Each week Ball So Hard, in association with Fiasco Sports, will be bringing you a comprehensive wrap of the past week’s best performers from the NBA. Did your favourite player have a dominant week? Did he make the cut for the Team of the Week? Check out our selections below and let us know your thoughts in the comment section.
Note: The Team of the Week has a strict positional structure – two guards, two forwards and a centre in the starting five, plus a three-guard, three-forward and two-centre bench. Selections are strictly position dependant. Players must also play a minimum of three games over the seven days.
In a crucial week for final playoff seeding, Miami Heat faultered slightly in their attempt to take hold of the first seed in the Eastern Conference, going 2-3 for the week. However, superstar LeBron James did his best to push the Heat over the top, averaging 33.4 points (most in the league), 7.0 rebounds, 4.6 steals and 1.2 steals per game, while shooting 55.3% from the floor and 42.3% from beyond the arc.
Making up the backcourt in this week’s Team of the Week is a pair of free-scoring guards.
Golden State Warriors sharpshooter Steph Curry was on fire from the field over his three-game schedule, averaging 28.3 points (fifth in the league) on 56.3% field goal, 50.0% three-point and 100.0% free throw shooting. Curry was also averaged the third-most assist per game for the week with 11.3 per contest.
Meanwhile, James Harden of the Houston Rockets helped his squad to a 3-2 record over the week, averaging 28.2 points (sixth in the league), 10.2 assists (fifth), 4.6 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game.
Curry and Harden were the only players to hand out more than 10 assists while scoring more than 20 points per game over the week.
Rounding out the starting five is a couple of the league’s most energetic hustle players: Kenneth Faried and Joakim Noah.
Faried was his usual frantic-rebounding self, grabbing 15.0 per game, but was also impressive scoring the ball, putting in 20.3 points per game (at 52.1% from the field) over his four-game week. Faried’s Nuggets also went 3-1 over the week.
But perhaps the most impressive stat line of the week goes to Noah, who almost averaged a triple-double through three games – 11.3 points, 14.0 rebounds and 9.7 assists per game– while also continuing to be a menace on the defensive end – 1.3 steals and 2.0 blocks per night.
Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe came extremely close to making the starting five thanks to his exceptional all-around performance through a four-game week. The former Clipper averaged 23.3 points (on 61.4% FG and 50.0% 3FG), 6.3 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 3.0 steals (tied third in the league) for the Suns.
Also unlucky to find himself on the bench, Thunder guard Russell Westbrook was similarly impressive across the box score, averaging 29.0 points (50.7% FG), 6.7 rebounds and 7.0 assists through three games – a stretch that Oklahoma City went 2-1.
Rounding out the bench backcourt, Chris Paul (21.7 points, 8.0 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game) continued to ready his Los Angeles Clippers team for the playoffs, going 2-1 for the week. He also enjoyed an efficient week shooting the ball, going 53.7% from the field and 53.3% from deep.
Paul’s teammate Blake Griffin was also impressive for the third-seeded Clippers, averaging 26.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.7 steals per game. Like Paul, he also shot the ball extremely well, hitting 51.9% from the field and 33.3% from three – which is impressive considering Griffin’s history of poor outside shooting.
Also representing the Western Conference, Kevin Durant (28.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.3 steals) continued his run towards the MVP, as he carried the Thunder to a 3-1 record over the past seven days.
However, the Eastern Conference is not without a representative. Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap was in fantastic form (18.6 points [50.7% FG), 11.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks through five games) as he led his team to a 4-1 record, as they clinched the final postseason spot out East.
The Eastern Conference also enjoyed a pair of sensational performances from the centre position.
The Detroit Pistons may have gone 0-3 for the week, but big man Andre Drummond manned the pivot exceptionally. The 20-year-old former UConn Huskie averaging a monster double-double of 18.7 points and 19.0 rebounds per game while shooting 64.2% from the field.
Likewise, the Sacramento Kings continued to struggle, going 1-3 last week, but the play of DeMarcus Cousins continued to impress. The enigmatic pivot notching 28.5 points, 12.0 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.5 blocks over his four-game week, making him one of only five players to average at least 20 points and 10 rebounds for the week.
Al Jefferson – 27.0 PPG, 13.3 RPG, 3.0 APG, 58.5% FG, 2-1 record
Marcin Gortat – 17.3 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 52.4% FG, 2-1 record
Timofey Mozgov – 17.8 PPG, 13.0 RPG, 1.5 BPG, 60.4% FG, 3-1 record
LaMarcus Aldridge – 21.7 PPG, 13.3 RPG, 1.7 BPG, 3-0 record
Monta Ellis – 25.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 4.5 APG, 50.6% FG, 46.2% 3FG, 3-1 record
Omer Asik – 11.6 PPG, 14.6 RPG, 1.6 BPG, 57.1% FG, 3-1 record
Gorgui Dieng – 14.0 PPG, 14.0 RPG, 2.3 BPG, 50.0% FG
Check out our Team of the Week archives here.