LATEST NBA NEWS AND SCORES: WHAT A FAN NEEDS TO KNOW
Who is the NBA’s title contender? As of now, it’s almost impossible to predict. In days we haven’t seen for a long while, the East is packed with great teams, while the West options have surprised everyone. Memphis is young and full of talent and the surging 76ers look better every game with Harden on the roster.
The Nets and Lakers were easy selections to make as a Finals matchup, but neither team appears particularly great right now, and both will very likely have to earn their way into the playoffs via the play-in tournament. Is a Bucks vs. Suns Finals rematch possible? Absolutely, but there’s still a lot of basketball to be played until the middle of April, so read all about NBA scores and much more here.
NBA Standings & News to Focus On
- Cavs All-Star Jarrett Allen breaks finger, sidelined indefinitely
- Draymond Green likely to return to Warriors on March 14th
- Knicks’ Randle dethrones Kings with 46 points, 10 rebounds
- Nuggets crush Warriors (minus Steph, Wiggins, & Klay) behind Joker’s triple-double
- Spurs get the win over Lakers without LeBron
- Luka’s 35 points enough to force Jazz out of tune
Knicks make playoff push with convincing win over the Kings
It was quite the night for New York’s Julius Randle, as he helped his struggling Knicks to a much-needed win over the (equally struggling) Kings. Randle ended the game with a career-high 46 points, hitting eight three-pointers and only taking two free throws, both of which he hit.
The Knicks, who are 12th in the East NBA standings and are 3-7 in their last 10 games, rallied big from 20 points down in the third quarter and eventually came out as the victors, 131-115.
Randle, who is averaging 20.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game, put the Knicks on his back and played with drive and intensity that hasn’t been seen so much this season. If this is the Randle we get to witness for the remainder of the 2021-22 season, then it’s certainly feasible that the Knicks can at least reach 10th place in the East for the play-in tournament, but you’d have to hope the Wizards and Hawks go into a tailspin for that to happen.
The rest of the Knicks’ younger line-up also chipped in with impressive numbers, as RJ Barrett with 29 points and Immanuel Quickley with 27 points were both vital to a New York road win at a time when victories haven’t been falling from the sky. Cam Reddish, since coming over from the Hawks in a trade, has not quite been the scorer or facilitator that the Knicks hoped for, but is still an interesting prospect at only 22 years of age.
Missing the playoffs would be a huge blow for the Knicks, as despite losing 4-1 to the Hawks in the first round of the playoffs last year, still made the 4th seed and looked on track to make a giant leap in the coming years.
Many have criticized the coaching style of Tom Thibodeau, which usually consists of playing his core stars heavy minutes, even in losses, and is generally seen to have an old-school method that may not have transitioned to modern NBA games.
The signing of guards Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker were bewildering at the time, as Thibodeau has a strong “defense first” ideology that these two particular players aren’t known for. Walker, in fact, has been shut down for the season after not meeting the caliber required for the Knicks, and is almost certain to be traded in the off-season.
While the Knicks are still dealing with injuries to Derrick Rose, Quentin Grimes, Obi Toppin, Nerlens Noel, and Mitchell Robinson, it’s still surprising to have a talented healthy roster and be fighting for a spot in the play-in tournament. Whether the Knicks will move away from Thibodeau remains to be seen, but it could be that his stubborn, intense style is wearing down the players and is far from inspiring right now.
Jarrett Allen’s broken finger joins the long list of injuries for Cleveland
The rising Cavaliers just can’t catch a break. While the post-LeBron era has been difficult, unsurprisingly, the start of the 2021-22 season looked promising and appeared to usher in a new time for Cavs basketball. That is, until all the injuries started piling up.
Jarrett Allen is the latest Cavs player to be sidelined, as the recently named All-Star center broke his left middle finger in a win on Sunday over the Raptors. No timetable has been given for his return to the court, but certainly at least two weeks or more.
Allen, who is averaging 16.1 points, 10.8 boards, and 1.3 blocks in 56 games for the Cavs, was part of a resurgent team of young, talented players trying to help Cleveland reach the playoffs for the first time since 2018. The Cavs have badly needed his interior defense, low-post moves, and athleticism in order to reach 6th in the East NBA standings.
