BDCi’s NBA Weekly 3-22-13

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(BDCi) — The NBA season has less than a month to go before playoffs begin. The Miami Heat continue to dominant the league as they have won 24 games in a row and look to continue that streak Friday night against the Pistons. Derrick Rose is still uncertain when he will return from his knee injury. He suffered the injury during last year’s first round playoffs and had surgery in May. Kobe Bryant looks set to return from his ankle injury and Pau Gasol looks ready as well to return from an injury that has kept him out six weeks. It remains to be seen how that will affect the chemistry of the Lakers and if that can propel them into the playoffs.

EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS

1. Miami Heat (53-14) — winners of 24 in a row and now clinched the southeast division

2. Indiana Pacers (42-26) — winners of two in a row and clinched a playoff berth

3. New York Knicks (40-26) — winners of two in a row but struggling with injuries

4. Brooklyn Nets (40-28) — winners of two in a row and clinched a playoff spot

5. Atlanta Hawks (38-30) — defeated Milwaukee in last game and plays Portland Friday

6. Chicago Bulls (36-31) — losers of two in a row and stuck in the Derrick Rose soap opera of when will he come back?

7. Boston Celtics (36-31) — losers of two in a row but will get back Kevin Garnett from injury

8. Milwaukee Bucks (34-33) — holding onto final playoff spot by eight and a half games

WESTERN CONFERENCE

1. San Antonio Spurs (52-16) — winners of three in a row and clinched a playoff spot

2. Oklahoma City Thunder (50-19) — clinched a playoff spot

3. Memphis Grizzlies (46-21) — winners of two in a row

4. Los Angeles Clippers (47-22) — defeated Philadelphia in their last game

5. Denver Nuggets (48-22) — winners of 14 in a row and clinched a playoff spot

6. Golden State Warriors (39-31) — lost their last game

7. Houston Rockets (37-31) — defeated Utah in their last game

8. Los Angeles Lakers (36-33) — lost their last game to Phoenix but gets back Kobe and Pau.

NBA Player Stats

Points — the top five scorers are: Kevin Durant-OKC (28.4), Carmelo Anthony-NYK (27.4), Kobe Bryant-LAL (27.1), LeBron James-MIA (26.6) and James Harden-HOU (26.3)

Rebounds — the top five board crashers are: Dwight Howard-LAL (12.5), Omer Asik-HOU (11.7), Zach Randolph-MEM (11.7), Nikola Vucevic-ORL (11.5) and Joakim Noah-CHI (11.4).

Assists — the top five passers are: Rajon Rondo-BOS (11.1), Chris Paul-LAC (9.6), Greivis Vasquez-NOH (9.3), Jrue Holiday-PHI (8.7) and Tony Parker-SAS (7.6).

Brazilian Player Watch

Tiago Splitter — Center, San Antonio Spurs. 10.6 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. In his last game against Golden State, Splitter played 31 minutes scoring 17 points, grabbing seven boards, four assists and a steal and a block. That is quite an impressive game as Splitter did a little bit of everything and his team won. He also only missed one free throw which has been a problem in his game as he is not a good free throw shooter and he only had one foul. That allows him to play more minutes and thus he can be more effective for his team.On March 20 against Cleveland, he had 10 points and four rebounds.Against Dallas on March 4, he only had eight points but he had 10 boards in the one point victory. Look for him to be a key player for the Spurs come playoff time.

Nene — Forward-Center, Washington Wizards. 13 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. In his last game March 20 against Phoenix, he scored 17 points and grabbed 8 boards. However, he had five turnovers but his team won. On March 18 against Charlotte, he had one of his best games, scoring 21 points, grabbing seven boards and dishing seven assists. However, his team lost that game. On March 16 against Phoenix, he scored 14 points and had five boards but no turnovers. His team won that game also. Nene is a great player who gives his all and always fills up the stat sheet yet he is on a team that is young and not going to make the playoffs.

Leandro Barbosa — Guard, Washington Wizards. 5.3 points and 1.4 assists per game. Barbosa is out for the season after suffering a torn ACL when he was with Boston and then got traded to Washington. The Wizards backcourt has been suffering of late with A.J. Price sitting out with a groin injury and Bradley Beal out with an ankle injury. If they have to miss a lot more time, there is a possibility that Barbosa could be waived. Barbosa is a free agent after the season.

Anderson Varejao — Center, Cleveland Cavaliers. 14.1 points and 14.4 rebounds per game. Varejao is out for the year after suffering a torn leg muscle back in December which required surgery and a blood clot in his left lung. He is recovering and should be back next season.

Stats: NBA.com

Photo: NBA.com

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