Heading into the All-Star weekend in Los Angeles, we take a look at the best players in the NBA in recent weeks.
LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers
Currently leading the Blazers on six game win streak, averaging 34 points in the last five which included the scalps of the Bulls and the Hornets. Earlier this month Aldridge poured 40 on the Spurs in the Blazers’ win. He’s stepping up big time as Brandon Roy, as usual, went down and is by far the best player out of the All-Star game this year. Deserves to be there way more than Tim Duncan.
LeBron James – Dwyane Wade – Chris Bosh, Miami Heat
The Heat continue being pretty much the hottest team in the league (along with the Mavs right now actually), winning 10 of their last 11 games. LeBron, since missing two games in mid-January, has had 5 30+ point games including 51 against the Magic and 41 against the Pacers. Wade dropped 41 on the Pacers ( a different game) and Bosh just might their best player during the last 3 games, including a 25 point night against the Toronto Raptors, enjoying the boos, blowing kisses in the air. The best example of the trio’s dominance was the 110-103 win over Indiana, as they combined for 90 points. They also combined for 76 points out of Miami’s 103 on Wednesday against the Raptors.
Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
Enjoying the best season of his career (22.8, 13.8, 2.1 blocks), Howard is the only reason that the Magic are still in the title race talk as kind of fringe contenders. In the last four games has scored 30 or more three times and his 31-13 display against the Lakers in the Magic’s 89-75 win while completely shutting down the Paint on D was MVP like. He won’t win the MVP, but Howard has to win defensive player of the year. He’s also part of the most exciting All-Stat starting five in a while (Rose-Wade-LeBron-Howard-Amare).
Monta Ellis, Golden State Warriors
Another player who was snubbed from the All-Star despite his fantastic season (25.3 points per game, 5.3 assists). Part or the most exciting back court duo in the league, partnering with Stephen Curry, Ellis has led the Warriors to seven wins in their last nine games and a decent 26-29 record, with the playoffs still in sight. Ellis has scored over 30 four times this month – 33 in a win over Chicago, 37 on Denver, 33 against Durant and the Thunder and 37 on Wednesday in Utah against the slumping Jazz.
Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
Averaging 27.7 points and 8.7 assists this month so far, Rose is playing like an MVP this year and even more lately. Chicago won three out of five in their Western road trip, including 32 against the Clippers and 29 against Deron Williams and Utah. He beat Chris Paul to cap off the tour with 23 points and last night against the Spurs showed he’s meaning business going into the All-Star game, dropping 42 points on the best team in the league. With Rose playing like that and hopefully Noah and Boozer clicking, the Bulls are title contenders right along with the Celtics and the Heat coming from the East.
Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets
Trade talk, rumors, Carmelo doesn’t care. He has been on fire in February, averaging 31.1 points per game. The Nuggets are in bad shape of late, winning only four out of their last 11 but the blame shouldn’t be going Anthony’s way. Carmelo scored 38 in the away win against Milwaukee on Wednesday and has a 42 point and a 50 point night this month, both losses. Maybe he’s trying to tell something to someone.