Good Week/Bad Week – 8/2/13

With All-Star Weekend just around the corner, and the trade deadline looming, there’s been an interesting dynamic around the league this week, although there has’t really been many surprises. But as usual, there have been some big plays, some bad plays, and trade rumors galore. We’re looking at you Kris Humphries.

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

Good Week

Rajon Rondo

Boston Celtics

It’s been a pretty good week for a number of teams around the league. Miami are looking every bit like the champions they are, Denver are starting to heat up, and despite their loss last night, San Antonio are arguably the most consistent team in the NBA. However, for sheer resilience, we’ve given this one to the the Celts.

Rewind a few weeks and The Green were struggling to stay in the playoff picture. They were below .500, and looking listless, lackluster and lethargic (and plenty of other adjectives that don’t begin with L). Then in the space of a week, they lost their star point guard for the rest of the campaign, with Jared Sullinger joining him on the sideline for the same period of time. It looked like the beginning of the end in Boston.

But in traditional Celtics style, the team refused to accept the conventional. They’re now on a 6 game winning streak, including getting the W over the Lakers, the Clippers and the Heat in the process. Not bad for a team that were all but written off when Rondo’s diagnosis came in.

On a personal level, KG is playing great basketball, and a higher shooting percentage than when Rondo was in the team (as well as reaching 25,000 career points). Add to this impressive performances by Paul Pierce, Jason Terry and Jeff Green, and Boston are starting to quietly creep up the standings.

Rajon who?

Honourable mentions: Miami Heat, Denver Nuggets, James Harden, Kevin Garnett.

Bad Week

Print

.Orlando Magic

We’ve been trying to give the post-D12 Magic the benefit of the doubt so far this season, but their time has finally run out. Orlando are on a 12 game losing streak, their longest for 9 years. Let’s face it, they stink.

For a team that started the season with such promise, it’s sad to see just how far they’ve fallen. Ravaged by injuries, most significantly to their star center Glen Davis, and with a group of young players struggling to find their feet, their main hope now is just to get a high lottery pick and get through the season without losing too much dignity. We’re not going to lie, it will be a struggle.

Almost the exact opposite of Boston’s reaction after Rondo’s injury, since Big Baby was ruled out, Orlando have lost their direction and lost their fight. Although Vucevic has been promising with the added minutes, they’re destined to spend the rest of the season in basketball’s basement. The rebuilding process is well and truly underway but, unfortunately, it may take a little longer than planned.

But look on the bright side, Magic Fans. Dwight might end up missing the post-season too. So every cloud…

Honourable mentions: Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings (honourable honourable mention for DeMarcus Cousins), Charlotte Bobcats (duh).   

3 Things We Learned From MLK Day

OK, so we realise that this post should really have gone up yesterday. But, the fact that there were very few games yesterday, coupled with the terrible weather, means that we feel entitled to stretch the rules of relevancy. Also, it was a day that deserves to be remembered for a lot more than basketball. But mostly, we blame the snow.

Here are 3 things we learned from Monday’s action:

 

Pacers vs. Grizzlies

Pacers vs. Grizzlies will not set the world alight

The first game of the day was Pacers vs. Grizzlies. Played in Memphis, it seemed quite fitting. The problem was, the two teams were never going to provide the showpiece game that the occasion required. Both teams rank in the top five defenses, and stink on offense. And don’t let the relatively dramatic finish fool you, this one was dull. With Indiana leading the Central, and gaining pace (sorry) in the East, their game plan is clearly working. Just don’t expect showtime in Indy anytime soon…(or Tennessee – sorry Grizz fans).

york-knicks-v-brooklyn-nets-Nets vs. Knicks rivalry is just heating up

New York lost to their neighbours at the Garden, to tie the series at 2-2 for the season. Not only was the game close, finishing 88-85 in favour of Brooklyn, but it even had post-game drama (See: J.R. Smith and Kris Humphries trash talking on twitter). If it wasn’t for Carmelo going cold in the fourth, it genuinely could have gone either way. The Nets are now 11-2 under P.J. Carlesimo, and only one game back in the Atlantic. Although they’re done squaring off in the regular season, we have a feeling that this rivalry has only just begun…

Pau-Gasol


Pau may be done in L.A. 

Before they took on the Bulls on Monday night, head coach Mike D’Antoni announced that he would be benching Pau Gasol for the foreseeable future. With the Spaniard struggling to fit into D’Antoni’s system, and the trade deadline looming, it may be coming to the end of Pau’s time in Hollywood. Although he’s by no means the only one struggling (we’re looking at you Dwight Howard and Steve Nash), he is potentially the most expendable. And with Gasol as good as stating that he’d consider moving on to pastures new, it might only be a matter of time.

The question is, where would he go?

 

The season so far…

So, with the 67th NBA season roughly one fifth of the way through, and the NBA and ESPN finally agreeing a deal to screen live games in the UK, it seemed the perfect time to start this blog. And for anyone new to basketball, or those who had to live off scraps of NBA tonight and Pardon the Interruption (lets not even get started on League Pass), here are some things you may have missed this season so far…

The biggest trade of the Offseason: Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard,

The Lakers acquired Dwight Howard from Orlando in a trade which included 4 teams and 12 players. So far, Dwight has been pretty average in LA. Also, he’s not very good at free throws (see: Hack-a-Howard).

The first coaching casualty of the season: Mike Brown

Mike Brown
Lakers again. Mike Brown lost his job as the Hollywood Head Coach just five games into the season, becoming the third fastest firing in NBA history.

Immediately following this, the prospect of the third coming of Phil Jackson is widely mentioned. Lakers fans exited. Mike D’Antoni hired. Lakers fans less excited.

Overreaction of the season so far: Charlotte Bobcats

Bobcats

After only winning 7 in last year’s lockout shortened season, they took just 12 games to get there this season. Cue wild celebrations and high-fives all round. Michael Jordan calls it ‘The greatest accomplishment of my entire career’ (Warning: not actual quote).

Unfortunately, Charlotte have not won since…

Story of the season so far: New Orleans name change

Pelicans

New Orleans reportedly consider changing their name from the New Orleans Hornets, to the New Orleans Pelicans. Other potential names considered reported as ‘New Orleans Puppies’, ‘New Orleans Honey Badgers’ and the ‘New Orleans Hashtags’.

In all seriousness, I hope that this change doesn’t end up happening. I know that some teams have had success using their state birds for naming purposes (particularly any incarnation of the Cardinals), but a line has to be drawn somewhere…

Surprise of the season so far: Thunder/Clippers/Warriors

Disappointment of the season so far: Lakers