Hoops Banter (Mar. 2 – 8)

Wow, there’s roughly only 20 games left for each team this season, it went by fast. Some teams are in a slump at this point, while others are starting to gain momentum. The final push to the Playoffs has started, and there isn’t a shortage of basketball news. Read on to see what I thought of some big games this past week, a historic moment, and a crazy circus shot!

 

 

1) Dirk Nowitzki reaches 30,000 career points

6th highest scorer in NBA history, best international basketball player of all time, Disco Dirk added another milestone to his Hall of Fame career this past week when he reached 30,000 points. Watching his teammates and Mark Cuban swarm him on the court was a great moment, congratulations to one of the best to ever lace them up.

2) Bogut fractures leg in first 58 seconds as a Cavalier

Didn’t even make it a minute on the floor. This hurts a lot for both Bogut and the Cavs, the former adds another big injury to his long list, and the Cavaliers lose a key big man in their rotation. If I were David Griffin and the Cavs I would re-visit Larry Sanders and see what he has to offer.

3) Kawhi Leonard’s MVP-level performance against Rockets

I can’t wait to see these two face off come Playoff time. Kawhi Leonard’s performance throughout this game, and especially in the final minute, was outstanding. In the clutch he hits a fadeaway three to take the lead, then gets back on the defensive end to seal the game with a block off the glass on James Harden. LeBron is the best two-way player in the game, but Kawhi is definitely 1b.

4) Warriors lose two straight for the first time in over two years*

Look, I get that it’s a regular season statistic, and if you think about it like that it is pretty impressive. But we can’t forget the fact that they lost three straight to the Cavaliers while up 3-1 in the series, so take this news item with a grain of salt.

5) Spurs clinch a Playoff spot

Kawhi Leonard might be the MVP of the season, Coach Pop is the best in basketball, and their organization is stronger than most in any sport. It would be incredible if they finished on top of the Western Conference, and they hold their own fate in that regard, as they face the Warriors twice more before the season comes to a close.

6) Young Suns slightly odd, but big win against Celtics

If it wasn’t for Kawhi’s heroics at the end of the Spurs-Rockets game, the end of this game would’ve been the best of the week. Most would favour the Celtics over the Suns in a matchup, and the Celtics did hold a lead for a majority of this game. That was until Isaiah Thomas turned the ball over to Tyler Ulis, who hit the game winning three pointer in the dying seconds. It was a tough ending for the Celtics, and a big shot for a young, up-and-coming franchise.

7) Jose Calderon signs with Warriors Hawks

Jose Calderon was basically signed to the Warriors before Kevin Durant’s injury, however following said injury the Warriors desperately needed wing depth so they chose to sign Matt Barnes instead. Luckily for Calderon the Warriors are a classy organization as they signed him before instantly waiving him, resulting in a $415,000 payday. Can’t complain about that.

8) Brooklyn Nets first to be eliminated from Playoff contention

Is anybody really surprised? Celtics fans rejoice, you might be getting the top pick in the 2017 draft. Brooklyn fans, good luck.

9) Russell Westbrook scores career high 58 points in loss, Thunder lose 4 straight

The big night from Russ isn’t the real story, inevitably he’ll have a 60+ point game. The Thunder losing 4 in a row is a problem; after the trade deadline it looked as if they had the potential to rise into a home-court position in the Playoffs, but that future appears bleak. Russ is going to have to start trusting and including his teammates, especially by incorporating newcomers Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott if they want to make noise in the postseason.

10) Taj Gibson’s buzzer beating heave

The shot of the year. Simple as that. From 3/4 court, one handed, the high arching rainbow shot was absolutely perfect. Hitting that shot will have instantly made him a fan favourite down in Oklahoma.

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