BDCi’s NBA Weekly 4.4.14
(BDCi) — With the season over in a week and a half, teams are battling for playoff positioning. The Dallas Mavericks are the team in the west fighting for that final spot along with Memphis and Phoenix. In the East, the Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks are battling for the final spot. In other news, the Nets Jason Kidd and the Spurs Gregg Popovich were named the coaches of the month for March. Kidd guided the nets to a 12-4 record and the Nets were undefeated at home. Popovich led the Spurs to a 16-0 record and eleven of San Antonio’s 16 wins were by 10 or more points. The Spurs had their 19 game win streak snapped on Thursday by the Oklahoma City Thunder.
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS
1. Miami Heat (52-22) — winners of four in a row and clinched the southeast division
2. Indiana Pacers (53-23) — defeated Detroit in their last game and clinched the central division
3. Toronto Raptors (43-32) — defeated Houston by four in their last game and clinched a playoff spot
4. Chicago Bulls (43-32) — winners of three in a row and clinched a playoff spot
5. Brooklyn Nets (40-34) — lost to the Knicks in their last game but clinched a playoff spot
6. Washington Wizards (39-36) — defeated Boston in their last game and clinched a playoff spot
7. Charlotte Bobcats (37-38) — winners of two in a row
8. New York Knicks (33-43) — winners of three in a row
WESTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS
1. San Antonio Spurs (59-17) — lost to Oklahoma City in their last game but clinched the southwest division
2. Oklahoma City Thunder (55-19) — winners of three in a row and clinched a playoff spot
3. Los Angeles Clippers (54-23) — lost to Dallas in their last game but clinched the pacific division
4. Houston Rockets (49-25) — losers of three in a row
5. Portland Trailblazers (49-27) — winners of four in a row
6. Golden State Warriors (46-29) — lost to San Antonio in their last game
7. Dallas Mavericks (45-31) — defeated the Clippers in their last game
8. Memphis Grizzlies (44-31) — lost to Minnesota in their last game and holding onto the final playoff by tiebreaker but have identical record with Phoenix
NBA Player Stats
Points-the top five scorers are: Kevin Durant-OKC (32.1), Carmelo Anthony-NYK (28.0), LeBron James-MIA (26.6), Kevin Love-MIN (26.0) and James Harden-HOU (25.1).
Rebounds-the top five board crashers are: DeAndre Jordan-LAC (13.8), Andre Drummond-DET (12.8), Kevin Love-MIN (12.6), Dwight Howard-HOU (12.3) and DeMarcus Cousins-SAC (11.6).
Assists-the top five passers are: Chris Paul-LAC (10.8), Ty Lawson-DEN (8.9), John Wall-WAS (8.7), Ricky Rubio-MIN (8.5) and Stephen Curry-GSW (8.4).
Brazilian Player Watch
Tiago Splitter-Center, San Antonio Spurs. 8.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. In his last game on April 3 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, he scored two points, grabbed three rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block in 19 minutes of play. It was a tough matchup with the Thunder as they snapped the Spurs 19 game winning streak. Splitter struggled and was not very aggressive so Boris Diaw took some of his minutes. Hopefully,Splitter can learn from this as the Thunder could be a team they could see in the Western Conference Finals. On April 2 against the Golden State Warriors, he scored four points, grabbed seven rebounds, two assists and a steal in 11 minutes of play. Splitter did not start against the Warriors but was decently effective against the Warriors. He made the best out of the minutes he was given but did pick up two fouls. On March 31 against Indiana, he scored nine points, grabbed six rebounds and an assist in 31 minutes of play. Another tough matchup with one of the best teams in the east and it is especially hard going up against Roy Hibbert. However, even with the tough matchup, Splitter only picked up one foul. On March 28 against the Denver Nuggets, he scored eight points, grabbed 12 rebounds and seven assists in 26 minutes of play. It was by far the best game for Splitter of the week.He would have played more minutes but picked up four fouls.
Anderson Varejao-Center, Cleveland Cavaliers. 8.6 points and 10 rebounds per game. Varejao sat out the Cavs
last game on April 2 with a sore shoulder. He played on March 30 against the Pacers and scored six points and grabbed six rebounds in 14 minutes of play. Again, Varejao does not start and they are monitoring his minutes given his injury history. On March 28 against the Brooklyn Nets, he scored eight points, grabbed 13 rebounds and a steal in 29 minutes of play. It certainly was a typical game for Varejao, especially on the boards. With the Cavs most likely not making the playoffs, if Varejao can finish off the season without injury, that would be nice.
Nene-Forward-Center, Washington Wizards. 14.2 points and 5.8 rebounds. The latest for Nene is that he could return from a sprained MCL in his knee on April 9 which is six days before the regular season ends. The Wizards clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2008 and will certainly need Nene if they want to be successful. Nene has been doing non-contact drills for the past week and it seems he has progressed enough in his rehab that the April 9 date when the Wizards play the Charlotte Bobcats seems likely for his return.
Leandro Barbosa-Guard, Phoenix Suns. 7.5 points and 1.6 assists per game. The latest for Barbosa is he had the hard cast removed from his left hand and could be available should the Suns make the playoffs. The way things look now, the Suns are tied in the standings with Memphis but they hold the tie-breaker so Memphis is in the eighth and final playoff spot with Phoenix on the outside. The Suns have one of the toughest April schedules with five of eight games on the road and six of eight against playoff teams. Certainly the deck is stacked against the Suns but it would be quite impressive for one of the youngest teams in the NBA to overcome all that and claim a playoff spot. Hopefully if they do, Barbosa will provide some veteran leadership and playoff experience and only Goran Dragic, Channing Frye and Eric Bledsoe have playoff experience.
Vitor Faverani-Center, Boston Celtics. 4.4 points and 3.5 rebounds. Faverani is out for the year after surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee.Faverani is off crutches and walking pain free. He is riding a bike and hopes to be ready for next season. He will not play for the Brazilian national team this summer to focus on getting his knee better.