NBA February and what a month it was for the league!
After a tough January losing great legends in Kobe Bryant and David Stern, the teams and players were able to bring things back together in the locker room and continue to push for a playoff spot. Let’s see who has been on top of the list as far as performances throughout the month.
NBA February – Players of the Month
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
The first player to be on my list this 2019 – 2020 season from the Eastern Conference NOT named the Greek Freak.
Jayson Tatum has taken his game to another level and has taken this Celtics team to much higher standards this month. And Tatum was another player who was close to Kobe prior to his passing. Although he was devastated by the loss of his childhood hero, Tatum used that energy as fuel. He has always wanted to make Kobe proud in the best way. As the playoffs approach, Boston-fans can only hope Tatum can keep up this elite play. The Celtics will really need to run the offense through him as they head towards the postseason.
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
The King has played exceptionally through the month of February.
LeBron has been all over the League playing at an extremely high level. From the All-Star Game to the regular-season wins, he has the hot hand. Right now, the Lakers are miles ahead of the other Western teams keeping that #1 seed on a lock heading into the playoffs.
LeBron understands how much home court advantage helps teams and that’s why he is pushing the momentum. It is the beauty of having a championship veteran leading the squad. We may see LeBron rest more as the season winds down, but his mentality will not change while he is on the court. His goal is to be ready to make a playoff push so he can earn his 4th championship and secure the 1st one in a decade for the Los Angeles Lakers.
NBA February – Rookies of the Month
Coby White, Chicago Bulls
Wooow bro. Coby White has been an X-Factor for Chicago off the bench this season.
Playing alongside guys in Zach Lavine and Lauri Markannen, White has been able to feed off his teammates’ energy. He has lit up the floor every time he checks into the game. White picked up his play this month, averaging 20 points per game while shooting 43% from the field. White’s been stellar so far despite Chicago only winning one game the entire month! As the rookie shooter has continued to flourish this season, it could be possible that Chicago Bulls’ Head Coach Jim Boylen will move him to the starting lineup. That move could make a difference for this Chicago team in the near future. So, wow bro.
Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans
It’s only right that I gave this guy the award for Rookie of the Month for the Western Conference.
Many expected the Pelicans to be out of the playoff race by now. But once Zion Williamson returned for the floor, that narrative changed. Zion has been a BEAST among boys all month, showing that he can compete and dominate at the professional level.
Since Zion’s healthy arrival to the court this season, the Pelicans are a seed away from entering the playoff race in the tough Western Conference. Holding down the 9th spot in the conference, right behind the current Rookie of the Year (ROY)’s, Ja Morant’s team the Memphis Grizzlies. We have all raved about Ja Morant’s stellar play throughout the season. But Zion is coming with a vengeance for that ROY Award. Both of these guys will continue to flourish through the rest of the season. And whoever’s team wins that last seed in the Western Conference might have a Rookie of the Year Award to go with their team’s playoff berth.
NBA February – Teams of the Month
The Bucks continue to dominate and dismantle teams.
They continue to be scorching hot from behind the arc and their shooting accuracy takes opponents out of their game. The Bucks are improving and gathering momentum as we head into the playoffs.
They have handled teams like the Toronto Raptors and the LA Lakers in tough match-ups. Now that we’re in March, let’s see if this team can continue the momentum through the last month of the regular season. By the way, they’ve been so dominant, there may be a chance Coach Budenholzer decides to sit Giannis down for the rest of the season so their MVP can be fresh and ready for the postseason to begin in April.
I wasn’t a big Houston fan coming into the season, but they played impressive basketball in February.
They have adapted a small line-up and they torch teams up and down the court with their quickness and shooting. One of Houston’s biggest factors last month was the rise of Russell Westbrook. It took Westbrook some time to get used to playing alongside Harden.
But once he did, he has been nearly unstoppable lifting the Houston Rockets to a playoff-contending squad. As the regular season comes to an end, it’ll be interesting to see how Houston will play with guys no taller than 6’7″ on the floor. They will have to space the floor and execute to make a deep playoff run in the talent-rich Western Conference.
NBA February – Game of the Month
February 16: NBA All-Star Game
Team LeBron 157– 155 Team Giannis
It has been difficult trying to understand Adam Silver’s new All-Star Game format. But as the game went on, it became easier to get a read on why this was the best idea for formatting the All-Star Game. This game was in honor of Kobe and his daughter Gianna. Team LeBron wore #2 for Gianna while Team Giannis wore #24 for Kobe.
The first three quarters were filled with highlight-reel plays and open shots for each player. But as the 4th Quarter arrived, that became a different story.
NBA All-Star Game Format
There are 12 minute quarters. After each quarter the score resets and the team that won the quarter gets money donated to their charities of choice. Team LeBron won the first quarter of play 53 – 41. Team Giannis smashed the second quarter, 50 – 31. The third quarter ended in a tie at 41 – 41!
At the end of the third, Team Giannis had 133 points overall and Team LeBron had 124 points overall. For the 4th quarter, the overall score would matter because there was no game clock. Instead, the first team to score 157 points would win the game.
And that is when things got interesting…
This was probably the first NBA All-Star Game that I have ever seen that had playoff-level intensity. Teams were arguing with referees over calls, there was tight defense being played by everyone. Clearly, it was very important for both teams to get a win.
Team LeBron 156 – Team Giannis 155
The game would end up with guard Kyle Lowry fouling big man, Anthony Davis. Davis would then go to the line and make 1 free throw to seal the game for Team LeBron.
Many would say that this years All-Star Game was a success. The game got much more competitive without a game clock in the fourth quarter and the players really went after it. It’s safe to say that this format will be here for a while. Regardless, this game was dedicated to the late & great Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna. And everyone just wanted to make them proud with the way they played that night.
NBA February – Top 3 Plays of the Month
3. Myles Turner dagger three-pointer vs Blazers
2. Miles Bridges off the backboard dunk
1. Delon Wright Circus shot vs Wizards
On to NBA March & Beyond
Now that we’re in the 2nd half of the season, it is time for teams to buckle down. Everyone needs to figure out the X’s and O’s of what needs to be done in order for teams to be prepared for the playoffs. With March being the last month of regular season play, we’ll see many teams competing for the right spot that gives the best chance at a long post-season run.
Which means that we still have a lot of NBA Basketball to play and write about! So, stay with us here on the Herstun Writer or check out my basketball blog where we… talk about basketball!
#LetsGrow #LoveAlways #HerstunHoops
Written By Nick Andre. Edited By W.D. Herstun.
Let the record show that Nick Andre turns this report in on time EVERY MONTH. And then, I take a week to edit it. Lol. Luckily, a lot of you are reading from overseas and I do not get the impression from the stats that you mind the lag. Thank you for sticking with us, we appreciate it. We may not have it on time, but we will have it, and probably with a little #Wild.
I have two honorable mentions this time around folks. Big shout out to the slow starters. You must get started in order to have a strong finish and both of these guys are finishing the season strong.
Wild NBA February – Slow Starter to Watch, Veteran
Russell Westbrook, Houston Rockets
Wild NBA February – Slow Starter to Watch, Rookie
Cam Reddish, Atlanta Hawks
(As of the end of February Cam Reddish is injured.)