Now that the dust has settled and players are starting to get their legs back, things are picking up in the NBA. Unsung heroes and rising stars are beginning to make their name in the league, teams are gearing up for the playoffs, and old feuds are reigniting. Here's a quick recap of WEEK 2 of the NBA's restart.
Damian Lillard v.s. The Clippers
Since his rookie year, Damian Lillard has made his name as one of the clutchest basketball players of all time. His reputation as a buzzer-beating assassin and iconic Dame Time celebration has led many players to spite Lillard's boastful style, but he's honestly just really good at his job. However, this weekend in a game against The Clippers, he missed two free throws that would seal a win and Pat Bev enjoyed every moment!
Listen... we all know this is what Patrick Beverly does, but when it comes to Paul George, who just recently lost a playoff series to a Damian Lillard buzzer-beater, it's not the smartest idea to poke the bear. In his post-game comments, Dame made it clear that he's determined to get the last laugh: "Paul George got sent home by me last year in the playoffs... the reason they reacting like that is because of what they expect from me". Words of a true legend.
We'll have to see how things pan out with the 8th and 9th spot before Dame can even think about getting revenge, but it would be sweet to see this face again at the end of a series.
The Suns Are On 🔥
The Pheonix Suns, one of the 5 teams fighting for the 8th spot in the Western Conference, have not had a loss since the NBA’s restart. Though it’s only been 6 games, the Suns are definitely making a statement with impressive wins against the Clippers, Mavs, Heat, and earlier today against Thunder. Seems like D Book might actually stay in Pheonix and not ask for a trade like every other all-star, though many believe he should take his talents elsewhere (Draymond Green👀). Either way, it'd be interesting to see this young team who averages the most assist per game, fight their way into the playoffs.
LUKA’S BIG NIGHT
In my opinion, Luka Doncic has already established himself as the most talented international basketball player to reach the NBA. He's not the greatest international player yet, shoutout to Dirk, but Doncic has the potential to be the next face of the league and he showed it Saturday night against Giannis and the Bucks. Doncic has a stat line of 36 points, 14 rebounds, and 19 assists... What?! He played so well, that Giannis even gave him props post game. We should be excited about the future of the NBA with young stars like Doncic around, and it'd be hard to not mention the potential and competitive spirit of his rival in Atlanta: Trae Young.
TJ WARREN IS SNAPPING
All eyes were on TJ Warren last week, as he strung together a barrage of high scoring games for the Indiana Pacers. Since the beginning of the bubble, TJ has led in points per game averaging 34.8 pts a night. He's also shooting 55% from the three-point line, which is his bread and butter. Though he can't join the discussion for the most improved player, TJ has definitely made a statement in the bubble and is showing Disney World why he deserves to be a household name.
Today the Pacers play their rivals the Miami Heat. In the last game between the two teams, TJ Warren and Jimmy Buttler got into a pretty bad beef that's sure to pickup in tonight's game. This one should be must-watch TV.
The Race For 8th
As the race for the 8th spot in the Western Conference continues, the Suns are making a push for the playoffs with their recent hot play as mentioned above. The other team to look for would be the Portland Trailblazers, who are a sure shot 8th seed for most NBA fans as the standings sit now. On the other hand, teams like the Pelicans and Grizzlies are showing their true colors. Both teams have bright futures with the arrival of rookies Zion Williamson (Pelicans) and Ja Morant (Grizzlies), but neither have the experience nor depth to really make a playoff run. The Pelicans were eliminated from playoffs seeding over the weekend, and though the Grizzlies still have a chance, things are not looking good.