This Week in the NBA
With games resuming after the All-Star break and the midseason trade deadline coming to pass, it certainly was a busy week in the NBA. Though there are no blockbuster deals to be discussed, there was plenty of action around the league as teams continue to jockey for playoff position.
Graphic by Trevor Waddell/Old Gold & Black
Without further ado, let’s take a look at what has been happening around the association in the week from Feb. 17-24.
1) Miami Heat (3-0)
a. The Heat surged into the All-Star break on a seven-game winning streak capped off by a 10-point road win over Oklahoma City. After this, the Heat picked up right where they left off. Miami handled three potential playoff teams in the Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls and Philadelphia 76ers, by an average of 18.7 points. LeBron James, in the midst of another masterful season, posted a tripe-double with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists over Philadelphia, while Dwyane Wade chipped in 33 points of his own.
2) Indiana Pacers (3-0)
a. The Pacers are peaking at the right time. They are using their stifling defense to smother opponents and are riding first time All-Star Paul George to a four game win streak. This week included a 34-point drubbing of the New York Knicks and blowout wins at home and on the road against the Detroit Pistons. With Danny Granger back in the fold and Indiana leapfrogging New York for second place in the Eastern Conference, fans should expect big things from the Pacers going forward.
3) San Antonio Spurs (2-1)
a. The Spurs dropped a heartbreaking overtime game at Golden State on Feb. 22nd, but managed to beat the L.A. Clippers by 26 at Staples Center. Before the loss to the Warriors, San Antonio had won 16 of 17 games behind the brilliant play of Tony Parker (31 points and seven assists against Los Angeles) and former Demon Deacon Tim Duncan (19 points and 13 rebounds against Golden State). Not to mention, the Spurs boast the NBA’s best record at 44-13.
L.A. Lakers Owner Dr. Jerry Buss, 80, passes away.
The man responsible for bringing “Showtime” to Los Angeles and making the Lakers a household name, Dr. Gerald “Jerry” Buss, passed away from an undisclosed form of cancer. Buss had been in and out the hospital in recent months.
Buss purchased the Lakers for $67.5 million in 1979 and turned them into one of the league’s marquee teams, winning 10 NBA titles along the way. At the time of his passing, the Lakers franchise was worth $1 billion dollars, according to Forbes’ Kurt Badenhausen.
Buss, renowned around the league for his love of showmanship, was buried in a private ceremony Feb. 22.
Few Surprises at the Trade Deadline
The NBA trade deadline was Thursday, Feb. 21 at 3:00 PM, and it came and went without any star players switching teams. Many fans and experts expected players like Atlanta’s Josh Smith or Boston’s Kevin Garnett to switch teams, but the biggest move of the deadline was the Milwaukee Bucks acquiring J.J. Redick from the Orlando Magic. Former Demon Deacon star Ish Smith was shipped to Milwaukee in the same deal. Other deals include the Boston Celtics acquiring scorer Jordan Crawford for Leandro Barbosa and Jason Collins and the Houston Rockets snagged former no. 5 overall pick Thomas Robinson from the Sacramento Kings for a package centered around Patrick Patterson.
Kobe Bryant Stakes his Claim
Despite struggling up until the All-Star break and sitting with a record of 27-29, Kobe Bryant recently said he believes his Los Angeles Lakers will not only make the playoffs, but make some noise as well, according to ESPN.
The Lakers sit three games back of the Houston Rockets (31-27) heading into Sunday’s showdown with the Dallas Mavericks. In their last game, a home victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, Kobe poured in 40 points and snagged seven rebounds to push Los Angeles into eighth place.