Klay’s record, Kobe hurt, All-Stars … and now an encore
MIAMI (AP) Not much happened in the NBA this week.
Klay Thompson scored an NBA-record 37 points in a perfect quarter that defied even video-game logic, Kobe Bryant’s season likely ended, Brandon Jennings’ season definitely ended, the All-Star starter selections were revealed with Stephen Curry winning the overall vote and Kyle Lowry getting enough Twitter love to edge Dwyane Wade as a starter, Atlanta remained insanely hot, LeBron James airballed a free throw and Miami’s Hassan Whiteside became the sixth player to post a 14-point, 13-rebound, 12-block game.
OK, other than that, not much happened.
So what will this coming week do for an encore?
Well, there’s the announcement of the All-Star reserves, which will bring a fair amount of intrigue. The Hawks – now winners of 16 straight – play the final three games of their seven-game homestand, so that streak might not be ending anytime soon. And don’t look now, but the Cleveland Cavaliers have suddenly won six in a row, putting a quick end to all that speculation about David Blatt’s short-term job security.
Here’s a more in-depth look at the week ahead:
SOUTHWEST BATTLES: The best divisional race in the NBA will be in the Southwest, and it heats up this week when Memphis faces Dallas on Tuesday, then the Mavericks meet Houston the following night. Here’s how good those teams have been this season: San Antonio is a fourth-place team in that division right now.
PIERCE IN L.A.: Washington visits the Lakers on Tuesday, which means Paul Pierce returns to Los Angeles – he was born in Oakland, but went to high school in the L.A. suburb of Inglewood. In 34 past games in Los Angeles, including playoffs, Pierce has averaged 23.3 points.
BIG SUNDAY IN BOSTON: The Celtics are home on Sunday, playing host to the Miami Heat. If Boston fans, some of the best in the NBA, seem distracted it’s for a very good reason: That game starts 5 1/2 hours before the New England Patriots meet the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl. There’s only two NBA games on Super Bowl Sunday, both should end long before kickoff and none of the teams involved – the Heat, Celtics, Lakers and Knicks – have to play the next day, so everyone would theoretically have the chance to watch the Pats-Seahawks game if so inclined.
HAWKS WEEK: Atlanta has games against Brooklyn, Portland and Philadelphia, as the Hawks look to extend their winning streak. The Hawks are 37-8 so far this season. They went 38-44 last season.
CAVS AT WOLVES: Kevin Love makes his return to Minnesota in Cleveland colors on Saturday night, and as if proof is needed that the former Timberwolves’ star’s first appearance there as an opponent is a big deal, consider that tickets on the secondary resale markets are going for about five times as much as they do for most other Minnesota games.
STAT OF THE WEEK, PART I: Thompson has more 37-point quarters this season on his own – one – than four teams, Brooklyn, Detroit, Indiana and Miami.
STAT OF THE WEEK, PART II: On Saturday, Pierce made his 2,000th 3-pointer of his career. He’s the fourth player in NBA history to get there, and the first forward on that list (joining Ray Allen, Reggie Miller and Jason Terry).