Along with Allen on the injured list, there’s also Rajon Rondo (toe), Caris LeVert (foot), and Collin Sexton (out for the season with a knee meniscus tear). Ricky Rubio, who was part of the Cavs revival and playing some of the best basketball of his life, suffered a torn ACL last year and was ruled out of the season. Rubio was part of the trade that helped bring LeVert from the Pacers.
If there is any good news out of Cleveland, it’s that rookie Evan Mobley and third-year point guard, Darius Garland, remain the future for a fantastic Cavs team. Both show tons of talent on a nightly basis, and with Garland an All-Star alongside Allen, Cleveland fans have got to feel good about an exciting roster that will only get better.
As Garland, in particular, is clearly the leader of the franchise, it will be interesting to see what the Cavs end up doing with the injured Sexton in the off-season. Trade him to reap the most of his current value? Or keep him alongside Garland and attempt a dynamic guard duo?
It’s hard to tell if Sexton would fit well alongside Garland, as there’s just not enough data to digest yet. Sexton has always appeared to believe he’s a number one option, so more than likely he’ll want to be dealt to another team.
Garland looks fine running the show, as he’s averaging 20.6 points, 8.1 assists, and 3.3 rebounds per game. But more importantly, he has a great two-man game with the forwards and centers around him, so that’s definitely something that Cleveland doesn’t want to mess with.
Two Exciting NBA Games Coming Up
Check these two on the NBA schedule.
Wolves @ Heat on Saturday 12th March
Don’t look now, but the sneaky Wolves are 7th in the West NBA standings and may well avoid the play-in tournament depending on how the Nuggets go for the rest of the season. KAT and D-Lo are not exactly Pippen and Jordan-level teammates, but they are proving to have what it takes to get the victories when they matter.
The Heat is no one’s idea of a fun opponent, as they have so many scoring options and play stifling defense, especially since the acquisition of P.J. Tucker (The Durant Stopper). That said, the way the Wolves are playing right now makes it possible to win over Miami on their home floor, so why not? Let’s take Minnesota to cool down the Heat.
Bucks @ Warriors on Saturday 12th March
The Warriors keep on sliding in the NBA Power Rankings (10th place), as right now they are 2-8 in their last 10 games and on a five-game losing streak. Things might not get much better until the anchor of the team, Draymond Green, makes his much-anticipated return after experiencing back pain. Green’s passing, defensive awareness, and general basketball IQ have made him invaluable to the Warriors’ success, and it’s clear as day how much they need him.
Steph and Klay have not quite been the shooters they once were, but should still be feared at any time. The emergence of younger stars on the Warriors roster is something to be excited for Bay Area fans, as Jordan Poole, Moses Moody, and Jonathan Kuminga could certainly help to bridge the gap between the old and new eras in Golden State.
The Bucks continue to look like championship contenders again, as the current titleholders are largely the same team as last year, except for a few small pieces shifting around. The core trio of Giannis, Holiday, and Middleton is so lethal, and there’s no reason why this lineup couldn’t do it all again in the Finals in June.
As for this matchup, Draymond probably won’t appear until the day after, which could mean a beaten-down Warriors team won’t get this win over the Bucks.
Must-watch Players in the NBA
- Ja Morant – It doesn’t matter who the Grizzlies are playing, you just know that Morant is going to do something spectacular. His slams are unsurpassed and why he isn’t in the dunk contest is anyone’s guess.
- Jayson Tatum – The Celtics look great again, thanks largely to Tatum’s stellar play. He can score at will and is unguardable at times.
- Luka Doncic – He will still need a dependable second star at his side, but Luka may well carry the Mavs to a championship if he continues to play like this.
- Nikola Jokic – A triple-double machine carrying the Nuggets to the playoffs, there’s really nothing Jokic can’t do. He’ll certainly need help in the form of Porter Jr. and Murray coming back from injuries, but he’s a force with no rival in the league.
Author: Joe Garland