Jeff Teague Hawks February 2015

We are more than halfway through the regular season, and the Atlanta Hawks are firmly entrenched as the team to beat on the East, All-Star selections and omissions have people excited and furious, and the Cleveland Cavaliers have awoken from their slumber.

Let’s take a look back at the week in the NBA.


Though the Hawks saw their winning streak come to an end, they have been impressive in the first half of the season. Damn impressive.

The East’s last playoff seed a year ago now leads the conference with a 40-8 record, seven games clear of the second-place Toronto Raptors. Atlanta did not lose a game in the month of January, and took a 19-game winning streak into February.

The three-headed monster of Al Horford, Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague have set the tone for this team by playing unselfish basketball. Atlanta leads the league in assists and 3-point percentage. As if the uptick in offensive efficiency wasn’t enough, the Hawks are also third in the league in defensive rating.

Many discount the accomplishments of this team to date, saying that they are playing against inferior competition in the East. The Hawks do hold a .818 winning percentage against the East, but they are just as dominant against the West with a .812 winning percentage against teams in the better conference.

James Harden Klay Thompson

The All-Star rosters were finalized this past week, and a few things stood out.

The Hawks were rewarded for their stellar start with the selections of Jeff Teague, Al Horford and Paul Millsap as All-Star reserves.

Kobe Bryant proved that no matter how injured he is or how substandard his play, he will get voted onto every All-Star game as long as he is in the league and fans still get to pick the starters.

Both Marc and Pau Gasol were selected by the fans to start at center for the West and East, respectively. They become the first pair of brothers in NBA history to start in the same All-Star game.

Only four players are joining the festivities for the first time. Teague and the ascendant Jimmy Butler garnered their first All-Star selection in the East, while Klay Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins will be getting their first nods for the West.

Of all the players NOT selected, Damian Lillard has to have the strongest case for selection. Lillard’s numbers compare favorably with Steph Curry, James Harden and Russell Westbrook, but when you are comparing him to guys with the reputations those three have, he will continue to come up short.

Kevin Love LeBron James February 2015

The Cavs have apparently awoken from their slumber and are starting to show signs of the team many expected them to be at the start of the season. Cleveland has ripped off 11 wins in a row including wins over the Clippers, Bulls, Thunder and Blazers.

It’s hardly a coincidence that the win streak started when LeBron James came back from a two-week stint on the bench with an injury of some kind, but hissupporting cast had a chance to begin to gel over that time.

Timofey Mozgov has settled into his role as the team’s best post defender, and the additions of defensive-minded Iman Shumpert and the infrequently hot-handed JR Smith seem to have steadied coach David Blatt’s rotation.

All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving has done his part as well. After scoring a game-high 38 points, including 16 fourth-quarter points, in Detroit, Irving painted a masterpiece in Cleveland the very next night.

Kyrie went off to the tune of 55 points against the Blazers in a 99-94 win. 55 points were a personal best, Quicken Loans Arena record and a NBA season high. Irving’s 11 threes on the night were also a new franchise record.

With James returning to form, team defense improving and Irving catching fire, the Cavs are poised to make a run for the division title in the second half of the season.


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