BDCi’s NBA Weekly 1.24.14
(BDCi) — Another week in the NBA and injuries are just apart of the game. The Spurs get hit with another significant injury as forward Kawhi Leonard broke a bone in his hand. Leonard will be out three to four weeks and the Spurs are getting hit with the injury bug as Leonard joins Danny Green and Tiago Splitter on the bench. In other news, there is no timetable for when Kobe Bryant will return to the court. Right now, he is just riding a stationary bike and has not returned to basketball activities yet. Bryant broke a bone in his leg on Dec. 17th, just his sixth game back after returning from achilles surgery. In other news, the NBA All-Star starters were announced for the Feb.16 game and four first time starters will be apart of the game. For the West, the starters are Stephen Curry, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Love, Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin. Love beat out Rockets center Dwight Howard while Stephen Curry was the top vote getter among West guards and made up for being snubbed last season. For the East, the starters are LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kyrie Irving, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George. Kyrie Irving and Paul George are the first time starters for the East. The reserves will be announced on Thursday with the head coaches in each conference getting to vote for two guards, three frontcourt players and two regardless of position.
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS
1. Indiana Pacers (33-8) — lost to Phoenix in their last game
2. Miami Heat (31-12) — winners of two in a row including a seven point victory over the Lakers without D-Wade
3. Atlanta Hawks (22-19) — winners of two in a row including a three point victory over Orlando in their last game
4. Toronto Raptors (21-20) — defeated Dallas in their last game
5. Chicago Bulls (21-20) — winners of three in a row
6. Washington Wizards (20-21) — lost to Boston by three in their last game
7. Brooklyn Nets (18-22) — winners of three in a row
8. Charlotte Bobcats (19-25) — winners of two in a row
WESTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS
1. Oklahoma City Thunder (33-10) — winners of five in a row thanks to Kevin Durant
2. San Antonio Spurs (32-10) — lost to Oklahoma City in their last game as injury bug is hitting them
3. Portland Trailblazers (32-11) — beat Denver by five in their last game
4. Los Angeles Clippers (29-15) — lost to Charlotte by four in their last game
5. Houston Rockets (29-15) — winners of three in a row
6. Golden State Warriors (26-17) — lost to Indiana in their last game
7. Phoenix Suns (24-17) — winners of two in a row
8. Dallas Mavericks (25-19) — lost to Toronto in their last game
NBA Player Stats
Points-the top five scorers are: Kevin Durant-OKC (31.0), LeBron James-MIA (26.2), Carmelo Anthony-NYK (26.1), Kevin Love-MIN (25.0) and LaMarcus Aldridge-POR (24.7).
Rebounds-the top five board crashers are: DeAndre Jordan-LAC (13.9), Kevin Love-MIN (13.0), Andre Drummond-DET (12.6), Dwight Howard-HOU (12.6) and LaMarcus Aldridge-POR (11.6).
Assists-the top five passers are: Chris Paul-LAC (11.2), Stephen Curry-GSW (9.2), Ty Lawson-DEN (8.9), John Wall-WAS (8.5) and Brandon Jennings-DET (8.2).
Brazilian Player Watch
Anderson Varejao-Center, Cleveland Cavaliers. 8.8 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. In his last game on January 22nd, he scored 10 points, grabbed 11 boards, five assists and two steals in 34 minutes of play. Sadly the Cavs did not come away with the victory as they allowed the Bulls to shoot 52 percent from the field. On January 20th against Dallas, he scored 18 points, grabbed 21 rebounds, four assists and two steals in 38 minutes of play. It was an excellent performance from Varejao but again the Cavs lost by five while
playing catchup the whole game. On January 17th, he scored seven points, grabbed 16 boards, seven assists, four steals and a block in 31 minutes of play. The Cavs won that game with Varejao being more of a facilitator than scorer. He didn’t need to be the scorer as five of his teammates scored in double figures and his team won by eight. Varejao’s main job is being a board crasher but he gives his team whatever they need. Sadly, they just cannot seem to put everything together for a complete performance. Varejao is certainly not the reason for the Cavs losses as he puts in 100 percent every game.
Nene-Forward-Center, Washington Wizards. 13.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. In his last game against Boston, he scored 17 points, grabbed nine rebounds, three assists, one steal and a block in 34 minutes of play. It was a pretty decent game for Nene that did not translate into victory for the Wizards. On January 20th against Philadelphia, he scored seven points, had five boards, two assists, two steals and two blocks in 23 minutes of play. He did not play as well against Philadelphia but the Wizards won anyway with five players scoring in double figures as Kevin Seraphin had a nice game playing about the same minutes as Nene. On January 18th against Detroit, he scored 14 points, grabbed four rebounds, three assists and a block in 34 minutes of play. Nene was terrible from the free throw line as he missed six free throws and as a team they missed 13. The Wizards lost by six to the Pistons and they also committed 19 turnovers. You certainly will not get the W with that kind of performance. On January 17th, he scored 10 points, grabbed seven rebounds, four assists, a steal and two blocks in 34 minutes of play. Despite the fact that Nene shot 3 of 15 from the field, the team won anyway. The Wizards are a playoff team right now and are much improved. Nene can only do as well as his teammates as he is just a piece of the puzzle not the star. If the Wizards can play as a team, they will be successful.
Leandro Barbosa-Guard, Phoenix Suns. 9 points and 2.3 assists per game. Barbosa did not play January 17th against the Mavericks due to a right shoulder sprain. He did return against the Denver Nuggets on January 19th where he scored 13 points, grabbed four rebounds and had three assists in 27 minutes of play off the bench. It was a win for the Suns as they shot 50 percent from the field and Barbosa was one of five players scoring in double figures. That is why the Suns brought in Barbosa when they lost Eric Bledsoe. They needed a scorer off the bench and so far, Barbosa is doing alright. In his last game on January 22nd against Indiana, he scored four points, grabbed two boards and two assists in 23 minutes of play off the bench. While Barbosa had a terrible shooting night with just 2 of 8 from the field, the rest of the team was great against the best team in the East. Barbosa is trying to find his footing and the shoulder injury probably hampered his progress but he is playing for a job as who know what will happen once Eric Bledsoe comes back from injury.
Vitor Faverani-Center, Boston Celtics. 4.6 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. Faverani has not played since January 15th against the Toronto Raptors. He is not hurt but has not played in Boston’s last four games due to coach’s decision. Obviously, he has fallen out of favor with head coach Brad Stevens and thus is sitting on the bench. It is unclear when or if he might play. His inconsistent defense and the crowded frontcourt of the Celtics have made it tough for him to find minutes. Maybe with the trade deadline looming, he could go somewhere else where he can get the minutes he needs to find his way.
Tiago Splitter-Center, San Antonio Spurs. 8.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Splitter is out three to five weeks after spraining his shoulder on January 4th. The injury bug has hit some of his teammates as well with Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard also hurt. It remains to be seen how Popovich will handle this but he is pretty experienced and injuries are apart of the game.