Week in Review (Dec 11-17)
Players of the Week:
Ben Wallace--Tough choice this week, but got to go with Big Ben for MVP-o-week with the Bulls going 4-0 this week. Ben was just an all-around force this week, check this: 10.3 ppg, 18.8 rpg, 5 apg, 2.8 bpg & 2 spg. How bout 10 pts, 27 rbs, 6 assts, & 3 blks vs. the Bucks. Or 15 pts, 20 boards, & 5 blks vs. the Sonics. This is what the Bulls were anticipating when they made the biggest transaction of the summer. Headband-gate seems pretty overblown now, just like it was at the time.
Yao--What I like best about Yao's play this year, there seems to be more fire & emotion from the big fella. He seemed to be displaying a little bit of a sneer during the 2OT clash with the Lakers, and just totally controlled the painted area on both ends. Especially looked to be a force on defense--he made a huge block on Walton where he seemed to be offended anyone would dare shoot at his basket. Yao dropped 35, 15, & 8 blks on the Lakers. 32.8 ppg, 12 rpg, 3.3 apg & 3.3 bpg for the week.
Kobe--Was sweet in the 2OT tilt vs. the Rockets--53, 10 rbs, 8 asst & 5/8 on 3pts. Then followed it up with going for 45, 10 assts, 8 rbs, & 7/11 from 3pt on Sunday, only to lose in OT to the Wiz, who were propelled by Arenas' 60 pts. 38.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 6.8 apg & 15/33 on 3pts. for the week.
Arenas--Seems to have found some consistency the last few weeks, I would say. Sunday: 60 pts, 8 rbs, 8 assts, 17/32 overall, 5/12 from 3pt. & only 3 TOs for Gil. And the best part was this was a road game, something that has been a huge bugaboo for Gil & the Wiz this season. Another thing was he just put his head down & looked to attack the rim alot, which he does as well as anyone. It's when he loiters outside too much & starts jacking up awful shots that gets him in trouble. He does seem to be throwing up way too many 3s. 40.3, 6.3 apg, 6 rpg, 3.6 tpg, & 48.7% overall for the week.
Nash--Nash just being Nash: 17, 10.8 apg, 4.5 rpg, 51% overall, 45% from 3pt. & the Suns go 4-0 this week.
A. Iguodala--Someone has to pick up the slack with Iverson moving on, & Iggy is the best option in Philly. Iggy put up 20.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 4 apg, 2 spg, & 49% shooting for the week. Although, if he is going to be a #1 option, he has to work on repairing his shooting mechanics.
C. Billups--Does not seem to get much fanfare, but Chauncey is having another rock-solid all-star caliber season. 23.3, 8 apg, 2.3 spg, 52.3 % overall & 7/13 from 3pt for the week. Billups also adds good defensive play that sometimes goes overlooked.
Honor Mention: Pierce; A. Nocioni; B. Gordon; Dirk; Redd; J. O'Neal; E. Curry; R. Hamilton; Hinrich; A. Miller; Deron Williams; M. Miller; R. Lewis; Amare; T. Parker; Duncan; Boozer; Marion; C. Butler; S. May; C. Paul
Celts--On a 5-game winning streak (4-0 this week). Might not have had the stiffest comp this week, but still managed to take care of business on the road & had one impressive win at home vs. the Nugs. Did a solid job defensively this week, as well
Blazers--How bout 4 in a row & 3-0 this week for the Blaze. Wins over the Grizz & Sixers are nothing special, and seeing how inept the Clips are on the road, probably an overrated undefeated week for Blazers. But I felt I had to throw them a bone, since they probably will not be in the Hot Teams section too often.
Raptors--Nice week for this band of hosers from the Great White North--3-1 without Bosh, including a big win down in Orlando. This deserves a toast with a couple of bottles of Elsinore & donuts, make sure they're jelly. Getting solid play from their new Euros, Bargnani & Garbajosa.
Spurs--Same old story, just keep rolling. Won their 4 games this week by an average of 16.5 ppg, and happen to lead the league in point differential. Looks like they're ready for the playoffs to start already.
Suns--Similar to the Spurs, just keep rolling. Undefeated this week, and in the midst of a 14-game winning streak. Toughest team to play & prepare against in the regular season.
Not so Hot Teams:
Clips--0-4 this week. Granted, they played the Spurs, Jazz, & Rockets this week, but they got blasted by both the Spurs & Jazz at home. Then they continue their hapless ways on the road with a loss up in Portland. Had some glaring issues this week: 51.8% Def Fg%, turnover differential of +5.5 per game & 6/32 from 3pt. 3pt shooting has been a problem all season--they are dead last in 3pt%. Their defense has not been quite up to par this season, after having two underrated seasons under Dunleavy. If you want the best insight into the Clips & their early season struggles, just go over to the Clippersblog.com, Kevin can breakdown the Clips as well as anyone.
Sonics--In the midst of a 5-game road trip without the services of Ray Allen--0-4 this week. Had pretty much the same problems the Clips had--turned the ball over way too much & poor 3pt shooting (26.8%). Not good for a team who loves the long bomb.
Games of the Week:
Lakers @ Bulls (Tues)--Two of the hotter teams right now square off in Chi.
Raptors @ Suns (Tues)--The Raps coming off a 3-1 week try to cut down the Suns' 14-game winning streak. Also, Bryan Colangelo returns to Phoenix, where you know he would love to stick it to his old employer.
Rockets @ Spurs (Fri)--Hopefully, T-Mac is back for this titanic Texas tilt. If so, best game of the week. Keep your fingers crossed for a game in the low 80s or 70s.
Magic @ Cavs (Sat)--Two of the top teams in the East, & two of the top board teams in the NBA.