The West has been set for few the last week now and there are a whole lot of storylines going on the West that will make for some great playoff meetings. With the Warriors boasting their All-Star, Olympic, Duel-MVP starting 5 is there a team that will be able to knock them off?
The NBA season has finished and at least for the Eastern Conference it took all 82 games to decide the fate of the 7th and 8th seed. With that now finalised, it’s time to look ahead to the Playoffs and try to predict even though history will continue to prove that we really don’t know what can happen. This year more than any other, the East has begun to feel less and less predictable posing the question – are we starting to see a new generation of teams on the rise?
Alot has happened over the last few weeks in the NBA and if you are like me, you keep your ear to the court to get your updates on whats going on around the association.
Below are a few topics that have shaken up the NBA lately:
ABC Primetime has its second “sit-out” game
Not even a month removed from the headlining Spurs vs Warriors match-up the Cavaliers decided to rest their trio of James, Irving and Love in their game against a fully healthy Clippers squad in Los Angeles. This stirred up a somewhat deserved outcry from fans who were once again duped out of a highly entertaining game in a nationally televised spot with ABC/ESPN. The Cavaliers just recently came off of a great win against Utah at the Q on Friday so their was no real claim for a back-to-back resting spot to fall back on to justify the sit-out.
Irving has been delaying with some knee issues, LeBron continues to play high-volume minutes and Kevin Love has only just returned from his surgery on his knee to round out the report on the 3 stars. Something interesting that was brought up during the broadcast however (which was pure entertainment in itself) was to question why the Cavs chose this game to rest rather than the game against the Lakers the very next night. It would seem logical to do it this way as the Lakers have openly began tanking and a Cavaliers team without their big 3 should be able to handle themselves, as well as this the game is not being nationally televised and the Lakers aren’t drawing the same eyes the Clippers and Cavs are this year by any means.
So how should we feel about the stars resting? Is it fair to the fans, who are being deemed as the group that are suffering the most from this tactic. Is their a solution that the NBA could implement to stop this from happening? For right now, it doesn’t appear that answer is anywhere near being clear and for the time being it doesn’t appear to be stopping as more teams try their hand at the whole “resting” thing.
Most Valuable Question
The battle continues with MVP talks and it does’t appear to be stopping as we inch closer to the playoffs so heres my quick take of the 2 front-runners as of late:
Westbrook: It is becoming increasingly difficult to deny Westbrook of having an MVP season with the most insane stat lines game after game and showing absolutely no signs of slowing down. But even after all the stats and amazing performances somehow the Thunder are finding themselves with a chance to capture a 5th seed in the West. Let that sink in and combine that with the projections for how the Thunder would fair this year and you’ve got a very worthy candidate for MVP.
Harden: Sometimes I can’t help but feel bad for the guys in the MVP race this year, and that certainly applies to Harden some nights more often than not. Harden’s game has been thrown into a complete 180 after coming off a year that had alot of people questioning his leadership skills both on the court and off the court with his teammates. The saviour that is Mike D’Antoni broke out some fresh batteries and stuffed James Harden with them and set him to complete floor general mode. Much like Westbrook, Harden is the beginning and ending for the Rockets, however Harden may have a slight edge over Russell when we look at efficiency and overall selfishness to unselfishness ratio.
With both guys dominating the games for their teams respectively, this is shaping up to be one of the closest MVP races in a long time. So who do you have winning and as the topic of winning record continues to factor in, does that sway your overall choice?
As quick as Kevin Durant went down just a few weeks back, the panic button was hit immediately. Almost just as quickly the Warriors 2 best shooters somehow became human and developed a slight shooting slump, so much so that Curry shot 23-76 while Klay shot 25-66 since Durant’s departure.
While everybody thought the world was ending, its not as if Steph and Klay fell off the face of the earth as the sharpshooting backcourt both averaged 25.9 (Curry) and 23.9 (Thompson) between the Wizards and recent Bucks win. If the Bucks performance is anything to go by, then it would appear that they’ve both reverted back to normal and perhaps could be finding that magic that they both shared during the 73 win season.
With Durant now back with the team and travelling as well as making an appearance at the Warriors training facility with a heavily wrapped left knee, perhaps KD’s return can be held off a tad longer. The Spurs are yet to close the gap on the Warriors for the 1 seed as they now hold 2 games for the top spot. Does the time with Durant appear to be a good or bad thing for the splash brothers?
Westbrook has been dazzling fans all season, and so far it has equated to OKC sitting at 7th in the West with a winning record just below .600. So far, Westbrook’s stats have been nothing short of eye-popping and yet even with all the stats combined it begs the question of how long this can act as the band-aid to the real situation that Oklahoma City is currently facing.