BDCi’s NBA Weekly 1.31.14
(BDCi) — The NBA week was full of exciting news including All-Star reserves announced and a variety of marquee matchups took place. The East reserve All-Stars are: Chris Bosh (Miami Heat), DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors), Paul Millsap (Atlanta Hawks), John Wall (Washington Wizards), Joe Johnson (Brooklyn Nets), Roy Hibbert (Indiana Pacers) and Joakim Noah (Chicago Bulls). DeRozan, Millsap and Wall are first-time All-Stars. Some notable snubs for the East were Lance Stephenson (Indiana Pacers) who has an NBA-high four triple-doubles and Kyle Lowrie (Toronto Raptors) who has been playing great over the last month but seeing as the East leading Pacers only got two All-Stars, coaches felt it was hard to justify two Toronto Raptors. The West reserve All-Stars are: LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland Trailblazers), James Harden (Houston Rockets), Dwight Howard (Houston Rockets), Damian Lillard (Portland Trailblazers), Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks), Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs) and Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers). The biggest snubs for the West were Goran Dragic (Phoenix Suns) who has been a steadying influence and a reason why the Suns are the biggest surprise in the league yet he is in the West where there are too many great guards. Other snubs are Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans) and DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings) who are both on teams not in playoff contention plus there is less emphasis on true centers particularly in this All-Star where fans voted for starters in the frontcourt and did not have to vote for a true center. In other news, the two best players in the league Kevin Durant and LeBron James squared off on Wednesday in Miami with the Thunder getting a key win. Also the best in the east, the Indiana Pacers hosted the Phoenix Suns where Goran Dragic ran through the Pacers defense and got his team a key road victory. In injury news, it just seems to keep getting worse for the San Antonio Spurs as they lose another key player as Manu Ginobili strained his hamstring on Tuesday and will be out three to four weeks. He joins Tiago Splitter (shoulder), Danny Green (finger) and Kawhi Leonard (hand) on the bench which will put more pressure on Tony Parker to keep his team together. Chris Paul hopes to play in the All-Star game as he has been out since the beginning of January with a separated right shoulder and lastly, the Phoenix Suns have signed Brazilian Leandro Barbosa for the rest of the season. Barbosa spent his first seven years in the league in Phoenix where he won Sixth Man of the Year honors in 2006-07 before playing in Toronto, Indiana and Boston.
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS
1. Indiana Pacers (35-10) — lost to Phoenix in their last game
2. Miami Heat (32-13) — lost to the Thunder in their last game
3. Toronto Raptors (24-21) — winners of two in a row including a 15-point victory over Orlando in their last game
4. Atlanta Hawks (23-21) — lost by two to the Thunder in their last game
5.Chicago Bulls (23-22) — defeated San Antonio by 10 in their last game
6. Washington Wizards (22-23) — lost to the Clippers by seven in their last game
7. Brooklyn Nets (20-23) — lost to Toronto by one in their last game
8. Charlottle Bobcats (20-27) — beat Denver by three in their last game
WESTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS
1. Oklahoma City Thunder (37-10) — winners of nine in a row and a key win over the Heat
2. San Antonio Spurs (33-13) — losers of three in a row and have major injury issues
3. Portland Trailblazers (33-13) — losers of two in a row including a 17-point loss to Memphis in their last game
4. Los Angeles Clippers (33-16) — lost to Golden State in their last game
5. Houston Rockets (31-17) — winners of two in a row including a two-point victory over Dallas in their last game
6. Phoenix Suns (28-18) — winners of four in a row including big road win over Indiana
7. Golden State Warriors (28-19) — defeated the Clippers in their last game
8. Dallas Mavericks (26-21) — lost to Houston in their last game
NBA Player Stats
Points-the top five scorers are: Kevin Durant-OKC (31.3), Carmelo Anthony-NYK (27.2), LeBron James-MIA (26.2), Kevin Love-MIN (25.0) and LaMarcus Aldridge-POR (24.3).
Rebounds-the top five board crashers are: DeAndre Jordan-LAC (14.0), Kevin Love-MIN (12.9), Andre Drummond-DET (12.7), Dwight Howard-HOU (12.5) and LaMarcus Aldridge-POR (11.6).
Assists-the top five passers are:Stephen Curry-GSW (9.1),Ty Lawson-DEN (8.9), John Wall-WAS (8.5),Ricky Rubio-MIN (8.2) and Brandon Jennings-DET (8.2).
