big man had shot 50% or better in every game of their winning streak. He went a disappointing 4-for-11 from the field in Denver, and just 2-for-11 at Golden State. Add to that being on the receiving end of a Festus Ezeli elbow grab, a theatrical back flip, a three which hit the backboard, and the whole Warrior bench mocking him in unison, and it’s been a pretty bad week.

Rating: Maybe leave the Kia at home this week…

Honourable mentions: New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics.

Good Week/Bad Week – 27/12/12

A busy festive period culminated in 5 games on Christmas day, including a Los Angeles double header. We take a look at this week’s winners and losers…

Good Week

Image

LA Clippers

The Clips are on a franchise-record 14 game winning streak. Aside from the athleticism of starters Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, they also possess the highest scoring bench in the NBA this season.

With their confidence growing by the game, and this level of depth in their squad, they’re currently number one in the West, and the league overall. For a moribund franchise once considered the joke of the NBA, this is uncharted territory.

As LA’s other team still struggles to find their feet, and the Oklahoma City Thunder faltering, things look good for Vinny Del Negro’s men.

Rating: 10/10 for effort and commitment, but minus several thousand for style (See below)

Image

Honourable mentions: Miami Heat, Houston Rockets, Mike Miller.

Bad Week

Image

Brooklyn Nets/ Avery Johnson

After a promising start to the season and an 11-4 record, Brooklyn has now lost 10 of their last 13 games, and their head coach.

The Nets suffered their worst home loss of the season on Christmas day, and to make matters worse it was against a division rival. They followed this with a 108-93 loss to the Bucks on Wednesday night, and their coach of the last 2-and-a-half years was handed his marching orders.

So, did Avery Johnson deserve to follow Mike Brown as the second coaching casualty of the season? Only time will tell. But one thing’s for sure: Deron Williams and company will need to up their game if they free spending Nets are to get anywhere this (next) year.

Rating: Don’t panic. It’s only the Bobcats up next…

Honourable mentions: Charlotte Bobcats, Washington Wizards, Russell Westbrook.

Milestones and MVPs

There have been a number of milestones hit over the course of the season so far. And, while we can’t document them all here (partly because it would take too long, but mostly because we’re lazy and don’t remember most of them) here are the big two… from the big two.

LebronLeBron – Love him or loathe him, you can’t argue with the numbers. Not content with his NBA championship ring and Olympic gold medal, being the regular season MVP and finals MVP, King James was voted Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year 2012 last month.

Following his infamous ‘decision’ to leave Cleveland, LeBron has moved from strength to strength in Miami. He’s had a strong start to the season so far, and is already in the running to retain his MVP crown.

Personally, apart from his self appointed nickname, we don’t really mind LeBron. Just don’t tell Skip Bayless…

 

 

Kobe B

Kobe – On December 5th 2012, in a game against the New Orleans Hornets, Kobe Bryant became the youngest player ever to reach 30,000 points. He now joins an elite list of basketball greats including Wilt Chamberlain (31,419 points), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), Karl Malone (36,928) and Michael Jordan (32,292) as the only five players in NBA history to break the 30,000-point barrier.

Although he has taken the longest number of games to get there (1,179), at just 34 years old, Kobe is within touching distance of Kareem’s record. Lets just hope he stays healthy.