NBA: Top five talking points from this weekend’s action | NBA News

1) Los Angeles Lakers duo purring

There’s no two ways about it – the LA Lakers team we saw in the opening six games of the 2022/23 NBA season, embroiled in all-time low shooting percentages facing defeat after defeat, are dead. A renewed Anthony Davis and Lebron James have risen from those ashes to power their side to eight victories in their last 10 games, scoring threes consistently.

The latest came this weekend against the Washington Wizards in a 130-119 win. More impressively, it featured an attacking masterclass from Davis. He racked up 55 points, 17 rebounds and three blocks, while his partner-in-crime, James, netted 29 of his own. Davis has been putting up similar numbers for a while…

  • 37 PTS, 18 REB, 2 AST
  • 38 PTS, 16 REB, 4 BLK
  • 30 PTS, 18 REB, 3 STL
  • 37 PTS, 21 REB, 5 BLK
  • 25 PTS, 15 REB, 3 BLK
  • 25 PTS, 13 REB, 4 BLK
  • 27 PTS, 12 REB, 3 BLK
  • 44 PTS, 10 REB, 3 BLK
  • 55 PTS, 17 REB, 3 BLK

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Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis lights up the Washington Wizards with a new season-high 55 points and 17 rebounds.

Currently sitting at 10-12, it will be this kind of form that will get them to the playoff spots – and they aren’t far away! (Just two games behind the defending-champion Golden State Warriors currently No. 6 in the Western Conference).

Given that news has just broke that they are waiving Matt Ryan, this frees up a contractual spot for the Lakers to expand the roster and bring in extra hands to allow the duo to play more freely.

2) Sacramento beaming with success

Another team to simultaneously surprise and not surprise us in the top five talking points from this weekend’s NBA action, perhaps because action elsewhere (Davis, Ja Morant, and further down, Jose Alvarado) was so rampant.

But the Kings are currently in their best 22-game start since the 2004-05 season, and it showed this weekend when they faced off the Chicago Bulls in a 110-101 win.

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Highlights of the Chicago Bulls against the Sacramento Kings in Week 7 of the NBA season.

The biggest achievement from that game was the fact that Zach LaVine scored 41 points, sharing the contributions with his teammates, and the Kings were still able to dominate the game, thanks to the efforts of Malik Monk and Domantas Sabonis (again).

The pair were at work again, with Monk snapping up 20 points – the sixth time he has done that this season – while Sabonis had 11 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists.

This is the second time in as many games that Monk has come off the bench to lead his side to victory; he is making a very good claim for the Sixth Man of the Year award.

With the Kings having won 11 of their last 16 games, including this weekend’s win, they may just be another unpredictable team to sneak into the playoffs and ruffle a few feathers.

3) Jose Alvarado staking his claim in New Orleans

If you hadn’t already heard, on Sunday evening, New Orleans Pelicans’ Alvarado put down a mammoth career-high, 38-point performance, matching it with a career-best eight three-pointers against the Denver Nuggets in a 121-106 win.

The New Orleans faithful showed their love for him, chanting “Jose, Jose, Jose” from all corners of the Smoothie King Center as he put away basket after basket to a standing ovation.

“It’s amazing,” Alvarado said. “Like, it could never get old. It is my second year and every time they scream out ‘Jose’ and do the chant or just show me so much love, it keeps giving me goosebumps. And it makes me want to keep playing as hard as I can.”

It was New Orleans’ fourth straight win and vaulted them past Denver in the standings for No. 2 in the Western Conference. Everything about it exuded the attacking prowess that they had been missing earlier in the season when they had been without Zion Williamson.

New Orleans signed Alvarado as an undrafted free agent after last year’s draft and he wasn’t even starting for the Pelicans’ summer league team in 2021. After some trips to the G League last season, Alvarado slowly started to carve out a role for the Pelicans, where his status among the fans continued to grow.

His 38 points were the most ever scored by an undrafted player coming off the bench in an NBA game since starters were first tracked in 1970-71. It was also the most by an undrafted player in Pelicans franchise history – starter or reserve – and the most by any reserve in Pelicans history, drafted or undrafted.

His energy, verve and covert defensive movements were enough to put off MVP frontrunner Nikola Jokic this weekend, and should he continue in the same form, you can expect more points on the board.

The Kings next travel to face the 16-6 Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday, in what will be a stern test of offensive abilities.

4) Boston defence matching the attack

It’s no secret that the Boston Celtics are the best team in the league (19-5) with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum the league’s best attack.

This weekend the Celts proved that their defence can be just as steely, in a 103-92 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Indeed, they forced six key turnovers in the fourth quarter to secure the game despite playing without Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart because of a bruised left hip. In his absence, plenty of defenders stepped up to clamp down on the Nets attack, snapping their four-game winning streak in the process.

Not only did they keep the Nets to only 92 points, but they forced Kevin Durant to make eight turnovers, an especially impressive stat considering the kind of form he’s in.

Brown acknowledged as much when he stated: “even though we’ve been scoring the ball at a high clip, record-breaking numbers, defensively we can’t let that rope slip. So, tonight was a great game.”

Carrying on that defensive performance in the games to come will make the Celtics tough opponents to break down.

5) Spurs in full tank mode

The Spurs could not have made it any clearer that they’re in the running to snap up next year’s number one draft pick, Victor Wembanyama.

None more so evident than in this Sunday’s 133-95 defeat to the Phoenix Suns – their 11th straight loss, and now two losses shy of the franchise’s worst skid set in 1989.

Indeed, they were overwhelmed by the Suns, but it didn’t need a lot from Deandre Ayton, who scored 25 points, to do the job.

Though Spurs did try to respond through Keldon Johnson, the absence of starters Jakob Poeltl and Jeremy Sochan and key reserves Doug McDermott and Josh Richardson, ultimately aided their own demise.

What are their chances of snapping up one of the opening three picks in the upcoming draft? Not bad, especially if they continue to commit to their current form.

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