They call these middling months of the NBA season a slog, but there is no shortage of news and highlights going around this week.
More Lakers Chat
People don’t like the fact that the Los Angeles Lakers take up so many column inches. But what do you expect when one of the biggest franchises in the world – headlined by one of the biggest sports stars in the world – continues to struggle so late into the NBA season?
Currently 26-28 for 9th in the Western Conference, the Lakers are out to $19 in the championship market. They’re simply not very good and it starts with their newest big-name recruit.
Boo’s rung around the arena in Los Angeles as Westbrook bricked one of his nine misses against the New York Knicks. Tired of seeing the same poor shots clang off the rim (this one didn’t even hit iron), Lakers fans are demanding change. They’re running out of time, though. Given Westbrook’s inflated contract and deflating influence on a team, the Lakers will struggle to shift him before the trade deadline.
Russell Westbrook tonight:
in 29 MINS
That’s the fewest points he’s had in a game when playing 25+ minutes since 2011. pic.twitter.com/Mlbhf6gztr
— StatMuse (@statmuse) February 6, 2022
Starting Westbrook on the bench for overtime, Frank Vogel is looking for a response. But we’ve been here already this season. Westbrook is who he is and the start to this season is all the proof we need to know that he’s not going to change. Stick a fork in this version of the Lakers when it comes to the championship. They’re done.
Now To Former Laker, Julius Randle
The erstwhile Laker doesn’t seem to be happy in New York this season.
Following a career-best 2020-21 season, the wheels have fallen off Julius Randle and he is rumoured to be looking for a change. They’re only rumours at this stage and his apparent trade request is unofficial. However, it’s 2022 and NBA players do things differently now. This isn’t Kobe Bryant publically slamming his young centre before demanding he be moved.
Randle unfollowed the Knicks on Instagram…
Julius Randle last 2 years
— 46 FG%
— 41 3P%
— 30 FG%
— 33 3P%
— First round exit
— 41 FG%
— 30 3P%
— Unfollowed Knicks on Instagram pic.twitter.com/GSElSte2fH
— StatMuse (@statmuse) February 4, 2022
Nets: Possibly Not Good?
The Brooklyn Nets don’t need any more issues or disruptions.
Kevin Durant is out with yet another lengthy injury.
James Harden has been exposed.
Kyrie Irving is only there for half the games.
They’ve now lost seven games on the bounce to barely be free of a play-in spot in the Eastern Conference.
Playing with an eighth-ranked 112.1 offensive rating ensures they’re always in a game. Despite Harden’s struggles and the unavailability of Durant and Irving, the Nets can still pile up points when it all clicks. The problem is, however, they rarely make it click. Irving, Durant and Harden have only played 141 possessions together. Where there might be some optimism for their head-scratching $4.50 favouritism in the championship market is the fact they score 117 points per 100 possessions. Brooklyn’s offence overall scores 113.3 points per 100 possessions to be 8th in the NBA while the trio’s 117 points per 100 possessions would be good for best in the league.
A lot needs to go right for the Nets if they’re to get the job done. Rumours of Harden’s name in trade discussions doesn’t help matters. Still, if all three can get through the trade deadline and onto the court together, there might be something in their $4.50.
NBA Championship Odds
Counting Out The Clippers
“Should Leonard return relatively fit and George hits the ground running following his absence, LA’s current $39 to win the NBA championship appeals. Unlike previous seasons where the Clippers have talked the talked before walking the walk, this group is going about their business.” – NBA Week 15 In Review
Welp, it doesn’t sound as though that is going to happen…
Tyronn Lue dropped a “we know Kawhi (Leonard) is probably not gonna come back” nugget in postgame.
— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) February 4, 2022
The LA Clippers have had some really good moments this year. Quietly going about their work without Kawhi Leonard and with Paul George spending an extended period on the sideline, the Clippers are 27-27 for 8th in the Western Conference. There was a chance that the pair returned and linked up for long enough before the playoffs for this team to cause a few problems.
However, following the news of Leonard’s unlikely return, the Clippers are now out to $56.
Bane’s Tribute To Benaud
On February 2, 2022 (2/2/22) Demond Bane produced a box score that would have Ritchie Benaud smiling from ear to ear.
Desmond Bane tonight (2/2/22):
22.2 FG% (4/18)
Oh, and he wears No. 22 🤯 pic.twitter.com/WButhUs32A
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 3, 2022