NBA Games of the Week 2/12-2/18
Source: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images North America
Well, the All-Star break is finally here and the regular season will come to a halt for about a week. The final regular season games will take place on Thursday February 15th and will not start up again until the following Thursday, the 22nd. The hope was that the changes that the NBA made to the All-Star game would make it more exciting, but with all of the injuries that have taken place their priorities may have shifted. Hopefully, the games will go off without any injuries and we can enjoy the 2nd half of the season.
Monday February 12th
New Orleans Pelicans at Detroit Pistons (7PM EST)
This is the 2nd and final meeting of the season between these two teams. The Pelicans won the first game in New Orleans at the beginning of January. These teams have changed drastically since that game. The Pistons traded for Blake Griffin and the Pelicans lost DeMarcus Cousins and traded for Nikola Mirotic.
The Pelicans are 2-5 since Cousins went down for the season. Mirotic has played in four games with the team and has played well. He had a monster game on Saturday against the Nets that could be a springboard for this team moving forward. The Pelicans are currently 29-26, good enough for the 8th seed with the Clippers just a half game back in the 9th spot.
The Pistons are 4-1 since Griffin joined the lineup and they find themselves a game and a half back of Philadelphia for the final playoff spot in the East. The Pistons have got to win if they hope to catch Philadelphia or overtake another team in the playoff race. With Blake Griffin in tow, the Pistons could conceivably cause some major matchup issues for teams at the top of the East.
Tuesday February 13th
Houston Rockets at Minnesota Timberwolves (8PM EST)
The Rockets won the first game in this season series by 18 points. That game was in Houston and James Harden did not have a good one. Both teams stood pat at the deadline, but the Rockets have added Brandan Wright and Joe Johnson to the mix while there are rumors that the Timberwolves might add Derrick Rose, in a move that would make no sense.
The Rockets are at the number two spot in the West and thanks to some uninspired play by the Warriors, they are only one game out of 1st place. The Rockets are on a 7 game winning streak. They have won 5 of those games by double digits and have looked pretty good.
The Timberwolves are still stuck in the 4th spot and have lost 6 of their last 9 including a tough loss to the Bulls on Friday night. The Timberwolves have been up and down all season despite the brilliance of Jimmy Butler. It feels like the Timberwolves might be stuck here all season.
Wednesday February 14th
Golden State Warriors at Portland Trail Blazers (10:30PM EST)
The Warriors won the first game in this season series at home, but now travel to the northwest to take on the suddenly 5th seeded Trail Blazers. Neither team made any deals to change their teams, although the Warriors are in rumors in regards to potential buyout players.
The Warriors just look bored and angry. They have the biggest chip on their shoulder and they throw more tantrums on the court than any team I have seen in some time. They have been on an amazing run for three and a half seasons and it seems to have taken quite a toll. In order to secure the number one seed in the West, the Warriors will have to pick up their intensity and get some wins. They are 3-3 in their last 6 and have had some tough losses to the Nuggets and Thunder. The All-Star break could not be a more welcome sight for the defending champs.
The Trail Blazers have been good lately. They are 6-3 in their last 9 games and are not out of striking distance to overtake Minnesota for the 4th seed in the West. They are only 2 games back of the Timberwolves.
Thursday February 15th
Denver Nuggets at Milwaukee Bucks (8PM EST)
This will be the 1st game of the season for these two teams. They will finish the season series in April.
The Nuggets are currently in the 7th spot in the West, just half a game ahead of the Pelicans and one game behind the Thunder and Trail Blazers. Denver has played well as of late winning 7 of their last 10 games. Jamal Murray has struggled to score consistently during their great play and they have relied a great deal on Nikola Jokic. Jokic is playing great at this moment and the Nuggets have done a great job staying afloat in the hopes that they can get Paul Millsap back in time for the playoffs.
The Bucks are in the 5th seed at the moment in the Eastern Conference, but there is not much separation between seeds 3 and 8 in the East. The Bucks are currently half a game back of the Wizards for the 4 seed and one and a half games back of the Cavaliers for the 3rd seed. The Bucks are 8-2 in their last 10, but they have really beat up on bad teams during that stretch. The Bucks will have a tough schedule after the All-Star break.
Friday February 16th
Team World vs Team USA (9PM EST)
The Rising Stars game rosters are set. The Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers have three players each. They are followed by the Sacramento Kings, Boston Celtics, and Chicago Bulls with two players each. My prediction for this game is that there will be a lot of dunks and not much defense.
Sunday February 18th
Team Lebron vs Team Stephen (8PM EST)
There have been so many injuries to All-Stars leading up to this game that it is unclear who is actually playing in the game. Team Lebron has injuries to DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Love, Kristaps Porzingis, and John Wall. They will be replaced by Kemba Walker, Paul George, Andre Drummond, and Goran Dragic. Team Stephen is intact and will play the game with original rosters. You can see full rosters here.