NBA Weekly Recap: Mar. 6
The NBA season continues to roll on as teams have passed the three-quarter-mark of their seasons. Two-thirds of the league will lock up playoff spots over the next 20 games, while others have already turned their focus to the future.
The Phoenix Suns will be looking to lock up the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. The Suns hold an eight-game advantage over the Memphis Grizzlies. They have the best record in the NBA at 51-12.
The Suns have continued to pile on the wins despite Chris Paul being sidelined with a thumb injury. Devin Booker entered health and safety protocol earlier this week, but the Suns did not skip a beat.
Cameron Johnson posted a career-high 38 points for Phoenix on Friday night. The third-year forward’s most important shot banked off the glass and into the net at the buzzer for a 115-114 victory over the New York Knicks.
The Knicks, who made the playoffs for the first time since 2013 last season, have fallen toward the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Tom Thibodeau’s team has fallen out of the playoff picture and has lost its last seven games.
Not all has been bad for the team from New York City though. Third-year guard RJ Barrett has emerged as a young star. Barrett is averaging 18.9 points per game this season and has averaged over 20 points per game since the calendar turned to 2022.
Ja Morant, who was picked one spot before Barrett in 2019, has also continued to shine for the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies. Morant is averaging 27.8 points, 6.6 assists and 5.8 rebounds per game.
He posted a career-high 52 points earlier in the week against the San Antonio Spurs. He is averaging over 40 points per game over his last four contests.
Morant’s efforts are beginning to be noticed and a strong last quarter of the season would propel him towards the top of the MVP race.
The first player drafted in the 2019 draft has yet to be seen this season, however, Zion Williamson was cleared for basketball activity this week. Williamson has yet to answer to the hype that surrounded him coming out of Duke.
The Pelicans hope to get him on the court for a potential playoff run. C.J. McCollum, who was acquired at the trade deadline, has helped the Pelicans rebound from their slow start and into the play-in tournament.
After their rough start, this season would be deemed a success if New Orleans can find its way into the playoffs.
One team that is not going to consider this season successful is the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers, who built their team around seasoned veterans, have faltered to the No. 9 seed in the West.
Some of their struggles can be pinned on Russell Westbrook. Westbrook has not been able to produce at the level he once was and is at risk of being demoted to the bench. According to reports, Westbrook will not be back on the team next season.
The Lakers did secure a win over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night. LeBron James turned back the clock for a 56-point performance as they look to get things on track.
In the East, the 76ers are making a push for the No. 1 seed. The Miami Heat, who have turned their season around following a slow start, still hold a three-game lead.
The Heat and 76ers faced off on Saturday night with the Heat coming out victorious 99-82.
Philadelphia had won five straight games before the loss, four of which came with recently acquired James Harden on the court. Harden has averaged 26.8 points and 12 assists per game with his new team.
Harden was held out of Saturday night’s contest as he continues to rest and rehab his hamstring injury.
Justin Ciavolella is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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