Like every week, Westport takes stock of the past week in the NBA, with the satisfactions and disappointments. This week, the New Orleans Pelicans take power in the Western Conference, while in the East, the Brooklyn Nets return to the race by integrating the top 4. Back to the 8th week of competition in the NBA.
NBA: the Nets return to form, the Pelicans in control
The weeks follow each other and look alike in the Eastern Conference, with the Boston Celtics (21-6) who dominate despite a last defeat on the ground of the reigning NBA champions, the Warriors. Nevertheless, do not panic in Massachusetts, where the duo Tatum–Brown keep marching on the League. At the base of the Bostonian franchise, the Milwaukee bucks (19-7) still do not let go. The partners of Giannis Antetokounmpo (31.1 points, 11.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists) are not brilliant but still remain solid. If the Cleveland Riders (17-10) are still clinging to their place on the podium, a team returns to the race, the brooklyn net (16-12). The teammates of Kevin During (30 points, 6.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists) and Kyrie Irving (25.3 points and 4.5 assists). With 8 wins in 10 games, Brooklyn players have installed a defense (111.3 pts conceded) which allows them to limit their opponents on certain sequences. The new coach in place, Jack Vaughn, imposes its paw and the players seem more concerned than during the presence of Steve Nash. If the balance is still precarious among the Nets, there is no doubt that the latest results will help the Nets to work in serenity!
In the western conferencea team is unstoppable right now, the New Orleans Pelicans (18-8). Yet deprived of Brandon Ingram (MIP 2020), the Pels remain on 7 consecutive victories, with in particular successes references on the Nuggets and the Suns. The New Orleans collective shines on both sides of the field with the 4th NBA offense (117.6 points scored) and the 8th defense (110.6 points conceded). Worn by their number 1 in the 2019 draft, Zion Williamson (see below), the Pels fly out of the Western Conference. But they are not the only ones to impose a hellish pace on their opponents, because behind, the Memphis Grizzlies (17-9) are still blowing on the neck of the Louisiana franchise. Ja morant (27.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 7.8 assists) and his young guard are in good shape with 5 straight wins, despite the absence of Desmond Bane. Second assessment of the league last season, the players of the Tennessee are still formidable this season despite still leaps in concentrations. With young staff, the future of the Western Conference may go through these 2 franchises.
What’s wrong with the Heat and the Bulls?
In the top 6 of the Eastern Conference last year and after a summer where the stability of the squad was the priority, the Miami Heat (12-15) and the Chicago Bulls (11-15) are no longer the same teams. In Florida, round trips to the infirmary of Jimmy Butler play an important role in team dynamics, where Tyler Herro and bam Adebayo, strong as they are, fail to put on the superhero costume. In Illinois, the spring seems broken. Yet still with his big three Lavine–FromRozan–vucevic, the Bulls find no consistency in their results and efforts. Resigned at a high price during the summer, Zach Lavine saw his offensive production go from 24.8 points to 21.8 points, and the visual impression left by the former Wolves player does not bode well. It is quite possible to think that adjustments to the 2 teams will be made before February 9, the NBA transfer deadline.
In the Western conference, a team worried for a few days, the phoenix Suns. With 4 defeats on the clock last week, the teammates of diviner Booker saw the return of Chris Paul, without changing the situation. It was above all the gaps conceded that accentuated this sense of urgency, with an average gap of more than 15 points. Every franchise has a tough time in an NBA season and the Suns’ one is happening right now.
NBA Player of the Week: Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans)
Undefeated for 2 weeks, the New Orleans Pelicans are, however, without one of their best players, Brandon Ingram. And if the results are there, it’s also because Zion Williamson has raised its level of play to touch the stars a little more. With a week to 33 points on average (more than 70% on shots!), 8.3 rebounds and 4 assists, the number 1 of the 2019 draft was simply unplayable. Playing fair and often close to the circle, the interior of the Pelicans understood that his game was not outside but well and truly inside the key. His explosiveness and his left hand making the difference, Zion Williamson shows that he is rid of his physical problems, to the delight of his Louisiana franchise and the fans!
We would like to thank the writer of this post for this outstanding material
NBA Week 8 review: The Pels fly over the West