This week has been an exciting one to say the least, the storylines are endless. With the NFL season ending last week amid the super bowl, some of the spotlight shined on the NBA and the league did not disappoint.
The buzz of the week swirled around second year New York Knick guard Jeremy Lin. The Harvard graduate has seemingly come out of nowhere to lead the Knicks to five straight victories and has seemingly saved the franchises season in the process. During his coming out party this week Lin scored 28 points vs. Utah, 23 points against Washington, 20 points and the game winning free throws against Minnesota, and sandwiched in-between is a whopping 38 point seven assist effort against a tough LA Lakers squad. Rest assured Lin was the topic of discussion whenever he stepped on the court, even receiving chants of “MVP” from the home fans at Madison Square Garden. With the Knicks star players Carmelo Anthony who suffered a leg injury and Amare’ Stoudemire whose brother died in a car accident, both returning to the starting lineup this week it will be interesting to see how the three mesh together.
Though the Knicks are on a five game win streak, they are not necessarily the hottest team in the NBA right now. That title goes to the veteran laden San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs have not lost since January 29 and are riding a seven game win streak overall. The recent trend of success has helped them shoot up the Western Conference standings where they currently hold the three seed. During the week point guard Tony Parker’s production saw a monumental spike. During a three game stretch this week he scored 37 points and had eight assists against a defensive 76ers team, he had 21 points and seven assists against a solid Memphis team; most impressively he had 42 points and nine assists against the Oklahoma City Thunder who have the best winning percentage in the league. Parker has had to pick up the slack due to an aging roster filled with veterans like Tim Duncan, and Richard Jefferson. The Spurs have certainly hit their stride and will be a team to reckon with for the rest of the season and throughout the playoffs.
The upset of the week had to go to the Orlando Magic when they propelled themselves to a win over the Miami Heat. The Magic attempted a franchise record 42 three pointers making 17 of them. Forward Ryan Anderson kept his career year going hitting five of the 17 threes, and was the Magic’s leading scorer with 27 points. The big man Dwight Howard held down the paint recording a double-double before the first quarter
even ended; by game’s end he had tallied 25 points and 11 rebounds. The Magic’s defense was just as stifling as their offense was. In the second half they held the leading scorer in the NBA Lebron James to zero points, and to 17 points and 10 assist for the entire contest. Dwayne Wade paced the Heats scoring going for 33 points, while forward Chris Bosh chipped in with 12 points and nine rebounds.
During the week the all-star game reserves were announced. With a small sample size the shortened season; the teams with winning records had the majority of the players selected. Only one starter was selected from a team who is not first or second in their division (Carmelo Anthony). While only three reserves (Deron Williams, Kevin Love, Marc Gasol) come from teams who are not first or second. Forwards Paul Pierce of the Celtics and reigning NBA Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki from the Mavericks both made their 10th and 11th all-star game. Joining Pierce on the East squad are forward Chris Bosh of the Heat, sharpshooter Joe Johnson from the Hawks, dynamic guard Deron Williams from the Nets, and first timers forward Andre Igoudala from the upstart 76ers, Luol Deng from the east leading Bulls, and emerging center Roy Hibbert from the Pacers. Teaming with Nowitzki on the West squad are veteran guard Steve Nash of the Suns, guard Tony Parker of the Spurs, guard Russell Westbrook of the Thunder, forward Kevin Love Timberwolves, and for the first time forward LaMarcus Aldridge Trailblazers, and center Marc Gasol of the Grizzlies. The starters for the East squad include reigning MVP Derrick Rose from the Bulls, guard Dwayne Wade of the Heat, also from the Heat forward Lebron James forward Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks, and center Dwight Howard from the hometown Magic. The starting lineup for the West includes guard Chris Paul of the Clippers, guard Kobe Bryant of the Lakers, forward Kevin Durant of the Thunder, forward Blake Griffin of the Clippers, and first time all-star center Andrew Bynum of the Lakers. The game will be held Sunday, February 26 at the Amway Center in Orlando, FL.