For a moment, it appeared that the Atlanta Hawks were going to sputter across the finish line of the NBA season and fail to make the postseason in their first year without Josh Smith on the roster.
But, as the New York Knicks began to get hot with their current seven game win streak and make a run at the Hawks place in the playoffs, this Atlanta team has responded with a five game streak of its own.
Team of the week: Atlanta Hawks
The current win streak could not have come at a better time for a team that lost 13 out of the previous 14 games prior to it. Rewind the clock just a few months and the Hawks were sitting pretty as the No. 2 seed in the Southeast Division and the No. 3 in the Eastern Conference, but their recent woes has them sitting behind Charlotte in the standings and clinging to an eight seed. Jeff Teague has been a major factor in their recovery, averaging 19 points, 7.6 assists and 4 rebounds per game over his last five.
Player of the week: Tim Duncan-San Antonio Spurs
The ageless one rolls on. Over the Spurs eleven game win streak, Duncan has been a beacon of consistency, averaging 12.7 points, 10 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.6 blocks per game. These are not unusual numbers for Duncan as he has been one of the most consistent players of all time during his 17 year NBA career and this season is no different. The 37-year old is averaging an impressive 15 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks this season.
Dunk of the week: Patrick Beverley-Houston Rockets
I love a point guard willing to go to the rim. This isn’t a common thing for Bev, but he takes on this moment and finishes in Russell Westbrook-like fashion over Chris Bosh, something that is sure to make any highlight reel.
Block of the week: LeBron James-Miami Heat
In a stunning performance that saw the King set a personal record for points scored in a first quarter with 25, and finishing with 43 points against his former team, Shaquile O’Neals got busy on the defensive end with this rejection of Spencer Hawes at the rim.
Assist of the week: Wesley Matthews-Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers don’t have much depth and have been stumbling as of late, but with plays like this from Matthews and the reliability of second year man Damian Lillard, the team looks a sure thing to make the postseason.
Trick shot of the week: Trevor Ariza-Washington Wizards
Ariza has been just short of amazing this year for the Wizards, tearing it up from three point range by hitting a career high 42% of his shots from beyond the arc and tying a career high 1.8 steals per game. Here, he knocks down a big bucket for the Wizards with the turnaround off the glass to beat the shot clock.