Five weeks into the 2012-13 NBA season, here are some of the happenings from Week 5 of the season
Spurs fined $250,000 for resting 4 key players
The San Antonio Spurs have been fined by the NBA $250,000. The fine came as the Spurs decided hours before their 100-105 road loss against the Miami Heat to sit out their three star players + 1 player on their roster namely Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green. It all came to a decision by head coach Gregg Popovich who decided to sit out his star players after the Spurs underwent a grueling early-season road trip. Fans had mixed reactions about the fine, some say the fine is well played, while others think that the team should had not been fined. After the fine was imposed though, the Spurs came back home and responded with a 99-95 overtime win over the West leading Memphis Grizzlies. Parker scored 30 points and 6 assists, while Duncan added 27 points and 15 rebounds. Life goes on in the Alamo City as the Spurs continue to challenge for control of the Western Conference.
Thunder getting their grove out West.
The reigning Western Conference Champions Oklahoma City Thunder are riding on a 5 game winning streak and are tied for second place at 14-4 with the San Antonio Spurs. Their wins include against teams like the Philadelphia 76ers in Philadelphia, Charlotte Bobcats at home, Utah Jazzat home, New Orleans Hornets in New Orleans and a win at home against the Houston Rockets in which guard James Harden returns to Oklahoma City after being traded to Houston before the season began. The reigning scoring champion Kevin Durant has currently dropped his scoring averages averaging 26.2 points per outing which is 2nd best in the NBA, but has improved other assets of his game averaging 8.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocks per outing on 51% shooting from the field, 44% shooting from three point range and 90% shooting at the line. Russell Westbrook who has been dubbed a “selfish” player last season has dropped more assists so far this season averaging 8.7 assists per outing to go along 20.7 points, 5.1 rebounds ans 2.1 steals per outing on 41% shooting from the field. The Thunder had also gotten help from players like Kevin Martin who arrived from Houston in the Harden deal is now embracing his role as the 6th man coming off the Thunder bench, Serge Ibaka has also improved his numbers while maintaining his great shotblocking ability. As well as role players like Thabo Sefolosha, Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison to name a few. This team had so far learned it’s lesson after a bitter defeat in the NBA Finals last season. This team is once again ready to compete for one more shot at the NBA championship.
Champs on a hot streak.
The defending NBA champions Miami Heat are riding a hot streak, currently riding the longest winning streak in the NBA right now at six wins. The Heat are also leading the Eastern Conference with a record of 12-3, a game ahead of the New York Knicks. Their wins include against the Nuggets and Suns on the road, the Bucks, Cavaliers, Spurs and recently against the Nets at home. Their win against the Spurs involves another big shot by Ray Allen late in the fourth quarter and it was a close call for the champions as they played the game with the Spurs sitting out their Big 3 in Parker, Duncan and Ginobili. In today’s game, the Heat came back from a 14 point first half deficit to defeat the Brooklyn Nets 102-89. Dwayne Wade led the Heat with 34 points and 7 assists while LeBron James added 21 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Ray Allen scored 13 off the bench, while Norris Cole added 12 points. The Heat are looking good early in the East, the question is can they hold their ground and contend for a back-to-back this season. That we will have to see.
Meanwhile, last week Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs was named the Western Conference Player of the Week. Duncan is the 4th player this season to be awarded in the West. While Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week. Horford is the 3rd player this season to be awarded in the East.
Here’s how the standings look like in the NBA today:
1. Grizzlies (12-3), 2. Thunder (14-4), 3. Spurs (14-4), 4. Warriors (10-6), 5. Clippers (10-6), 6. Jazz (9-9), 7. Lakers (8-8), 8. Rockets (8-8), 9. Nuggets (8-9), 10. Mavericks (8-9), 11. Timberwolves (7-8), 12. Suns (7-10), 13. Trail Blazers (7-10), 14. Hornets (4-11), 15. Kings (4-12)
1. Heat (12-3), 2. Knicks (11-4), 3. Nets (11-5), 4. Bucks (8-7), 5. Hawks (9-5), 6. 76ers (10-7), 7. Bulls (8-7), 8. Celtics (9-8), 9. Pacers (8-8), 10. Bobcats (7-8), 11. Magic (5-10), 12. Pistons (5-13), 13. Cavaliers (4-13), 14. Raptors (4-13), 15. Wizards (1-13)
Once again, the race out West has been tightly contested. 13 of the 15 teams have picked up at least 7 wins. With the Warriors and Clippers contending for the lead in the Pacific Division and the Lakers coming off the heels of these two squads.Meanwhile out East, the Hawks and 76ers have better records against the Central Division leading Milwaukee Bucks, and finally the Wizards have picked up a win this season.
Keep in touch for a new edition of the weekly NBA blog, next week.