New Orleans’ young star Anthony Davis has been playing possibly the best basketball of his career lately, and it’s safe to say Pelicans fans have been waiting to see this outburst for a long while.Over a recent 10-game stretch, Davis was averaging 32.7 points, 13.7 rebounds, 2.5 steals, and 2.5 blocks. The highlight was a 53-point, 18-rebound, and five-block performance against the Phoenix Suns last week.
Davis has been thrown right into the MVP conversation, and is a legitimate contender for the award. Most importantly, the team is winning. The Pelicans are one of only four teams in the Western Conference to have a winning record at home, and on the road, (Golden State, Houston, and Portland being the other three).
Prior to Tuesday’s game against the Clippers, Davis led the Pelicans to an eight-game win streak, and pushed them to the No. 4 seed in the loaded Western Conference.
Some have been debating if DeMarcus Cousins’ injury made the Pelicans a genuinely better team, but clearly it’s allowed Davis to flourish.
Meanwhile, in Boston ...
After suffering a gruesome ankle injury Opening Night, the Celtics have officially ruled Gordon Hayward out for the rest of the season. Hayward released a video on his Instagram of him completing drills and dribbling, and of course this sparked the media into action once again, asking whether or not Hayward will make his long-awaited return this season.
“He’s not playing this year,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens during a team practice early Saturday morning. This was a devastating blow from the start for the fans and players, but some hoped that Hayward would make a return late March, heading into the playoffs. Still, Kyrie Irving has them as the No. 2 team in the Eastern Conference.
Let’s talk about the West ...
As we near the end of the regular season, the Western Conference playoff chase is starting to heat up. In fact, the current No. 3 seed, the Portland Trail Blazers, stand only four games back from 10th place Utah as of Monday night.
The race is so tight that the highly-touted Oklahoma City Thunder stand only 1.5 games away from being knocked out of the playoff race.
Although 12 games ahead of the rest of the pack, the first and second seed will be fight to the finish as well. The Golden State Warriors are 0.5 games behind the Houston Rockets.
It’s so fun to finally have a close race in the West, as the last three year have been dominated by the Warriors, and it really wasn’t close. But now, they have some good competition in the Houston Rockets, and I mean good.
This year, the Rockets statistically have the best offensive rating in NBA history, beating last year’s Warriors, the ‘87 Lakers, ‘92 Bulls – all of them. The Western Conference Finals are essentially the Finals this year for a lot of fans since the two best teams are in the Western Conference this season.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver had floated the possibility of an alternate seeding system for the NBA playoffs.
Instead of the initial 1-8 seeds in each conference, Silver suggested the NBA go in a different direction, implying the league leans towards a 1-16 seeding, but keeping the eight best teams in each conference. Essentially, the top eight teams from each conference will be ranked according to their record to make 16 seeds.
From there it is a bracket concept, as the first seed will play the 16th seed, the second will play the 15th, and so on. This prevents the two best teams being in the same conference, therefore playing in the Finals against one-another.
I am largely in favor of this adjustment, and it should be done sooner rather than later.