As we all know, things have been crazy in the NBA’s West… so let’s see what’s going on out East.
Virtual daps: John Wall
It’s been a turbulent year for point guards in the Eastern Conference, and John Wall has been no exception. He started the season on the injured list and spent quite a bit more time there than he would have liked. Since returning, Wall has arguably taken the leap that many expected of him last season. The 3rd year floor general out of Kentucky has been on a tear of late. In the past two weeks, Wall has averaged 22 points and 10 dimes, highlighted by his most recent performance – a 24 point, 16 assist, 6 rebound and 3 steal performance in a 103-100 come from behind victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. Give ’em somethin’ to cheer about in the capitol!
Speaking of cheering:
– The team of this week’s “Virtual Daps” recipient, the Washington Wizards, is surging by its standards, and I mean that in no way as a slight to them. The Wiz have claimed five of their past seven games, and have mostly done so without their stud rookie scorer, Bradley Beal. Beal returned for three short games, but re-aggravated an ankle injury that has kept him out of a total of seven games thus far. Keep an eye on this group going forward. They’re young and armed with a very promising back court.
– The New York Knickerbockers have matched a recent four game losing streak with a currently running four game win streak. Their aging lineup has been ravaged with injuries lately, but Carmelo Anthony is back, which is essentially all that matters at the moment. The old adage holds that the Knicks are only going to go as far as he takes them this year. He poured in a total of 65 points in their past two games: consecutive wins over Rudy Gay and the Raptors.
– Even you’re living under a rock, you have heard about the Miami Heat‘s 25 game winning streak. I’m just going to use this space to remind you.
– Our Grizzlies’ opponent last night, the Boston Celtics, are a team struggling to find a way to win games. The C’s have lost their last four, and six out of their last eight, after a mighty initial rally around the loss of point guard Rajon Rondo for the season. As bleak as things may look for Boston, they’re never a team to sleep on heading into the postseason. If the playoffs were to begin today, they would be pegged against the Knicks in the first round, which is a very winnable series from their standpoint.
– The Milwaukee Bucks have not been playing very good basketball, having lost five of their last seven, but thanks to the lack of pressure from below, they’re a borderline lock for the postseason. With teams like the Celtics dropping a bit, there has got to be a fire under the Bucks to make a push to leapfrog them, because let’s face it… nobody in their right mind wants to be the 8 seed in the East right now and play Miami in the first round.
– If you were to play “pin the tail on the donkey” with the donkey being the Eastern Conference, you’d be more than likely to stamp your makeshift tail on mediocrity or worse during this stretch. With the exception of the already mentioned Heat, Wizards, and the Brooklyn Nets, no team within the conference has greater than five wins in their last ten games. Not surprisingly, with NBA records being a zero-sum statistic, this is a stark contrast to what we’ve got going on in the West, where teams are surging, as nine of which have played above .500 basketball in their last ten contests.
Some of the week’s sweet reads by our TrueHoop brethren:
– This piece by Nate Smith over at Cavs: The Blog is a good read on the CBA, but moreover is worth a run-through for the post-article discussion in their comments section (spoiler alert: they’re talking about the Grizzlies).
– As usual, there’s some good stuff coming from the TrueHoop home page, most recently this video interview between Henry Abbott and Bomani Jones touching upon the NCAA vs. NBA debate, knocks on zone defense, and Doug Collins’ future in Philly.
– Tom Sunnergren at Philadunkia ponders what the heck the 76ers are to do about the Andrew Bynum can of worms.