February 18, 2020, 12:50 pm
Welcome, Hoop Ball readers, to another edition of The Week Ahead!
The 2020 All-Star weekend was one of the more entertaining ones that we have had in quite some time. The weekend started off with the U.S. team defeating the World team in the Rising Stars Game with Miles Bridges taking home the MVP award. Before that game, Common won the Celebrity Game MVP as he took down Stephen A. Smith’s squad.
On Saturday night, Bam Adebayo surprised everyone and won the skills competition. The 3-point contest was down to the wire as it took Buddy Hield’s last shot to win it over Devin Booker. The Mountain Dew Zone shot that is worth 3 points added an interesting flair to the competition. To be honest, I do not really care to say much about the dunk contest since Aaron Gordon should have won, but the judges decided to crown Derrick Jones Jr. the champion. Although Jones had a great dunk contest, Gordon jumped over Tacko Fall…. Enough said.
Sunday night was the most entertaining All-Star game that I have ever watched. Although the first three quarters seemed pretty lackadaisical, the fourth quarter was insanely competitive. There were fouls, defense, arguing calls and even people taking charges, which are all things that you never really see in an All-Star game. Kawhi Leonard was awarded the first ever Kobe Bryant MVP award as he scored 30 points with eight 3-pointers. Team LeBron was able to defeat Team Giannis 157-155 on an Anthony Davis game-winning free throw after getting fouled by Kyle Lowry.
Overall, the 2020 All-Star weekend was very exciting and we can now shift our focus to the remainder of the regular season.
Now here is an overview of the week ahead:
Weekly Schedule Breakdown
3 games: Bulls
2 games: 76ers, Bucks, Cavs, Celtics, Grizzlies, Hawks, Heat, Hornets, Jazz, Kings, Lakers, Mavs, Nets, Nuggets, Pacers, Pelicans, Pistons, Raptors, Rockets, Spurs, Suns, Thunder, Trail Blazers, Warriors, Wizards, Wolves
1 game: Clippers, Knicks, Magic
Best Schedule: Wizards (Cavs, at Bulls)
The Wizards are playing two of the teams that are below them in the Eastern Conference standings, which could help them inch closer to the Magic. Bradley Beal will have to lead a surprisingly solid Wizards offense past two of the lesser teams in the NBA. Beal, Davis Bertans, Ish Smith and Rui Hachimura should be inserted into all lineups.
Worst Schedule: Wolves (Celtics, at Nuggets)
The Wolves now have the dynamic duo of D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns and will try to see if that is a compatible fit as we wind down the second half of the season. However, playing against the Celtics and Nuggets is a rough week regardless of how good of a team you are, so the Wolves will likely walk away from this week with an 0-2 record.
Game of the Week: Celtics at Lakers on Sunday at 3:30 PM ET
The Celtics ended the break on a high note with a win over the Clippers and will look to make a statement with a win over the Lakers on Sunday. The Lakers are sitting at the first seed in the West, while the Celtics are fighting for the second seed with the Raptors. This should be an entertaining matchup, but you never know as the Celtics destroyed the Lakers the last time these teams met. Tune in on Sunday afternoon for what should be an exciting game.
Kris Dunn (knee) could miss the remainder of the season due to his right MCL sprain. The Bulls have been battling injuries all season, so this is nothing new for them. Tomas Satoransky will likely see the biggest boost in value with Dunn out, though he was already playing well beforehand.
Aside from his injury, all of the day-to day guys should be ready to go post All-Star break. Hopefully, this section of the article can be this short every week, but we know how harsh the injury bug is.
Check for updates on these guys throughout the week.
Thanks for reading this week’s edition of The Week Ahead!