NBA Weekly Recap: 1/23 - 1/29
This week in the NBA included huge numbers, close games and questionable officiating. The Philadelphia 76ers are currently the hottest team in basketball. They are only two and a half games behind the Boston Celtics in a very tight Eastern Conference.
The Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers are not too far behind. The Nets have been struggling with injury issues to Kevin Durant, T.J. Warren and Ben Simmons. The Bucks have won their last three games and are looking like they will be neck-and-neck with the top of the Eastern Conference heading into the postseason. The Cavs have lost some steam as of late but are dealing with a Donavan Mitchell groin injury.
The Orlando Magic, Charlotte Hornets and the Detroit Pistons are the current bottom feeders of the East. The Washington Wizards don’t seem too far behind either after the trade of Rui Hachimura.
To the Los Angeles Lakers for a collection of picks.The Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks are staying afloat in the East and look to be bound for the play-in or a matchup with an elite opponent early in the postseason.
As for the Western Conference, besides the San Antonio Spurs and the Houston Rockets nobody knows how this seeding will shape up. The truly eye opening story in this conference comes from the Sacramento Kings who are currently in third place in the West. Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets currently own first place, followed by Memphis who has lost five games in a row.
Aside from those three teams, there are six teams within two games of each other smack in the middle of this entertaining conference. The Los Angeles Clippers, Minnesota Timberwolves and the New Orleans Pelicans are the next three teams avoiding the play-in as of right now.
The four play-in teams in the Western Conference - the Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz - have not had struggles like this in recent years. Honestly, the only team of those four that looks like they can make the finals as of right now is Golden State. Even head coach Steve Kerr’s group does not look as good as they usually do at this point in the season.
The three teams behind those four are not to be taken lightly. No matter how young the Oklahoma City Thunder are, this team has proved they can play with the best of the league as they beat the Nuggets and Cavs in the last week. As for the Portland Trail Blazers, they truly do not have the help Damian Lillard needs and this year will again waste another extraordinary statistical season for the perennial All Star.
For the Los Angeles Lakers, they may have suffered their worst loss of the year on Saturday night. The officiating made several calls in their loss against Boston that were said to be messed up by the NBA. Even though they now have Anthony Davis back, who knows how long that will last for Los Angeles.
LeBron James passing Kareem in points in the coming week or so may be the highlight of this Lakers season, especially with how young and talented this conference is. It’s pretty hard to say that this Los Angeles team is currently better than anyone else above them besides Portland.
Sam Kirk is a third -year broadcast journalism major. To contact him, email email@example.com.