First of all, Suga would like to Congratulate Dirk Nowitzki of the Mavs for joining the 30,000 points club and being the 1st International Player to do so. He joins Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain. Who is the closest NBA player in line to try and join the club? LeBron James. He may take about 63 more games to do so based on average points per game. Other players are way off with hundreds of games more to go.
Now to the meat of the matter. It’s almost Playoff time and teams on the chopping block are striving for every win they can get.
How are The Finals looking?
Suga believes the Cavs are going straight to the Finals again. The teams on the East continue to be weak and King James and the Cavs are just too good right now. Despite their last 3 consecutive losses, they turn it up when they need to. The closest contenders, currently a close 2nd in the East are Isaiah Thomas and the Celtics. They beat the Warriors Wednesday night without KD but they aren’t consistent enough. They should give the Cavs a run for their money though.
Main concern for the Cavs
The main concern for the Cavs has been not enough time to rest their star players. The plan to do so got a dent with them obtaining Warriors’ Andrew Bogut.
He’s so fragile. Bogut fractured his tibia within minutes of his team debut and will be out for the rest of the year. Kevin Love is still out and J.R Smith is just returning after an injury to his finger. However, they added Deron Williams and Kyle Korver. Coach Lue has already started to implement a system to trim minutes for Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson whose defense game has stepped up majorly this year with 70 blocks and he still has more games to go this season.
Suga Finally Anoints LeBron James as King
Oh and yes I said it earlier, King James. The rain is going to pour and the gates are going to open because I have finally put some ‘respek’ on his name and anointed him. Timing is everything though and he anointed himself before his time, that is, before he even got a ring. I still do not think he is better than MJ, so let us not get carried away folks.
If and when LeBron and the Cavs reach The Finals this year, it would be LeBron’s 7th straight Final! I’m sure everyone would agree that is quite commendable.
There may be many times he may not be able to hit the game-winning shot and a lot rests on Kyrie but Kyrie and the team could not keep winning without him.
The best players are usually arrogant but they aren’t usually babies crying, falling to the floor and begging for calls from the Ref after every little hit or shove. So quit being a baby LeBron and you will get some more respect from Suga.
The Warriors have acquired Matt Barnes but at the same time have lost Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli, Leandro Barbosa and Marreese Speights. They therefore have no BIGS in the paint. The Splash Brothers are no more because Steph Curry and Klay Thompson no longer play in sync as they used to and they are not unstoppable. Both Klay and Curry have been very inconsistent with scoring and something seems off with the overall chemistry of the team. Even with Kevin Durant (KD), Suga doesn’t see a Super team. I see a weaker team.
Hold up, I should say without KD because right now KD is sitting it out with a Grade 2 MCL Sprain after his teammate, Zaza Pachulia fell on him while his knee was hyperextended in a game on February 28th. Grade 2 MCL Sprains normally take about 6 weeks to heal but the Warriors say he will be re-evaluated in 4 weeks and could return before the end of the season.
Following KD’s injury, the Warriors suffered back to back defeats, which hasn’t happened since 2015. They suffered back to back losses again Wednesday night after they lost to the Celtics. KD was shooting the best in his career and led the team in points and rebounds per game. Sadly he can no longer be in the race for MVP because of his injury.
Suga thinks karma will come around to bite KD for going to the Warriors and all the players they sacrificed just to get him will go in vain.
If not the Warriors then who?
The San Antonio Spurs of course. They are currently in 2nd spot close behind the Warriors. They had a tough loss against OKC last night, especially when Kawhi Leonard had to go to the Locker room after getting hit in the head. They weren’t themselves last night but you have to keep in mind they were on a 9-game winning streak. They play the Warriors tomorrow night at 8:30pm!
Once the Spurs play to full potential they are quite hard to beat. This was proven on Wednesday night when they beat the Kings after overcoming a 28-point deficit with both LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi out resting. That win showed their Coach, Gregg Popovich all fired up. A sign they are going for that #1 spot in the West.
Also note that with veteran Gasol, Aldridge and Kawhi, they have BIGS in the paint.
The Spurs clinched an NBA record with their 18th straight 50-win season on Wednesday night.
Current Eastern & Western Conference Standings
Race for MVP
LeBron is in the race for MVP with James Harden of the Rockets, Russell Westbrook of OKC and Kawhi Leonard of the Spurs. It depends on how they define MVP but Suga thinks all roads lead to LeBron James for MVP, the Stats King.
To break it down briefly, let’s look at LeBron vs. Harden.
LeBron has better numbers from the field and 3-point line over Harden. He is actually better than KD and even with Steph Curry at the 3-point line. Let’s not even talk about Harden’s record for turnovers this season. Rockets’ defense improves when Harden is off the court. No MVP for him this year.
LeBron vs. Kawhi
Despite averaging 0.4 points more per game than LeBron, Leonard is a less efficient scorer. He shoots 5.1% worse from the field and 1.3% worse from the 3-point line.
Kawhi is known for his strong defense but surprisingly, the stats show that the Spurs are better defensively without him on the court.
Since the stats show that Rockets and Spurs do better and/or still win with Harden and Leonard off the respective teams, that rules them out for MVP in my books.
That now leaves LeBron vs. Westbrook.
Kudos to Westbrook for not crumbling after a bad break up. He has shown tremendous effort and focus in every game he plays and as a result, has led OKC to a spot they are likely to keep or move up by one to head to the Playoffs without KD. He does not have a good team and regardless of if they miss shots or good opportunities he hasn’t cursed them yet. He has shown he has prepared mentally for each and every game.
Steven Adams, Victor Oladipo and Enes Kanter showed their potential last night in a win vs. the Spurs. When it’s Playoff time, could OKC rise a dark horse? We’ll see because that was just one game and they played versus the Spurs’ bench in the 4th. This puts us back to the MVP race between Russ and LeBron.
Last night Russ tied Wilt Chamberlain’s record of 31 for the 2nd most Triple-Doubles in a season. Congrats to Westbrook but LeBron’s shooting is still better at 53.8% vs. 41.9%. LeBron is first for Field Goal Percentage in the league and Westbrook is way behind.
Also keep in mind that Westbrook is on a team that may not make it to 50 wins this season. MVPs are usually on teams that made 50 or more wins during the regular season
LeBron is universally accepted as the best NBA player in the world and the fact remains that when LeBron takes a breather, especially if Kyrie’s game isn’t on point, the Cavs fall flat. The same occurs with OKC without Westbrook. The difference? The Cavs are an excellent team with LeBron and OKC is a good team with Westbrook.
Excellence wins the race and so may LeBron for MVP.
Let’s see how it all plays out. Don’t you just love this game?!
By: Gabrielle Burgess
If you liked this article, follow Suga Lifestyle or like the Suga Lifestyle Facebook page.