The NBA: The Best Players and Teams of February 2013

We saw a lot of great performances in the Love Month of ’13. The Heat lost just one game all month, Steph Curry dropped 54 on the Knicks, Tony Parker and James Harden provided strong numbers, and, of course, the All-Star Weekend in Houston had a lot of memorable moments (let’s just forget the Trade Deadline shall we?). Now we find ourselves entering the third month of the New Year. The top half of each Conference’s Playoff seedings are pretty much set, unless some favorites make monumental runs or meltdowns. All the other squads, however, will begin scrambling for the bottom Playoff spots, or, in the case of the Minnesota Timberwolves, will simply hope nobody else gets injured. Time to look back and appreciate all the players and teams who made the good kind of noise in February 2013.

This is the fourth in a series of “Best of the Month” citations based on the Efficiency Recap ratings on Team citations will be based on Efficiency Recap Difference (Team Efficiency – Opponents’ Efficiency), while Player citations will be based on Player Efficiency. You can check out the Stats Glossary here.

Team Citations:

Best Backcourt: Houston Rockets - 50.9ppg, 12.3rpg, 16.8apg, 4.6spg, 15.0 DEFF
Jeremy Lin hasn’t been as good as his Linsanity days, but that’s okay, because he has James Harden as his partner. More on Harden further down in this post.

Best Frontcourt: Indiana Pacers - 66.0ppg, 35.3rpg, 12.4apg, 5.3spg, 5.9bpg, 28.0 DEFF
David West, Paul George, and Roy Hibbert (finally) have been collectively impregnable for Indiana.

Best Bench: Utah Jazz - 42.3ppg, 19.7rpg, 9.4apg, 3.8spg, 3.0bpg, 24.8 DEFF
Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors lead a Utah bench that bested every other team’s reserves.

Gordon Hayward is the leader of a Utah bench
mob that is took the league by storm in February.
(image by Rock Bowmer/AP)

Best Starters: Oklahoma City Thunder - 78.0ppg, 29.4rpg, 15.5apg, 5.7spg, 7.8bpg, .519 FG%, 35.5 DEFF
With Russell Westbrook shooting so well and KD being, well, himself, nobody should really be surprised, right? The questions is can they turn it up even further come the Playoffs?

Best East Team: Indiana Pacers - 102.2ppg, 45.9rpg, 22.8apg, 7.8spg, 6.8bpg, 30.2 DEFF
The Heat went through the month with just one defeat, yes, but who was that team that beat them? THIS TEAM.

Best West Team: Oklahoma City  Thunder - 111.5ppg, 43.1rpg, 23.0apg, 9.4spg, 9.9bpg, .506 FG%, 34.1 DEFF
It was an inconsistent run through Feb for the Thunder, but they’ll take it. They’ll also take that notion that it seems they haven’t even peaked yet.

Player Citations:

Best Point Guard: Tony Parker (SAS) - 26.1ppg, 4.0rpg, 8.3apg, 1.1spg, .540 FG%, 28.2 EFF
Texans want him to be MVP, but he probably won’t be. That’s just reality. His numbers? That’s reality, too.

Best Shooting Guard: James Harden (HOU) - 28.7ppg, 6.4rpg, 6.8apg, 2.1spg, .529 FG%, .493 3pt%, 31.2 EFF
James Harden is already a superstar. Talk about a coming out and dominating.

Best Small Forward: LeBron James (MIA) - 29.7ppg, 7.5rpg, 7.8apg, 1.8spg, .641 FG%, 36.6 EFF
One word – untouchable.

Best Power Forward: Josh Smith (ATL) - 19.6ppg, 10.2rpg, 5.4apg, 1.0spg, 1.2bpg, .509 FG%, 25.4 EFF
And yet the coaches continue to snub him for the All-Star Weekend. #timetolearnfolks

Best Center: Al Horford (ATL) - 21.5ppg, 11.3rpg, 3.0apg, 1.3spg, 1.8bpg, .621 FG%, 29.8 EFF
The former Florida Gator just chomped on every other big he went up against.

Best East Rookie: Bradley Beal (WAS) - 17.5ppg, 5.1rpg, 1.3spg, 17.8 EFF
John Wall is NOT the best player in Washington right now. Beal is.

Best West Rookie: Damian Lillard (POR) - 19.8ppg, 6.2apg, .915 FT%, 16.0 EFF
Lillard ties Anthony Davis with “Best West Rookie” citations for the season. I’m calling it now – the guy who gets the next one will win ROY.

Best East Player: LeBron James (MIA) - 29.7ppg, 7.5rpg, 7.8apg, 1.8spg, .641 FG%, 36.6 EFF
Was there really any doubt?

The Best of this Generation. And of February.
(image by J. Pat Carter/AP)

Best West Player: James Harden (HOU) - 28.7ppg, 6.4rpg, 6.8apg, 2.1spg, .529 FG%, .493 3pt%, 31.2 EFF
Harden supplants former teammate KD as the West’s best, while also supplanting Kobe as the best SG in the league. Swallow your pride, fanboys.

Game Recaps (courtesy of the Sports Network):
February 28
Final Score: LA Clippers 99, Indiana 91
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Chris Paul scored 29 points, handed out eight assists and stymied Indiana's late comeback to help the Los Angeles Clippers hand the surging Pacers a rare 99-91 home loss. The Pacers had won five straight by an average of 24 points and last suffered a regulation defeat at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Dec. 7 against the Nuggets. The Clippers ended the impressive run by forcing 20 turnovers and holding off a late push led by Paul George to earn their seventh win in their last eight games. Jamal Crawford scored 23 points while Blake Griffin added 18 with 14 rebounds for LA, which has already clinched back-to-back winning seasons. George scored eight of his 20 points in the final 5:22, but Indiana, which was playing without suspended center Roy Hibbert, still came up short. David West and Lance Stephenson checked in with 22 and 16 points, respectively, in the setback.

Final Score: Chicago 93, Philadelphia 82
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Joakim Noah registered his third-career triple- double with 23 points, 21 rebounds and 11 blocked shots to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 93-82 win over the reeling Philadelphia 76ers at United Center. Carlos Boozer added 21 points and 12 boards, while Luol Deng finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and four assists for the Bulls, who had dropped their last three games at home entering the contest. Jrue Holiday scored 22 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the floor and Spencer Hawes added 20 points and 15 rebounds for the Sixers, who have dropped a season-high seven straight.

Final Score: LA Lakers 116, Minnesota 94
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Kobe Bryant scored 33 points in three quarters and the Los Angeles Lakers continued the NBA's longest active winning streak over on opponent with a 116-94 rout of the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Lakers have won 21 straight against Minnesota and 13 in a row at Staples Center. They used an efficient night from Bryant, five other double-digit scorers and 16 3-pointers to keep their dominance going. Antawn Jamison had 17 points and eight rebounds, while fellow reserves Jodie Meeks and Steve Blake chipped in 16 and 13 points, respectively, in the win. J.J. Barea paced Minnesota with 20 points, but it wasn't enough to snap the club's three-game slide. Luke Ridnour added 19 points, and Ricky Rubio totaled 13 points, 13 assists and eight boards in the setback.

Top Plays of the Night:

Game Highlights:

Next Post »
0 Comment