The last few weeks in the league have been a treat, haven’t they? It’s a good time to be an NBA fan. Some killer scoring performances and teams swinging momentum have punctuated what’s been a great regular season so far. The surprising seasons so far by the East’s Raptors and Hawks have helped offset the talk of the years long dominance in the Western conference. It’s just a gauntlet out there. Truly great teams have the chance to slip position and even possibly fall out of the playoff race with just a short lapse in play.
Speaking of that Western race, the Northwest division is the only one that’s looking like it might already be settled. With LaMarcus Aldridge opting against surgery during the season, it seems unlikely that they’ll be caught by the Thunder. Playing through the pain most likely ensures a longer recovery time during the offseason and hints at a willingness to stay in Portland, this being a contract year. But the Thunder have more than problems than just worrying about the Blazers. They have to fight into playoff seeding first. Having two of the best ten or so guys in the NBA always gives you a chance, but even when both Westbrook and Durant have been healthy the chemistry has seemed off. Now, a little more than halfway through the season, it’s not a certainty that they even catch the Suns and seems almost a sure thing that they don’t work themselves into a higher seed. The defending champion Spurs now rest in the seven spot at 30-17. That would be fourth in the East. Let’s be honest, they’d be called favorites playing in the East, as most of the Western contenders would be. It’s absurd really.
Kyrie went and had himself a game. After Lebron sat out for a few weeks, his arrival meant good things for the Cavs. They’re back to their winning ways, while playing better D. They were winners of seven straight heading into the game versus the Blazers with Lebron missing another game. It became the Kyrie Show and it did not disappoint. With eleven threes and fifty-five points, clarity was once again there on why Lebron was comfortable coming home. Champions are rarely made out of teams with one dominant shot creator. Not in today’s NBA. It was an impressive feat. Though still not as impressive as the next game we’ll talk about.
For twelve minutes during an otherwise inspiring game, Klay Thompson became the sun. In a barrage of shots, threes, and at least one dunk Klay shredded the opposition in a way that has never been seen. Not only did he set the NBA all time record for points in a quarter, he gave everyone video evidence of what exactly a hot hand looks like. This was some Larry Bird stuff. Klay was throwing up dog trash and it was falling like some NBA Jam madness.
All Star Weekend
Here on the Backdoor Cut, we’re not looking to get too much into All Star snubs, but let’s be real with ourselves. Damian Lillard is an All Star. He and Aldridge make up one of the best one-two combos in the league. What we will do is name a couple meaningless winners for the weekend in NYC.
- All Star Game Winner: Western Conference
- All Star MVP: Stephen Curry
- Dunk Contest Winner: Zach LaVine
- 3 Point Contest Winner: Kyle Korver
- Rising Stars Game: The World
That three point shootout has the makings of an epic contest. Possibly the best collection of shooters ever assembled. Zach LaVine isn’t a big minutes or big name guy in Minny but the man doesn’t so much jump as he does float. And Steph’s game should show up well in that kind of contest.
The Road Ahead
Earlier we mentioned NBA Jam when talking about the Blazers top two guys. That brings up one of a couple things we’ll be implementing soon on The Backdoor Cut. Deciding the top NBA Jam duo in the league today. And in the upcoming weeks we’ll be looking at the strongest NBA mascots in a Mortal Kombat style tourney bracket. Thanks for stopping by The Backdoor Cut. Feel free to leave your thoughts below.