Roughly 15 games left, just under a month before the postseason begins and the race for the Playoff seeding is getting hotter by the day. In recent years the standings haven’t been this up in the air, and key injuries grow the intrigue even further. Coming down the stretch we’ll see more massive stat-lines, and clutch moments from big-game players as teams turn their focus to the postseason and their potential matchups.
1) Russell Westbrook gets 33rd triple double of season
Westbrook’s amazing season continues, and the accolades continue to pile up. Russ officially has the second most triple doubles in a season, passing Wilt Chamberlain. The best part about his latest triple double is that he heard chants of MVP…in Brooklyn. Only in Brooklyn would the fans chant MVP for a player on the opposing team.
2) LaMarcus Aldridge’s heart scare
Luckily LaMarcus is already back on the floor, but news of a heart arrhythmia is always bad news; whether minor or major. Aldridge sat out two games while receiving scans on his heart, and it appeared as if the Spurs were about to take a major blow to their roster. But luckily for both Aldridge and the Spurs, the tests came back clean and he has returned to game action.
3) Vince Carter scores 24 points at 40 years old
8 for 8 from the floor, including 6 for 6 from downtown, Vincanity threw it back at 40 years old. As a starter he went for 24 points against the Bucks, a team fighting for a spot in the postseason. Throw in the footage of of Vince throwing down a windmill during pre-game warmups and it doesn’t seem as if he’s slowing down anytime soon.
4) First season in 35 years without a coach being fired mid-season
Sounds like this is fake right? Wrong, every season since 1982 has had a head coach fired during the season, and at this point in the year it seems incredibly unlikely that a coach would be fired with so few games left. If a coach had to be fired, I would probably put my money on Alvin Gentry in New Orleans, or Fred Hoiberg in Chicago; but those firings seem more likely in the offseason.
5) Larry Sanders signs with Cavaliers
Back in 2013 Larry Sanders was one of the best up-and-coming centers in the league on a Bucks team that would be incredibly good if he had just stuck to basketball instead of focusing on a music career and marijuana. Watching him play garbage time minutes with the Cavs it’s clear that he’s a shell of his old self, but if he can provide just a little rim protection he can be a worthy contributor for the East-favourite Cavaliers.
6) Elfrid Payton with three triple doubles in the past week
When Elfrid Payton was first drafted, I was so incredibly high on him; higher than his beautifully quaffed hair. However it became clear that his shooting stroke was broken, and his defensive talents haven’t fully translated to the professional game. This past week has been impressive for him, however his Orlando team has lost 4 of their past 5 games. So congratulations Elfrid, you’re finally showing your potential on a team that is terrible.
7) Ricky Rubio drops 10 assists in first quarter
This isn’t all that surprising for a player with such amazing passing skills, but Rubio’s first quarter against the Wizards was a franchise record for the Minnesota point guard. Throw in another franchise record by finishing with 19 assists, Rubio has stepped up his production in the past month. With Kris Dunn off to a slow start in his NBA career, it looks as if Rubio will be sticking around for a while.
8) Lakers shut down Deng and Mozgov for rest of season
Personally I think the Lakers are worse when they play Mozgov over the young Zubac, but the Lakers are so bad they’ll lose no matter who they throw out on the court. Deng sitting out the rest of the year allows Ingram to play more minutes, and going young allows the organization to see who is worth keeping around long term.
9) Jusuf Nurkic posts career high 28, 20, 8 and 6 blocks against Philly
Nurkic was buried on a Denver team that hopes to be in the 8th spot come the end of the season, and ever since being freed with a trade to Portland he has played incredibly well. Just months ago he was receiving DNP – Coaches Decision, and now he’s going for 20/20 games. I believe Denver made the correct decision in choosing Jokic over him, but Nurkic is still a stud big man.
10) Porzingod’s incredible block/snatch
Play of the week by far. Kristaps Porzingis goes up for the block against Spencer Dinwiddie and, well, it’s hard to describe, but he snatched the ball out of mid-air, brought it behind his back, and came down with it. There are a lot of unicorns in the 2017 NBA landscape, but the original is the one, and only, Porzingod.