Russell Westbrook March 2015

This week: Russell Westbrook is incandescent, the Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors are utterly futile, and our first blockbuster matchup of the season. Let’s take a look back at the week that was in the NBA.

Russell Westbrook just completed a fantastic month of basketball, and his performance in the last week was absolutely off the charts.

This week, Westbrook posted three consecutive triple-doubles to become the first player since LeBron James in 2009 to pull off that feat. He also finished February averaging 31 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds.

He was the first player since Oscar Robertson to average at least 30 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists in a single month of play. Of course, The Big O did it every month for an entire season during the 1961-62 campaign.

Unfortunately for the Oklahoma City Thunder, they won only one of three Westbrook's triple-double games.

Even worse, Westbrook took a knee to his eye from teammate Andre Roberson in the closing seconds of their loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday. After the game, he was diagnosed with a broken cheek bone. He should return to action fairly soon.

If the Thunder are going to make the playoffs this season, they will need more play like this from Westbrook.

And if they get the version of him that we saw this last week, anything is possible.

Wizards vs Raptors March 2015

The question of which teams will get home-court advantage in the Eastern Conference will not be answered for some time. But this week, several preseason favorites saw their chances of finishing in the top 4 take a hit.

Both the Raptors and Wizards have really struggled since the All-Star break. Since beating the East-leading Atlanta Hawks in their first game after the break, the Raptors have lost five in a row.

This week, Toronto lost to the New Orleans Pelicans, who didn’t need Anthony Davis or Jrue Holiday to take them out.

They also went down to Dallas and Golden State. Both were respectable losses to good teams. However, the loss that has Raptors fans worried was their most recent one to the cellar-dwelling Knicks.

Granted, the loss in New York City came without the services of their All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry, but five in a row is bad news.

The Wizards have had an even rougher go of it lately. Washington lost seven in a row, dating back to their last game before the All-Star break.

This week. they have lost to the Detroit Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers and Minnesota Timberwolves – three of the four worst teams in the league by record. That just isn’t something a division-winning team usually does.

After losing to Detroit by 17 points earlier in the season, the Wizards were able to exact retribution Saturday and end their losing streak. The Wiz eked out a 99-95 victory.

Despite all their losing, the Raptors still hold on to the second spot in the East and the Wizards sit in fifth. A single game separates seeds 2-4, with Washington sitting two-and-a-half games out of the fourth place spot and home-court advantage.

Given the unpredictability of the East, it is still possible that both these teams finish in the top 4. It would also be unsurprising if both these teams ended up hitting the road come playoff time.

LeBron James Cavs Warriors 2015

In what was billed as a potential NBA Finals preview, the Cleveland Cavaliers hosted the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night.

Calling this game a Finals preview is a bit of a stretch, considering it’s the Hawks who sit firmly atop the Eastern Conference, 10 games clear of the second-place Raptors ... and there are more than 25 games remaining.

But I digress.

The Cavs were boiling hot headed into this contest, having won 17 of their last 19 games. The Warriors came in on a roll of their own as winners of 15 of their last 20 games.

From the beginning, there was a playoff atmosphere in Quicken Loans Arena. Cleveland was rocking and ready to go for this weeknight game.

LeBron came out and scored seven of Cleveland’s first 13 points, and finished the opening quarter with their last six in a row.

Stephen Curry answered by connecting on three 3-pointers before being fouled on another attempt and hitting all three free throw attempts. The Warriors attacked the basket with their bigs as well, and David Lee finished the quarter with 11 points,

Things remained close in the second quarter. A Kevin Love 3 with 5:43 remaining in the half gave the Cavs a 46-43 lead, which they would not relinquish.

The Splash Brothers combined for 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. LeBron had 24 points by halftime and finished with 42 on the game to go along with 11 rebounds, five assists, and three steals.

The Cavs, led by their biggest star, got the 110-99 victory.


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