NBA – Week 22 In Review

It was all about the point in Week 22 of the NBA season as LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Karl-Anthony Towns made headlines. Meanwhile, Ja Morant made it clear who he thinks should be the Defensive Player of the Year.

LeBron James Watch

It was never meant to be this hard for the Los Angeles Lakers but LeBron James is still out there making it look easy at times.

He scored 38 points, dragged down 10 rebounds and handed out six assists as the Lakers fell 127-119 to the Washington Wizards. Another game, another loss for the Lakers. However, this one ended up as meaningful for James who jumped up to second on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

The Lakers are barely hanging onto a spot in the play-in tournament at this stage. At 30-41 and six wins behind the LA Clippers for 8th, the best the Lakers can hope for now is to welcome Anthony Davis back into the rotation with enough time to ramp things up before an unlikely playoff push.

Tell Us What You Really Think, Ja!

Jaren Jackson Jr. leads the NBA in total blocks, is second in blocks per game and opponents shoot 13.7% worse at the rim when guarded by the Memphis Grizzlies big man. He’s an influential piece of a defence allowing only 109 points per 100 possessions – 6th fewest in the NBA.

Still, he doesn’t seem to be rating much of a mention in the discussions around Defensive Player of the Year, and Ja Morant isn’t happy.

It’s the time of year when these awards can swing. Whether they admit it or not, voters will consider the most recent games a little more than those earlier in the season when placing their vote.

Jackson Jr. has 11 more games this season to make his case.

Defensive Player of the Year Top 10

Bam Adebayo $2.10
Rudy Gobert $2.60
Giannis Antetokounmpo $7
Jaren Jackson Jr. $14
Robert Williams $14
Mikal Bridges $15
Draymond Green $34
Joel Embiid $51
Marcus Smart $51
Evan Mobley $51


KAT Explodes For 60

Karl-Anthony Towns accomplished the rare feat of winning the NBA’s All-Star 3-point contest as a post player before connecting on seven shots from beyond the arc on his way to 60 points during the week.

On the two year anniversary of his mother’s passing, the 26-year-old exploded to hit 19 of his 31 shots – while also pulling down 17 boards – as the Minnesota Timberwolves dropped 149 points on the San Antonio Spurs.

Towns finally feels appreciated and celebrated at the Timberwolves. It’s been a point of contention for a few years but he looks happy and the franchise is better for it. The fact they are 42-30 for 7th in the Western Conference and a good chance of making the playoffs for only the second time since the 2003-04 NBA season isn’t a coincidence. Nor are their ten wins in 11 games.

Towns is playing some of the best basketball of his career and the Timberwolves are finally, finally relevant late in an NBA season.

Irving’s 60

There is a bittersweetness to watching Kyrie Irving score 41 points in the first half and 60 for the game.

He’s one of the best scorers in the NBA and few make scoring 60 points on 31 shots look quite so easy. The problem is, there was never any chance he would back up that 60-point game with another strong outing anytime soon afterwards. With three home games on the bounce following the Brooklyn Nets’ 150-108 win over the Orlando Magic, it will be over a week before Irving sets foot on the court again.

It makes things difficult for a Nets side struggling for cohesion. We saw how the lack of time together on the court affected the dynamic between Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden. Now the Nets are juggling Irving and his vaccination status alongside Ben Simmons’ back as he waits to make his season and franchise debut.

They look like the best team in the NBA at times, but not often enough to be confident in their chances of winning the NBA championship ($6.50).