FOX Sports activities NBA Reporter
Commerce season is heating up and the all-star break is fast-approaching.
However within the meantime, let’s check out what’s occurring within the NBA, and whose inventory goes up and whose goes down.
Rising: LeBron James
LeBron James seemingly cannot wait to go Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the all-time scoring listing. Both that, or he has realized that with a purpose to hold the Lakers afloat with out Anthony Davis, he has to attain at a wild clip.
Over the past week, the 38-year-old James has averaged 35 factors on 51% capturing, 9 rebounds and 7 assists to steer the Lakers to a 3-1 document, with wins over Houston, Memphis and Portland.
On the prime of final week, James scored a season-high 48 factors towards the Rockets, his third 40-point recreation this season. In Sunday’s win over the Blazers, he had 37 factors and 11 rebounds to assist the Lakers storm again from a 25-point halftime deficit, tying their second-largest overcome halftime deficit in franchise historical past (the biggest was 28 factors in December 2002).
LeBron James scores season-high 48 factors in win over Rockets
Skip and Shannon focus on one of many a number of excellent performances LeBron James has had in January.
James is now solely 223 factors away from Abdul-Jabbar’s document of 38,387 factors. If he continues at this scoring clip, he may attain (and doubtlessly go) Abdul-Jabbar’s document in about six video games.
The excellent news for the Lakers (and James) is that Davis may return this week after being sidelined for greater than a month due to a proper foot damage. Davis will take a variety of the burden off of James. And if he picks up on the MVP-caliber stage at which he was taking part in earlier than the damage, the Lakers might be in a superb place. Though they’re in twelfth place within the Western Convention, they’re solely two video games behind the sixth-place Clippers.
Falling: The Pelicans
With Zion Williamson (hamstring pressure) and Brandon Ingram (toe contusion) out, New Orleans would not have a lot of a margin for error.
These absences have caught up with the Pelicans, who’ve dropped 4 straight video games.
C.J. McCollum, who’s capturing 42.8% from the sector this season, has shot 36% from the sector during the last 4 video games, together with going 6-for-21 (28.6%) in Friday’s loss to Orlando and 5-for-16 (31.3%) in Sunday’s loss to Miami.
Then there’s Trey Murphy III, who was a mixed minus-66 over that stretch.
The Pelicans have misplaced seven of their final 10 video games with out Williamson. They’re now in fourth place within the Western Convention with a document of 26-21, solely three video games forward of the Eleventh-place Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder.
Rising: Jrue Vacation
Vacation’s play has exploded during the last week.
The Bucks level guard, who’s placing up 19.6 factors and seven.5 assists on the season, averaged 33.3 factors and 9.3 assists over the workforce’s final three video games previous to Monday night time, main them to a 2-1 document with each Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton sidelined (the 2 returned Monday and Vacation scored 16 of their 150-130 win over Detroit).
Over that interval, Vacation shot 56.9% from the sector and 47.8% from 3. He additionally had back-to-back 35-point and 37-point performances, the primary consecutive 35-point video games of his profession.
He is making a really robust all-star case. Though Antetokounmpo had been sidelined 5 straight video games due to a knee damage and Middleton, previous to Monday, had missed the final 18 video games due to knee soreness, the Bucks are nonetheless in third place within the Jap Convention with a document of 29-17.
Vacation is an enormous purpose for that success.
Falling: New York Knicks
The Knicks have misplaced 4 straight video games, they usually have a tricky stretch forward, with video games towards Cleveland on Tuesday, Boston on Thursday and Brooklyn on Saturday. Every of these opponents are within the prime 5 within the East standings.
The Knicks, who’re in seventh place within the Jap Convention with a document of 25-23, have Atlanta and Indiana nipping at their heels, that are a half-game and two video games behind them, respectively.
The Knicks must tighten their protection to forestall sliding additional within the standings this week.
Rising: Boston Celtics
I used to be debating whether or not to incorporate the Celtics or the 76ers on this last slot. Each groups had put collectively spectacular win streaks during the last two weeks.
However I went with the Celtics as a result of they’re coming off their second nine-game successful streak of the season, they’ve had the No. 1 rated protection within the league over this era, they usually’re the highest seed within the Jap Convention with a document of 35-13, 4 video games forward of the 76ers.
This workforce has been laser-focused this season on getting again to the place they left off final season: The Finals.
In Saturday’s win over Toronto, Robert Williams III suffered a left knee damage and Marcus Sensible sustained a proper ankle sprain in a recreation by which the Celtics have been already with out Jayson Tatum. They edged the Raptors anyway.
This workforce is deep and hungry, a harmful mixture.
Falling: Indiana Pacers
The Pacers have misplaced seven video games in a row ever since Tyrese Haliburton suffered elbow and knee accidents in a recreation towards New York on Jan. 11.
Haliburton’s damage has uncovered how a lot this workforce lacks depth. With out him, they’ve slipped from sixth to ninth place within the East. Over that stretch, they’ve additionally fallen to final within the league in offensive score (106.7) and web score (-13.9) and turnovers per recreation (18).
Haliburton is prone to be a starter on the all-star workforce this season, however the Pacers should not be this misplaced with out him.
His absence may be an enormous wake-up name for the Pacers as they method the commerce deadline.
Melissa Rohlin is an NBA author for FOX Sports activities. She beforehand coated the league for Sports activities Illustrated, the Los Angeles Occasions, the Bay Space Information Group and the San Antonio Specific-Information. Observe her on Twitter @melissarohlin.
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