NBA Update: Pacers power run
THE Indiana Pacers continued their impressive start to the season by climbing to third place in the conference behind the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat. The Pacers are on a form of six consecutive victories for a 23-12 record overall and are a constant reminder of the value of team effort on the court as seen in their most recent 102-84 win over the New Orleans Hornets. Against the Hornets, 10 of the 12 players utilised during the 48 minutes had at least one assist, not something you'll find every day.
Derrick Rose continues to move in and out of the Chicago Bulls roster, but when he plays, the reigning league MVP always has an effect on the game. He had nine assists in helping the Bulls to a 112-91 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers and extends their league-best record to 30-8. Luo Deng led all scorers with 24 points as the Bulls won their five games in a row.
A nail-biting finish did not turn out in favour of the Heat as they had their nine-game winning streak snapped by a 99-98 loss to the Utah Jazz. The game sparked more fuel for the discussion of LeBron James' psyche as he passed up an opportunity to win the game with less than three seconds to go.
The Boston Celtics recorded a hard-fought 115-111 overtime win against the New York Knicks to extend their winning streak to four games, but all of this was in the shadows of Rajon Rondo's history-setting feat. The Celtics point guard on Sunday became only the second player in NBA history (behind Jason Kidd who did it twice) to record a 15-15-15 game as he claimed 18 points, 20 assists and 17 rebounds to completely dismantle his opposite number; the euphoria-riding Jeremy Lin.
With the season reduced to 66 games, it would take a drastic dip in the form of the Knicks for the current top eight to be disrupted with the closest challenger being the Milwaukee Bucks who have won just two of their last 10 games.
Rookie 'Wolves showing grit
The rookie combination of Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams seems to have invigorated the desires of the Minnesota Timberwolves as they make a run at a play-off spot.
Coming off the All-Star break where the Timberwolves representatives had a decent showing, the overall record of the franchise now stands at 19-19 which is just outside of the Denver Nuggets who hold a 20-17 record.
Last year's 'Cinderella' team, the Memphis Grizzlies, are in the process of showing that their play-off scalp last season was no accident as they lifted their conference standings to fifth place. With a 22-15 record and a four-game winning streak they are one win outside of the Los Angeles Lakers in fourth.
While they climb, the Houston Rockets and the Portland Trailblazers ended the week on a poor note, losing two and three straight games respectively. The Rockets still hold a play-off spot as seventh but the Trailblazers, who at the early stages of the season were being tipped as possible title contenders, are slipping away rapidly from that play-off objective.
The Lakers ended their week with a two-game winning streak, being fuelled by face-mask-wearing Kobe Bryant who has recorded over 30 points in both games. The conference leaders, the Oklahoma City Thunder, saw their week come to an end on a negative note but for now this has little to no effect as they sit over three wins ahead of the San Antonio Spurs who are second with a 25-11 record.