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Feb 05, 2018

NBA Weekly Preview Feb 5, 2018

Yesterday the Philadelphia Eagles, led by backup quarterback Nick Foles, brought home their first Lombardi trophy ever. And of course, with that, the NFL season is officially over. Now it is time to focus our attention to the NBA with the All-Star break right around the corner. Although we are a long way out, the playoff picture is starting to form as teams are making moves to try and climb into the top eight. The Utah Jazz have found themselves a little streak, winning their last five, including games against the Warriors, Raptors, and Spurs. The Jazz sit three and a half games out of the coveted eighth spot in the west and will be taking on the seventh-ranked Pelicans tonight. The Jazz also have matchups against division opponents Portland and Memphis this week, as they look to keep their streak rolling. Rubio has been red hot during the Jazz winning streak, recording two double-doubles and dropping a season-high 34 points on the Spurs.

The Denver Nuggets also find themselves battling for a playoff spot in the East. The Nuggets have struggled big time on the road this year with a 7-18 record, which almost mirrors their 21-7 home record. That doesn’t bode well for the Nuggets as they play back to back away games this week against the Rockets and then the Suns. The Nuggets have shown a very balanced attack so far with five players averaging 14 or more points, but will need to transfer their home success to road success as they look to post their first winning record in five seasons.

Two teams that most certainly will be in the playoffs this year will be going head to head on Tuesday, as the Thunder head to California to take on the Warriors. This is always a fun game to watch between Durant and Westbrook, but it comes at an especially important time for the Thunder. Oklahoma City has dropped four straight, after going on an eight-game winning streak. The Warriors themselves have dropped two of their last three, and for the Warriors, that feels like a ten game losing streak. In the first meeting this year Durant was relatively quiet with 21 points and only 32 fantasy points, his second-lowest fantasy total of the season. Westbrook was his normal self, dropping 34 points and coming one assist away from a triple-double, in route to a 108-91 victory.

On Wednesday, Minnesota heads to Cleveland to take on the struggling Cavaliers. The Timberwolves hold a 34-22 record which is already their second most amount of wins in a season since the 2004-2005 season. The Cavs, on the other hand, seem to be falling apart. There is tension in the locker room, Isaiah Thomas is not performing like the All-Star he was last year, Kevin Love just went down with an injury, and they are as close to the Celtics in first place as they are to the Hornets in 10th place. To make matters worse for Cleveland, the game will be televised on ESPN. Why is that bad? The Cavs are 0-8 in nationally televised games this year. It’ll be interesting to see if Cleveland can begin to right their ship this week or if they will continue to stumble into the All-Star break.

The big game of the week is on Tuesday between the two top seeds in the East. The Celtics hold a two-game lead over the Raptors as they head to Toronto for their second matchup this season. The first time these two teams met the Celtics scraped out a 95-94 win and Al Horford put up a big 21 point game. The Celtics have enjoyed the recent surge of Terry Rozier who is starting in place of Kyrie, but are severely lacking in bench depth as they rank 26th in bench points. This will be a fun matchup to watch this week and keep an eye on all season as the two teams battle for the top spot in the East. 

Dan Quinn