We are more than halfway through the 2019 NBA season, which means the more important part of the season is right around the corner! That important part is the playoffs, and we are now just three months away, as teams look to make the final moves to help them make it in.
As we look at the standings of the playoffs, we will see much of the same in terms of which teams are still in the hunt. For the West, the Dallas Mavericks and Memphis Grizzlies are slowly falling out of playoff hunt, while the Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves are continuing to rise. The East is still an 11 team race, with the same teams involved, but we are starting to see a lot more from teams that may surprise us.
We’ll find out more about this later as we look at those teams on the hot and cold list. If you forgot who was on the list last time, you can read about it here.
Before we get into the hot or cold teams, we’ll see what there is that we might have missed over the past two weeks.
- New Orleans Pelicans’ Anthony Davis (finger) is expected to be out approximately 1-2 weeks.
- Memphis Grizzlies’ Kyle Anderson (ankle) is expected to miss 2-4 weeks.
- Los Angeles Lakers’ Lonzo Ball (left ankle) is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. Lakers are hoping that Rajon Rondo and LeBron James will return soon enough.
- Miami Heat’s Goran Dragic (knee) continues to miss time and expected to return after the All-Star game.
- Houston Rockets’ Clint Capela (thumb) is expected to miss the next 4-6 weeks, and Chris Paul (hamstring) is hoping to return by the end of the month.
- Dallas Mavericks’ J.J. Barea (Achilles) will be out for the rest of the season.
- Houston Rockets have agreed to send Carmelo Anthony and cash to the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls plan to waive Anthony and make him an unrestricted free agent if he clears waivers. Anthony has immediate interest from the Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James.
- Dallas Mavericks’ Dennis Smith Jr. has been in the news as a trading piece for the Mavericks.
- Toronto Raptors signed Patrick McCaw
- Boston Celtics signed R.J. Hunter
- Detroit Pistons signed Isaiah Whitehead
- Philadelphia 76ers signed Corey Brewer
- Brooklyn Nets waived Kenneth Faried (looking for a new team)
- Rockets’ James Harden continues streaking with 19th game with 30 + points while averaging 42.5 points and 8.9 assists over that time.
- Golden State Warriors’ DeMarcus Cousins returns from injury.
- Kyrie Irving calls LeBron James to apologize for being a young player who wanted to be a leader.
- Steph Curry and Kyle Korver pass Jason Terry for All-Time career leaders in 3-pointers.
- Joel Embiid fueding with Russell Westbrook and James Harden in their games against each other.
- Klay Thompson sets NBA record for most consecutive 3s made in a row (10)
Now that we are all caught up on what has happened these past few weeks, let’s take a look at the standings as of Monday, Jan. 21st.
1. Bucks (34-12) 1. Warriors (33-14)
2. Raptors (35-13) 2. Nuggets (31-14)
3. Pacers (31-15) 3. Thunder (28-18)
4. 76ers (31-17) 4. Blazers (29-19)
5. Celtics (29-18) 5. Rockets (26-20)
6. Nets (25-23) 6. Spurs (27-21)
7. Heat (22-23) 7. Clippers (25-21)
8. Hornets (22-24) 8. Jazz (26-22)
9. Pistons (20-26) 9. Lakers (25-23)
10. Wizards (20-26) 10. Kings (24-23)
11. Magic (20-27) 11. Timberwolves (22-24)
After looking at where each team stands in the playoff race, let’s turn our attention to the teams who have been cold or hot for over the past few weeks.
The Magic have dropped seven of their last 10 games and haven’t made any progress in their step to make the playoffs. The Magic have actually fallen even more in the standings. Hopefully they can climb back into the race. I mean, they are only 2.5 games back from the eighth spot and have plenty of games left, so let’s see if they can make it back into the playoffs before it’s too late.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have continued to be effected by the injury bug. As you might have seen above, PG Lonzo Ball is expected to miss four to six weeks with an ankle sprain. They are also facing the toughest part of their schedule, with 10 of their next 15 games being against teams currently in the playoffs. They also still don’t have LeBron James and Rajon Rondo back from their injuries, but it looks like they could be available soon.
Still not sure what’s going on with the Grizzlies, as they continue to fall in the standings. They are currently 14th in the West with six straight losses. Center Marc Gasol has been in and out of the lineup, and they have been struggling.
The Pistons are still in the hunt despite being ninth in the standings, but they are continuously falling and need to find Blake Griffin some help. It’s nice to know that Griffin is coming along on his own with the Pistons, but one man can’t make the team better. Yeah, I mean they do have Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond, but both of them have been inconstant or injured all season. That certainly doesn’t help Griffin and the Pistons.
Unless they can make a run for the hot list next week. But that’s then, let’s see about the now and who’s on a hot streak!
If I told you the Nets would be in the playoffs before the season, would you have believed me? Well you should because the Nets are surprisingly the sixth seed in the Eastern conference and could very well stay there. D’Angelo Russell has been playing well, which has given the team a spark as they look to continue to be hot. Let’s see how this plays out for them in the last few months and see if they can keep their playoff hopes alive.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors are back to full force with the debut of DeMarcus Cousins, which you can find out about here. With Cousins now joining the Warriors, we could see some impressive performances by this Warriors team, as they plan to take complete control of the league. Watch out NBA, they are coming for the three-peat.
The Jazz have finally cracked the playoffs for the first time since the first week of the season. Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert are starting to get things going in the right direction. They have jumped from 11th to sixth while winning six of their last seven games. They are hoping to continue having success from this point on.
The Celtics finally have everybody back from injury and are looking to capitalize on that. With Gordon Hayward taking on the sixth man role, things are starting to look up for them. Irving has shown he’s ready to not only be a leader, but be a team player as well. Let’s also remember that Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier have continued to improve their game throughout the season. Don’t let the Celtics being in the fifth spot fool you, because they could very well be in the top three when it’s all said and done.
As we watch the league continue to play great basketball, we should also remember to vote for the NBA All-Stars. We should all make sure to vote for the best players in the league!