Brazilian Player Watch
Nene-Forward-Center, Washington Wizards. 13.7 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. In his last game on January 29th against the Clippers, he scored 14 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, six assists and four turnovers in 26 minutes of play. It was a seven point loss for the Clippers and a tough matchup for Nene as he was mostly guarding Blake Griffin which is why Nene got into foul trouble but put up a decent game. On January 28th against Golden State, he scored 16 points, grabbed seven boards, two assists, two steals and a block in 35 minutes of play. It was a win for the Wizards and he played much better shooting 7 of 15 from the field and only getting three fouls. I think matching up on defense with David Lee is better for Nene as he stronger and more athletic than Lee and can exploit him on offense. On January 25 against Utah, he scored 19 points, grabbed six rebounds, two assists and a block in 33 minutes of play. It was a three point loss to Utah as the Wizards defense failed during crunch time. Nene had a couple of emphatic dunks but Enes Kanter of Utah just killed the Wizards and he could not be stopped. On January 24th against Phoenix, he scored 18 points, grabbed eight rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block but six turnovers in 33 minutes of play. Phoenix is a good team that is very active with guard play and Nene had trouble protecting the basketball which makes it easy for Phoenix to run in transition. However, Washington was still able to pull out the victory. Nene is playing good but it’s the team that cannot seem to play with any consistency. Nevertheless, due to the weak East, the Wizards are in playoff contention so a lot of that is to Nene’s play but mostly to All-Star John Wall.
Leandro Barbosa-Guard, Phoenix Suns. 8.5 points and 2.1 assists per game. Leandro Barbosa got some good news when it was learned that Phoenix has decided to keep him for the rest of the season.
Hopefully, that will help his game as he won’t be wondering when his time is up. In his last game on January 30th against Indiana, he scored nine points, grabbed four rebounds and had an assist in 15 minutes of play. Barbosa is playing behind Phoenix’s best player in Goran Dragic and another good player in Gerald Green. Barbosa’s minutes will fluctuate depending on the matchup and how the game is going but Barbosa is certainly used to having to score in limited minutes which he did against the best team in the East. On January 29th against Milwaukee, he scored seven points, grabbed a rebound and had four assists in 21 minutes of play. Again it was another win for Phoenix, On January 27th against Philadelphia, he scored nine points, grabbed two rebounds and had two assists in 21 minutes of play. He is shooting well from the field going 3 of 5 in the game against Philly. He has to just get scoring right away. On January 26th against Cleveland, he scored just five points, grabbed one board, one assist and one steal in 16 minutes of play .He had an off night against Cleveland shooting just 2 of 6 from the field yet Phoenix still won. On January 24th against Washington Wizards, he scored 10 points, had one rebound, one assist and one steal in 21 minutes of play. Barbosa has always been a streaky shooter so he is going to have up and down games but also, his minutes will vary. Barbosa seems to be more secure and is on a team probably going to the playoffs. Leandro probably had an up and down week as Phoenix played five games in seven days which took a toll yet the Suns managed to win four of those five games. As a young team, that is good.
Anderson Varejao-Center, Cleveland Cavaliers. 8.8 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. Anderson Varejao got hurt in his last game on January 26th against Phoenix when he suffered a contusion and hyper-extension of his left knee. He was fitted with a brace and was in pregame warmups before the January 28th game against the Pelicans but could not make it a go. He also did not play on January 30th against the Knicks. He is listed as day to day and thankfully the MRI did not reveal anything worse. Varejao has an injury history as over the last three seasons, he has missed more than 100 games. This year before the injury, he had played in all 44 games. It seems that Varejao has benefited this season from not being as a starter as playing 30-35 minutes is just not good for his body. That is why Cleveland brought in Andrew Bynum but that did not work and Varejao was forced back into the starting lineup and hence he is hurt again. Varejao is just 31 but his aggressive style of play and the fact that he takes so many charges makes it seem like Varejao’s body is more of a 40-year-old than 31. Hopefully, Varejao can come back soon, although it may not matter as Cleveland is in the cellar and highly unlikely to make the playoffs.
Vitor Faverani-Center, Boston Celtics. 4.4 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. In his last game on January 28th against New York, he scored four points, grabbed three rebounds and two steals in 13 minutes of play. He even managed to not pick up a foul. On January 26th against Brooklyn, he played just five minutes,scoring two points and grabbing a rebound. He is stuck fighting for minutes behind veteran Kris Humphries and first round draft pick Kelly Olynyk. On January 24th against Oklahoma City, he played 10 minutes, scoring two points,grabbing four rebounds and an assist. Since, he is not playing many minutes, it is hard to have an impact on the game.
Tiago Splitter-Center, San Antonio Spurs. 8.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Splitter is still out with a sprained shoulder he suffered January 5th against the Clippers. He is receiving treatment and might be back in another two weeks according to the timeline that this injury is three to five weeks.