NBA: Best of the Week Awards
It is time for HoopsHabit’s Best of the Week Awards. Each week we’ll take a look back at the week that was to determine the best players, teams and performances in the NBA.
Stars of the Week
Gold: Lebron James
James was his typical all-around great this week. While he did not lead the week in any category, he did have the highest combined points, rebounds and assists for the week in the league. He averaged 27.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 7.3 assists for the week. His team, the Miami Heat, won all four games this week including a big Christmas Day rematch with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Bryant moves down one spot this week. He was impressive as he led the Los Angeles Lakers to big wins over the Golden State Warriors and New York Knicks as he scored 34 points in both games. He finished the week by scoring 40 in a loss to the Denver Nuggets. His 36 ppg average went well with his 6.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists in those games. The return of Steve Nash should free up some responsibilities for Bryant. The loss to the Nuggets ended a five game win streak for the Lakers.
David Lee had the third triple-double of his career against the Charlotte Bobcats when he went for 23 points to go along with 11 rebounds and 11 assists. He backed that up with another 20-point, 11 rebound performance the next night against the Lakers. Much like James, he did not lead in any one category but played so well across the board that he earns a spot on the podium.
For the week he averaged 20.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 5.6 assist.
Game of the Week: Minnesota Timberwolves and Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder came into the game as the hottest team in the league with a 12-game winning streak. Thunder superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook did their part as they each topped 30 points, but the full team effort by the Timberwolves was able to stop them. A strong defensive effort kept the Thunder 12 points below their season average. Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic and J.J. Barea led the way for the Timberwolves as they won 99-93.
The Detroit Pistons are taking the ultra slow approach with Drummond. Rather than play him the minutes he deserves, they limit his time on the floor. Against the Washington Wizards on December 21st, he showed a glimpse of the future. In only 21 minutes, he scored 11 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and had five blocks. The next night in a rematch with the Wizards, he grabbed 11 rebounds in only 24 minutes.
On December 26th, they finally gave him more minutes and responded well. Against the Atlanta Hawks he scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in 36 minutes. Once they decide to give him the starting spot along side Greg Monroe, the Pistons should have a very formidable front court.
Player to Watch: Kostas Koufos
Koufos has only averaged 4.5 points per game over his career. This year has already been a surprise as he has bumped that average up to 7.5 ppg. This week, in games against the Charlotte Bobcats and Los Angeles Clippers, he scored 16 points in both matchups. He added five blocked shots against the Bobcats and added 10 rebounds against the Clippers.
This was only the second time in his career that he scored double digits points in back-to-back games. He kept the streak going when he added 10 points to the win against the Lakers. He was also extremely efficient as he went 20-for-24 from the field, including a perfect night against the Clippers. He only averaged 24 minutes in the three contests as well.
With Kevin Love missing the game against the New York Knicks, somebody on the Minnesota Timberwolves needed to step up. Nikola Pekovic filled that role rather well as he scored 21 points and grabbed 17 rebounds. The Timberwolves led for most of the game before Carmelo Anthony’s heroics stole the game away at the end. He has averaged 21 points and 13 rebounds over his last three games.
Team of the Week: Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers went 3-0 this week to push their win streak to 14 games. They now have the best record in the league at 22-6. While many look at this team as just Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, they are deeper than that. Jamal Crawford provides much-needed scoring off of the bench with Matt Barnes and DeAndre Jordan being major contributors as well.
Perhaps the key to their run has been that it is a true team effort. The Clippers are second in the league with 23.5 assist per game. To them, it does not matter who scores. They also lead the league in steals; this has helped them to have the best points differential in the league at 9.7.
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HoopsHabit’s Regular Column Schedule:
Monday – NBA Awards Watch
Wednesday – NBA Power Rankings
Friday – NBA Stat Central
Sunday – Your NBA Fix Podcast
Started writing for Bleacher Report in 2010. In 2012 started to write for yahoo voices as well. Coach for Special Olympics, play whatever sports I can(right now I am a soccer junkie). I am addicted to mud runs (tough mudder, warrior dash and such). I am also training for my first marathon, which I am running with one of my Special Olympics athletes. Follow him on twitter @pjsapi