Tight race in the West. Heat retake control atop the East. Kevin Love returns in Minnesota.

We are now four weeks into the new NBA season, plenty of things have happened since. Now here are some of the highlights of Week 4 of the 2012-13 NBA season.

 Three teams, fighting atop the West.
Photos ©ph.nba.com
 
On top of the Western Conference Standings, it has been a three-way race featuring teams that are no strangers to lead the conference. Sitting on top the West at the moment are the Memphis Grizzlies who are at 92 and holding on with the best record in the NBA. Then they are followed by the San Antonio Spurs who are at 10-3, and in third are the reigining West Champions Oklahoma City Thunder who are at 10-4. Other teams in the mix in the West include the Los Angeles Clippers and the Golden State Warriors. 12 of the 15 teams out West have more than 6 wins so far this season, which makes the conference more unpredictable on who will end up with playoff berths. Once again, the West has been proven as a wild, wild conference in the NBA.
 
Heat retake control atop the East.
Photo ©NBA/Heat.com
 
The Miami Heat have silently retaken control on top of the Eastern Conference Standings, after then leaders the New York Knicks suffered back-to-back defeats in Texas against both the Mavericks and Rocketsto fall at 8-3 in the standings as compared to the Heat who are at 10-3. For the Heat, they have been doing it with their usual protagonists in tow with their Big Three of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. James, the reigning Season and Finals MVP is averaging 26.2 points which is tied for 4th best in the NBA alongside Rockets guard James Harden, as well as 8.8 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 1 block per game on 53% shooting from the field and 43% shooting from three point range. Bosh is averaging 20.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per outing on 56% field goal shooting. Wade is averaging 18.1 points, 4.7 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals per outing on 47% field goal shooting. The Heat have also been getting help from players like Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole to name a few. With most of the pieces from their title run last season intact, the Heat are well poised to defend the title this season.
 
Kevin Love returns in Minnesota.
Photo ©NBA.com
 
After sitting out the a month with an injury, the Minnesota Timberwolves got a boost with the return of their all-star foward Kevin Love. Love, a member of the gold medal winning US team in the 2012 London Olympics returned to action in their game last Thursday (Wednesday Minneapolis time) against the Denver Nuggets where he made his presence felt scoring a double-double 34 points and 14 rebounds. Unfortunately, the Timberwolves lost the game 101-94 against the Nuggets. As well as losing the next two games against the Trail Blazers in Portland and the Warriors in Oakland, despite Love scoring double-double outings in both games. It has been an unfortunate start to the season for the Timberwolves as they have suffered injuries to players like Love, and recently players likeBrandon Roy and Chase Budinger. Now with Love back in the fold, we’ll see if these men from the north regain their groove and contend for a playoff berth in the West.

Meanwhile last week, LeBron James of the Miami Heathas won his 2nd Eastern Conference Player of the Week award. While out West, a third winner of the Western Conference Player of the Weekthis season has been named in Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Here are how things look in the NBAas of today.

Western Conference:
1. Grizzlies (9-2), 2. Spurs (10-3), 3. Thunder (10-4), 4. Clippers (8-5), 5. Warriors (8-6), 6. Nuggets (7-6), 7. Jazz (7-7), 8. Mavericks (7-7), 9. Trail Blazers (6-6), 10. Lakers (7-7), 11. Suns (6-7), 12. Rockets (6-7), 13. Timberwolves (5-8), 14. Kings (4-9), 15. Hornets (3-8)

Eastern Conference:
1. Heat (10-3), 2. Knicks (8-3), 3. Hawks (8-4), 4. Bucks (6-5), 5. Nets (7-4), 6. Bobcats (7-5), 7. 76ers (7-6), 8. Celtics (7-6), 9. Bulls (6-6), 10. Pacers (6-8), 11. Magic (5-7), 12. Pistons (3-10), 13. Raptors (3-10), 14. Cavaliers (3-10), 15. Wizards (0-10)

So we got a few teams who have garnered 10 wins this season, the race has been tightly contested out West where a win can give a big boost in the standings, while a loss can be costly. Meanwhile out East, the Atlanta Hawks have silently gone up the ladder and are now in third behind the Heat and the Knicks. While the Charlotte Bobcats have already matched their win total last season 12 games in to the new season showing signs of significant improvement from last season where they finished 7-56 which was the worst finish by any team in NBA history. While the Washington Wizards have yet to pick up their first win of the season after 10 games.

Stay tuned, as a new edition of my NBA weekly blog comes out next week.

K-Smoove
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