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The Best NBA Teams Right Now Vol. 1

Best NBA Teams

The best NBA teams that are equally fun to watch

Well, the past week in the NBA has been fun, hasn’t it? With 34 days left in the regular season and 40 until the playoffs start, there hasn’t been a dull moment unpacking storylines that would put a twinkle in Mona Scott-Young’s eye.

LeBron James went down with a foot injury as the hobbled Los Angeles Lakers look to sneak into the play-in tournament on the already injury-prone body of Anthony Davis. Steph Curry has returned to the defending NBA Champions, the Golden State Warriors, who were riding a five-game winning streak, have been trending upward and should have the rest of the league worried.

 Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks are still struggling, even with the recent addition of Kyrie Irving. And the New York Knicks—ah, yes, the Knicks. The Blue and Orange skies haven’t looked brighter as they’ve won nine straight games and 12 out of their last 14. Yes, the Knicks are proving that the stouter teams in the league shouldn’t take them lightly. Yes, the city is under new “old” management, with the crosstown Brooklyn Nets trading Irving and Kevin Durant.

And yes, one thing is a certainty; Bing Bong Nation will continue to be excessively and aggressively annoying on television, radio, and everyone’s social media timeline as they prepare their championship parade down the Canyon of Heroes…in their mind.

We’ll revisit that next week and see if they crack our top five. For now, these are the best NBA teams to pay attention to based on their season’s sample size and what they did on the hardwood last week.

5. Phoenix Suns

With all due respect to the Sacramento Kings, who begin this week two games ahead in the third seed in the Western Conference, Kevin Durant is a Phoenix Sun.

Full stop.

Oh, you want more?

Ugh, okay.

While that award-winning analysis should be the end of this entry, The Valley’s newest (Easy Money) sniper popped off 23 points in his minutes-restricted debut against Charlotte (after nearly two months recovering from a strained MCL in his knee).

Following that up with a solid 20 against the Bulls (while passing Oscar Robertson for 13th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list) and a dominant 37-point performance against the Mavericks, nailing the go-ahead winning shot. You can see the potential powerhouse the league’s latest superteam can be throughout the remainder of the season.

And yet, outside of Sunday’s playoff-like win in Dallas, KD wasn’t the leading scorer during last week’s slate of games. Dropping 37, 35, and 36, respectfully over the previous three games—averaging 33 points per game over his last four—Devin Booker not only has a battery in his back with the acquisition of his newest running mate but is 10-toes down in staking his claim that the Suns are his team.

4. Boston Celtics

Something must be rotten in Beantown’s chow’dah since the city of New York practically pissed in it. Boston started their week with an “L” to the Knicks in MSG, knocking them out of the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Then, they bounced back in a close win against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Then, they completely shit the bed on their home court, blowing a 28-point lead in a loss to the superstar-deficient Brooklyn Nets and losing again to the Knicks—without Jalen Brunson—in a double-overtime thriller.

If there is a silver lining for Celtic fans to hold onto, it’s the performances of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, even though they’ve lost three of their last four.

During that tough stretch, the duo put up numbers fans have grown accustomed to (Tatum, 29/10/7, Brown, 26/5/3), but it wasn’t enough. When you’re racking up turnovers (16 and 19 against the Knicks and Nets, respectfully) and the threes aren’t falling (35.6 percent and 21.4 percent in both Knicks losses), it’ll never be enough. 

Another positive outlook, despite being knocked off their square, is that the C’s are still within striking distance of the number one seed, only a game and a half back of the Milwaukee Bucks in the East. But that team is scorching hot, winning 17 of their last 18 games and looking to add distance. And don’t look now, but the Celtics’ grip on the second seed is not as firm as once thought, with the Philadelphia 76ers only three games back.

3. Philadelphia Sixers

It was an interesting week for the Sixers. After the Boston Celtics snapped their five-game win streak, they’ve been losers of three of their last five games. During that stretch, James Harden averaged over 25 points per game, and Joel Embiid continued his MVP campaign by averaging 32 points and over 11 boards.

But despite their mediocrity last week, Philly is still holding strong to the third seed in the Eastern Conference (even though the Cleveland Cavaliers are nipping at their heels), ranking second in the league in three-point percentage (38.6) and third in points allowed (110.7).

Oh yeah, and there was Saturday in primetime…

In a potential playoff battle (yes, please, basketball Gods), the Sixers pulled off a gutsy 133-130 victory over the buzzsaw that is the Milwaukee Bucks, snapping their 16-game win streak behind Embiid’s 31 points, 10 assists and six rebounds, Tyrese Maxey’s 26 points, and The Beard’s 38 points and 10 dimes.

That statement win can’t be ignored.

2. Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets handled their business last week, going undefeated and winning four of their last five games. During that run, Nikola Jokic continued his dominance in the league and irked his haters, who continue to accuse him of stat-padding, averaging 24 points, 15.3 rebounds, and 10 assists.

Also, during those three games, The Joker racked up his 100th career triple-double against the Houston Rockets and his 25th triple-double of the season against the Memphis Grizzlies the following game.

Aside from MVP-caliber individual performances, the team is clicking on all cylinders. The Nuggets are top five in average points (117.1), ranked number two in offensive efficiency, and are getting significant contributions from Jamal Murray (19.8 points, 8 assists over the last five games), Michael Porter Jr. (20.4 points in the previous five games) and Aaron Gordon (18.2 points in the last five games).

Upcoming games against non-threatening, mid-to-lowly squads (Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs, Brooklyn Nets) should increase their lead in the Western Conference over the Memphis Grizzlies—whose season could crate under the weight of Ja Morant’s off-the-court drama and suspension, as well as Brandon Clarke’s season-ending injury.

Denver should ideally cruise to the No. 1 seed and clinch homecourt-advantage throughout the playoffs, which would be very beneficial since they have a league-best 29-4 record in Mile High

1. Milwaukee Bucks

Despite coming up short and having their 16-game win streak snapped in Saturday’s tough loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, the Bucks quickly got back in the “W” column snuffing out the Washington Wizards on Sunday. During that game, Giannis Antetokounmpo logged his second triple-double of the season with 23 points, 10 rebounds, and 13 assists.

Not only is Milwaukee winners of 17 out of the last 18 games, but they’re also 20-2 since the turn of the new year—showing their dominance over the entire NBA landscape with the best record in the league at 46-18.

Outside of the Greek Freak’s performance during this white-hot stretch, which saw him clock in 50 or more points three times, Jrue Holiday has been a more than capable number-two option with over 25 points a game since the ball dropped. And it appears Khris Middleton is finally coming into form after injuries had him sitting out the first half of the season. 

They still sit atop the Eastern Conference with only a game and a half lead over the Boston Celtics. Games against the Orlando Magic and Brooklyn Nets should make distancing themselves an easy objective to achieve.

Still, Saturday’s primetime matchup against the defending NBA Champions, the Golden State Warriors, and a returning Steph Curry will test the league’s third-ranked defense as they continue their championship run.

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