With the Super Bowl concluding the NFL season, the NBA (and NHL) will now be at the forefront for the eyes of many sports fans. Fortunately, the trade deadline is approaching which means there will be storylines aplenty.
There wasn’t a shortage of storylines this week. James Harden had the first 60-point triple-double in league history. C.J. McCollum scored 50 points in three quarters including a 28-point first quarter. The Los Angeles Clippers traded Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons for Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic and a 2018 first-round pick. The Pistons haven’t lost with Griffin in the lineup.
All-Star Weekend is February 16-18.
As always, we’ll look at the Power Six rankings, Game of the Week, Playoff Picture, Stat of the Week, Rookie Watch and MVP Update in this edition of NBA Weekly.
1. Golden State Warriors. Last week: 1st.
Uncharacteristically lost two games this week to the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz (by 30 points), but the Warriors could lose the rest of their games and finish the season at .500.
2. Houston Rockets. Last week: 2nd.
Harden and Chris Paul are firing on all cylinders and the Rockets have won four straight.
3. Boston Celtics. Last week: 3rd.
Have also won four straight and will get a boost with the signing of Greg Monroe.
4. Toronto Raptors. Last week: 4th.
Still two games behind the Celtics but have the best point differential in the Eastern Conference and third-best in the entire league trailing only the Warriors and Rockets.
5. San Antonio Spurs. Last week: 5th.
Went a mediocre 9-7 in the month of January but nobody has been able to knock them out of the third spot in the Western Conference.
6. Minnesota Timberwolves. Last week: 6th.
The Timberwolves find themselves in the Power Six for the fourth time. With the way the Cleveland Cavaliers have been playing, they could be seeing themselves here more often.
Game of the Week
The Oklahoma City Thunder travel to Oracle Arena to face the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. on TNT in an always entertaining affair between former teammates Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. The Thunder crushed the Warriors 108-91 in their first meeting in November. Westbrook had 34 points and many face-to-face confrontations with Durant. Stephen Curry (24), Durant (21), Carmelo Anthony (22) and Paul George (20) all scored 20 points or more. This battle has no shortage of star power and drama. It’ll be interesting to see how this one goes especially with the Thunder being on a four-game losing streak after winning seven straight.
- Boston Celtics
- Toronto Raptors (2 GB)
- Cleveland Cavaliers (7.5 GB)
- Washington Wizards (8 GB)
- Milwaukee Bucks (9 GB)
- Indiana Pacers (9 GB)
- Miami Heat (9.5 GB)
- Philadelphia 76ers (12 GB)
In the hunt: Detroit Pistons (12.5 GB), Charlotte Hornets (15 GB).
- Golden State Warriors
- Houston Rockets (2 GB)
- San Antonio Spurs (8 GB)
- Minnesota Timberwolves (8.5 GB)
- Oklahoma City Thunder (11.5 GB)
- Portland Trail Blazers (12 GB)
- New Orleans Pelicans (12.5 GB)
- Denver Nuggets (13 GB)
In the hunt: Los Angeles Clippers (14 GB), Utah Jazz (16.5 GB).
Stat of the Week: Steals (per game)
- Paul George, OKC, 2.16
- Eric Bledsoe, MIL/PHX, 2.09
- Kris Dunn, CHI, 2.05
- Russell Westbrook, OKC, 2.00
- Jimmy Butler, MIN, 1.96
Rookie Watch: Josh Hart
A former first-team All-American and NCAA Champion at Villanova, the Utah Jazz selected Hart with the last pick of the first round in the 2017 NBA Draft and subsequently traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers. The 6-foot-5 guard has played in 47 games, started 12 and averages about 20 minutes per game. He has scored in double figures 10 times including a 26-point effort in December. For the year, he’s averaging 5.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 0.7 steals and 0.2 blocks.
James Harden did something no player had done in NBA history this week. I think he deserves the top spot. Curry gets the Golden State nod over Kevin Durant once again, LeBron James gets the nod over Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook complete the top-5.
- James Harden
- Stephen Curry
- Kyrie Irving
- Russell Westbrook
- LeBron James