BDCi’s NBA Weekly 2.21.14
(BDCi) — The NBA week started with All-Star weekend and ended with the trade deadline and a bunch of deals going down. For All-Star weekend,particularly on Saturday night, Team Bosh won the Shooting Stars Challenge, Trey Burke and Damian Lillard won the Skills Challenege, Marco Bellinili of the San Antonio Spurs won the 3-point contest and the East won the Slam Dunk contest with John Wall got the best dunk. On Sunday Kyrie Irving was named MVP of the All-Star game as the East won overcoming an 18-point deficit. On Wednesday, the trades began as the Sacramento Kings traded guard Marcus Thornton to the Brooklyn Nets for Jason Terry and Reggie Evans.It’s a good trade for both as Thornton is a young guard trying to rediscover his shooting touch plus the Kings needed to get more playing time for Ben McLemore and the Nets wanted to get rid of two little-used veterans. The Los Angeles Lakers traded point guard Steve Blake to the Golden State Warriors for reserve guards Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks. It’s good for the Warriors who needed a veteran guard to back up Steph Curry and the Lakers are going nowhere this year so they got salary relief plus two young unproven players who will get a chance to show what they can do. Plus, Blake is in the last year of his contract. On Thursday, a slew of trades happened starting with the Kings getting Roger Mason Jr from the Heat for a 2015 second round pick and cash. The move allowed Miami to open up a roster spot and the Kings continue their rebuilding. The Charlotte Bobcats acquired guards Luke Ridnoir and Gary Neal from the Bucks for guard Ramon Sessions and forward Jeff Adrien. The trade gives the Bobcats some outside shooting as they try to make a playoff push while the Bucks have the worst record in the NBA and Neal was not getting enough playing time behind younger players. The Washington Wizards acquired guard Andre Miller from the Nuggets in a three-team trade. The Wizards gave up two seldom-used players, forward Jan Vesely went to Denver while point guard Eric Maynor went to the 76ers. Philadelphia gets two second-picks, one from the Wizards in 2015 and one from the Nuggets in 2016. Washington gets a protected 2014 second round pick from the 76ers. The move help the Wizards as they are trying to make a playoff push with team president and head coach in the final year of their contract. The Atlanta Hawks acquired forward Antwan Jamison for the rights to shooting guard Cenk Akyol,a 2005 second-round pick now playing in Turkey, The Hawks are looking to stay in the playoff hunt and hope Jamison can help them as injuries have dropped the Hawks from third to seventh in the Eastern Conference. The Spurs traded guard Nando De Colo to the Raptors for former first round pick Austin Daye. The biggest traded was the Indiana Pacers sent forward Danny Granger and a 2015 second round pick to Philadelphia for former first round pick Evan Turner and forward Lavoy Allen. The Pacers needed to add some punch if they want to dethrone the Miami Heat but gave up Granger who was a fan favorite and possible franchise player. Granger also has an expiring contract and a history of injuries but the Sixers get a draft pick that could prove very useful in the upcoming draft. The 76ers also sent center Spencer Hawes to Cleveland for two second round picks and forwards Earl Clark and center Henry Sims. It was quite a week in the NBA.
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS
1. Indiana Pacers (41-13) — lost to Minnesota in their last game but made big trades
2. Miami Heat (39-14) — winners of four in a row
3. Toronto Raptors (29-25) — lost to Chicago by two in their last game
4. Chicago Bulls (28-25) — winners of four in a row
5. Washington Wizards (26-28) — lost to Atlanta in their last game
6. Brooklyn Nets (25-27) — defeated Utah by six in their last game
7. Atlanta Hawks (25-28) — losers of seven in a row and ravaged by injury
8. Charlotte Bobcats (25-30) — winners of two in a row
WESTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS
1. Oklahoma City Thunder (43-13) — got routed by Miami in their last game
2. San Antonio Spurs (40-15) — winners of three in a row despite losing Parker indefinitely
3. Houston Rockets (37-18) — lost to Golden State by three in their last game
4. Los Angeles Clippers (37-19) — lost to Sacramento by 10 in their last game
5. Portland Trailblazers (36-18) — losers of three in a row
6. Phoenix Suns (32-21) — winners of two in a row
7. Golden State Warriors (33-22) — winners of two in a row
8. Dallas Mavericks (32-23) — lost to the 76ers in their last game
NBA Player Watch
Points-the top five scorers are: Kevin Durant-OKC (31.4), Carmelo Anthony-NYK (27.5), LeBron James-MIA (26.9), Kevin Love-MIN (26.2) and Stephen Curry-GSW (24.4).
Rebounds-the top five board crashers are: DeAndre Jordan-LAC (14.1), Kevin Love-MIN (13.3), Andre Drummond-DET (13.0), Dwight Howard-HOU (12.7) and DeMarcus Cousins-SAC
Assists-the top five passers are: Stephen Curry-GSW (8.9), Ty Lawson-DEN (8.8), John Wall-WAS (8.6), Ricky Rubio-MIN (8.5) and Brandon Jennings-DET (8.0)
Brazilian Player Watch
Leandro Barbosa-Guard, Phoenix Suns. 7.8 points and 1.7 assists per game. In his last game on February 19th against Boston, he played just seven minutes, scoring four points, grabbing one rebound and one assist. Phoenix did win but it’s hard to make an impact with such little minutes. Phoenix relied heavily on guards Goran Dragic and Gerald Green in this game. On February 18 against Denver, he played 18 minutes, scoring two points, grabbing two rebounds, one assist and a steal. He had an off night from the field going just one of seven including a missed three. It seems the time off from the All-Star break made him lose his timing. Hopefully, he will get it back but Phoenix won that game too so Barbosa is just a piece of the puzzle.
Nene-Forward-Center, Washington Wizards. 14 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. In his last game on February 19 against Atlanta, he scored 10 points, grabbed six boards, two assists and a steal in 31 minutes of play. It was not Nene’s most efficient game as he was just three of nine from the field but was four
of six from the free throw line. He also had five turnovers so he had trouble protecting the basketball but somehow his team pulled out the victory. On February 18th against Toronto, he scored 17 points, grabbed five rebounds, two assists in 34 minutes of play. He was a little better from the field going eight of 17 but was just one of five from the free throw line. He cut down his turnovers but the Wizards lost to a team they might see in the playoffs. Nene just needs to keep doing what he is doing and try to cut down turnovers and fouls.
Tiago Splitter-Center, San Antonio Spurs. 8.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Splitter did not play February 18th against the Clippers as he missed his fourth straight game with a bruised right shin. He returned February 19th against the Portland Trailblazers, scoring 15 points, grabbing six boards, two assists and a steal in 26 minutes of play. He was an efficient five of nine from the field and managed to only commit two fouls. He also was five of nine from the free throw line so clearly this time off might have helped him plus the Spurs beat a very good Portland team.
Vitor Faverani-Center,Boston Celtics. 4.4 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. Faverani is still on the inactive list probably due to a knee injury and lack of playing time. The Celtics did not make any major moves to free up more playing time for Faverani so it does not look good for him unless he goes back to the development league. He last played in an NBA game January 28th.
Anderson Varejao,Center, Cleveland Cavaliers. 8.8 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. Varejao hurt his back before the All-Star break on February 9 against Memphis and has not played since. He has sat out the last two Cleveland games, meaning he has missed four straight. The Cavs are just three games behind the Bobcats for the final playoff spot so they need Varejao if they want to get in. Head coach Mike Brown declined to give a timetable as to when Varejao would return. The good news for Cleveland is they made a trade for another center in Spencer Hawes so maybe that will help Varejao in reducing his minutes so he can stay healthy.