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 Medal: Kevin Durant
This has been the closest battle for the top spot all season. Kevin Durant earns this spot with his terrific all-around effort this week.
He averaged 29 points, 7.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists. He even chipped in with 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks per game. Against the Los Angeles Lakers, he scored a season-high 42 points in only 38 minutes. He had four blocks against Minnesota.
He brings a true all-around effort to every game.
Silver Medal: Chris Paul
Chris Paul had a huge week as he led the Los Angeles Clippers to wins over the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks. He scored early, he scored late, he came up with defensive stops and key steals late in games. He has worked his way into the MVP debate and this week shows why.
He averaged 25.3 points, 12.6 assist and 5.3 rebounds. He was one assist shy of having a double-double in all three games.
Bronze Medal: James Harden
James Harden’s move to the Houston Rockets was much criticized as a bad decision. He now has the team fighting for a playoff spot as they are four games over .500. For the season, he is averaging 10 points above his career best.
Over the past week, he has average 27.6 points. He had his best game against the Lakers, when he scored 31 points and had nine assists in his teams’ 125-112 win.
Player to Watch: Nikola Pekovic
The Minnesota Timberwolves suffered a huge blow to start the week when Kevin Love went down with a broken hand. Nikola Pekovic has stepped up mightily to fill the void. In the three games since Love went down, Pekovic has averaged 21 points and 14.3 rebounds. That is five points and six rebounds above his season average.
The team went 1-2 this week. If they are to make the playoffs for the first time since 2004, then other players will need to match Pekovic’s effort.
Performance of the Week: Reggie Evans
Reggie Evans has been a career journeyman. He has played on six teams in his 10-year career. Now with the Brooklyn Nets, he seems to have found the right fit for him.
He has been a rebounding machine for the Nets. Over past three games, he averaged 16.3 rebounds. In his performance of the week, he grabbed 23 rebounds in a win over the Philadelphia 76ers. That was a career-best performance for him.
Rookie of the Week: Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard is the leader for Rookie of the Year Award. He put together yet another solid week. Against the Golden State Warriors, he scored a career-high 37 points.
For the week, he averaged 19.2 points and 7.2 assists. He has helped the team on their recent 4-1 run that has them in the running for a playoff spot. It is still early but with four teams within five games of them, every game is important. The Portland rookie is gaining valuable experience with each game and is getting better as the season continues.
Game of the Week: Brooklyn Nets vs. Washington Wizards
The game of the week was the Brooklyn Nets and Washington Wizards matchup. The game went to double overtime with the Nets finally taking a 115-113 win. Rookie Bradley Beal scored a career-high 24 points, including a buzzer-beater to force the second overtime.
The game was full of last-second shots. Beal’s in OT came after Nene hit a basket to tie the game with 0.8 seconds in regulation to force the OT. Joe Johnson became the hero as he hit a jumper over two players with 0.7 seconds to secure the win for the Nets.
The Team of the Week: Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics have been a disappointment this season as they were sitting under .500. They have since rattled off five wins in a row. Four of those wins came against teams with winning records and two were against division leaders.
They can attribute their winning streak to a strong defensive effort. They have held teams to 84.4 points over the streak, far below their season average of 96.5. They currently hold the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference.
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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