NBA: Lakers, Bucks and 76ers take to the floor in bumper-packed weekend
The second half of the NBA season is in full flow, and there are plenty more big games to look forward to over the weekend, including Los Angeles Lakers v Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks v San Antonio Spurs and New York Knicks v Philadelphia 76ers. We preview these games and discuss any potential talking points.
LeBron James lands another triple double for Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James has been in scintillating form for the Lakers in recent weeks. After dropping the 98th triple double of his career in the Lakers’ 128-97 win over the Golden State Warriors on the road last weekend, he quickly followed that up with another triple double. That came in the 137-121 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves earlier this week.
Against the Timberwolves, James posted 25 points, 12 assists and 12 rebounds. After enduring a slight wobble at the start of the month, the Lakers appear to be revitalised, and they have chalked up three wins on the bounce.
Atlanta Hawks have to spring out the gate quicker
Since Nate McMillan took over, the Hawks have looked more stable. At the time of writing, their record this season was split (20-20). While they have clinched five wins from their last six outings, what will be more concerning are the slow starts to games. This was evident in the 119-107 win over the Houston Rockets, but repeating this against the Lakers would be a tall order.
Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to tear it up for the Milwaukee Bucks
Where would the Bucks be without Giannis? The Bucks, who have a win percentage of 64, have been on terrific form and Giannis can take credit for that. Last week, Giannis scored his second successive triple-double in the 125-119 victory over the Washington Wizards. In the same match, Giannis’ counterpart Russell Westbrook notched a triple double of his own.
Dejounte Murray making serious strides at San Antonio Spurs
Dejounte Murray has made the leap. He has stepped up to the mark this season for the Spurs, and he has been earmarked as a MIP (Most Improved Player) candidate. Murray has become a core player with the Spurs, and this season he has been more clinical with his shooting, making 63% of his attempts from point-blank range.
Philadelphia 76ers stars Tobias Harris takes it out on his hometown
Earlier this week, the 76ers edged past the Knicks in a thrilling 99-96 win. More significantly, Tobias Harris, who grew up in Long Island, produced a stunning display. He drained 30 points and made two buckets down the stretch. His offensive power could prove to be key once again for the 76ers.
Despite Joel Embiid’s knee injury, the 76ers have an otherwise healthy roster. Although a recent MRI scan showed no structural damage, no timeline has been set on when Embiid will return to the floor. Meanwhile, 76ers coach Doc Rivers has been clear to point out that Ben Simmons doesn’t have to feel like he plays second fiddle to Embiid.
When asked for his thoughts, Coach Rivers said: “I think Simmons is excelling because they both know there is room for both of them to be great.” However, it’s worth pointing out that Embiid was named in the All-Star team for the fourth year in a row, and he has averaged just shy of 30 points this term.
Knicks aiming for quick response after 76ers defeat
After their defeat earlier in the week to the 76ers, the Knicks will be eager to respond quickly. Before they face the 76ers on Saturday night, they take on Orlando Magic on Thursday. Under Tom Thibodeau, the Knicks have enjoyed a resurgence, and they have exceeded most people’s expectations. Currently, they sit in eighth spot in the Eastern Conference, and they have a 20-21 record.