What’s the story out East this week?
Virtual daps: Ersan Ilyasova
What a rewarding week it has been for the Milwaukee Bucks’ Ersan Ilyasova, and the fantasy basketball owners that stuck with him up to this point. The runner-up for the NBA’s most improved player award last season has had himself an inconsistent start to the season of the most frustrating brand. It’s not that he has been wholly unproductive, as he’s shown glimmers of the brilliant performances that he is capable of. Well, this week he’s finally been able to string together a few of those “glimmers,” scoring 27, 30, 30, and 18 in his last four games, and combining those outputs with 14, 16, 7, and 12 rebounds respectively. Ilyasova earned his starting job back earlier in January and is beginning to pay off now under new Bucks head coach, Jim Boylan. For Bucks fans’ sake, let’s hope that his performance is more than just another collective “glimmer.”
– Chris Bosh, Tyson Chandler, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Paul George, Kyrie Irving, and Jrue Holiday heard their names called by the TNT crew on Thursday night, as they were named as the reserves for the Eastern Conference All-Star team. For Chandler, Noah, George, Irving, and Holiday it was their first career All-Star selection. Big ups!
– The Washington Wizards have looked darn good since John Wall has rejoined the rotation, going 6-3 with him in the lineup. With Wall and his nearly 21 PER back in the fold, the Wizards are beginning to look like the team that was anticipated by the fan base looking forward to an upswing this year. In addition, Bradley Beal stands to benefit greatly from having a true point guard to share the workload in the backcourt with. I’ve got a co-worker who’s a lifelong Wiz fan, and thanks to their recent success I no longer fear coming off condescending when I bring up his team in conversation.
– The Grizzlies’ recent trade partner, the Cleveland Cavaliers, have looked very good in their last few games, picking up wins in all three contests this week. To speak of another up-and-coming young point guard, Kyrie “Batman” Irving has been nothing short of stellar, scoring 40, 35, and 32 in his last respective outings. Not to mention, this ice cold dagger that he dropped on the Raptors last night. Additionally, I want to take this opportunity to wish Wayne Ellington, Mo Speights, and Josh Selby the best in this next step in their careers. However, here’s to hoping Wayne’s quarterly outburst does not come on March 8th, when the Cavs next play host to Memphis!
– The Boston Celtics are spiraling out of control, having lost six straight, including some tough opponents like New York and Chicago, as well as the lesser daunting likes of Detroit. On the bright side, while my runner up for “Virtual Daps” doesn’t usually get much of a notion from me, some love must be spread for Rajon Rondo. In spite of his team’s recent failure on many levels, he’s balling hard out there, having strung together back-to-back triple doubles, and is averaging well above his season’s average, at 18.7 points per game over his last three.
– In a slightly lesser, but still not-so-acceptable losing streak, the Orlando Magic have dropped their last four. With the exception of a fifteen point loss to Detroit, the games have been decided by single digits, so it’s not like the Magic have been completely out of sorts. They get their chance to avenge the loss to the Pistons tonight on their home floor.
– The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets each had a slightly underwhelming week, when gauged by the barometers for success which they have defined for themselves with their overall recent play. Starting with the Knicks, they lost their first game back from London, which was a close one against none other than the Nets, then proceeded to escape with a slim victory over a limping Celtics team, and last night, got demoralized by the 76ers in Raymond Felton’s return. As for the Nets, they were as hot as any team has been this season, since handing the reins over to P.J. Carlesimo, but they have been cooled off since being snubbed in entirety for the All-Star game despite being in possession of the third best win percentage in the East at the time of the announcement. They were then stifled by a blowout loss to our Grizz, and proceeded to give up 119 to the high-powered Rockets offense in last night’s defeat. They have yet to handle any adversity in the Carlesimo era, so it will be interesting to see how they bounce back.
Some of the week’s sweet reads by our TrueHoop brethren:
– Doc Rivers turned some heads when he alluded to shaking things up in Boston, if his guys didn’t get things going, but Celtics Blog notes that he stepped back to clear things up on Pardon the Interruption.
– Take a trip over to Cavs: the Blog, to get a look into the opposing perspective on the recent trade between the Grizz and Cavs.
– 8 Points, 9 Seconds offers its response to the Forbes valuation of the Indiana Pacers franchise.