LeBron James shows why he is the MVP conversation, while the Lakers and the Jazz are dominating the Western Conference.
Lakers, LeBron dominate the WEST
The Lakers are on a seven-game winning streak dominating the Western Conference being the second best team in the NBA behind the incredible Utah Jazz. The Lakers have been very successful during their last seven outings, despite playing without Anthony Davis for a couple of games and securing three wins in OT against the Pistons and the Oklahoma City Thunder. During that span, LeBron James averaged 26.1 points, 9.3 assists and 8.3 rebounds per contest shooting 50-percent from the field. The Lakers were on a plus-12.9 with James on the floor allowing just 95.8 points per 100 possessions.
James is a strong consideration to win the regular season’s MVP this year and this last seven games are a really great case for him being dominant in both ends of the floor. At the top of that, he made some huge plays in the clutch during the three consecutive OT wins last week showing that he is still the most dominant player in the league. In the OT win against the Thunder, James hit the tying basket to send the game in overtime and made a huge steal in the last seconds of the game to secure the Lakers’ win. He also took over in the revenge win over Detroit scoring eight points in second overtime and record a triple-double in the first of back-to-back games against OKC for the Lakers to put one more W in the bag.
Zion Williamson getting in his spots
While LeBron James could be the best player in the league, Zion Williamson is definitely the best in scoring inside the arc and especially around the basket. Williamson is leading the league in attempts from the restricted area(12.4) making them in a 65.4-percent clip this year, while in the last seven games of the Pelicans the Duke product is making 71.4-percent of his shots in the restricted area. He has the most makes per contest ftom that area shooting 12.1 attempts and making 8.4 baskets per game.
In his latest game, where the Pelicans loss to the Mavericks, Williamson went off for a career-high 36 points staring the first half with a perfect 10-of-10 from the field. He went to miss just one shot until the end of the game, however New Orleans’ defense was not there with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis outscoring Brandon Ingram and Zion. Williamson will need to add more in his offensive plate in the future, but hos dominance inside the paint is crucial for his team to have any chance of success this season.
Jazz are so good at basketball
The Utah Jazz are completely dominating the NBA so far with the incredible offense and their forceful defense. There are good reason for the resurgence of the Jazz, after a disappointing end to the season last year and that’s mainly great chemistry and lack of injuries. Donovan Mitchell is the leader of the team, Rudy Gobert is a top rim-protector and a steady contributor in the offensive end, while Jordan Clarkson is blitzing opponents’ bench mobs, and Mike Conley, Joe Ingles and Bojan Bogdanovic are shooting the lights out from deep.
The Jazz are destroying their opponents with beautiful ball-movement and a ’73-9 Warriors’ type of shooting percentage(40.1-percent) from deep. They are leading the NBA in three-points attempts (42.2) and three-point makes (16.9), while they are still a Top-3 defense allowing their opponents to score 106.3 points per contest. At the same time, Quin Snyder’s team has one of the deepest rotations in the league with players like Derrick Favors and Royce O’Neale excelling in their roles.
The Sneaky Spurs
While the Jazz are taking the NBA by storm, the San Antonio Spurs are in place to return to the postseason, after missing the playoffs last season for the first time in 23 years. Gregg Popovich’s squad won seven of their last ten games. The Spurs are a good offensive team having seven players averaging double-digits this season and having DeMar DeRozan leading the team in points(20.3) and assists (6.9). Also, Dejounte Murray is averaging career-best numbers in points, rebounds and assists.
The Spurs are not really impressive, but they play the game in the right way having a strong core of two-way talent including Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell, Rudy Gay and Derrick White alongside Murray. At the top of that, they take care of the ball averaging the league’s lowest turnover ration (11%) and the league’s highest AST/TO ratio (2.23). The Spurs may not excel in any major statistical category, but they are a well-balanced team, which passed through a tough schedule during the first two months of the season.