We’re just under two weeks away from the beginning of the 2011 NBA Playoffs (April 16), my favorite time of the year. We thought it’d be a good idea who are the most deserving players in the league in recent weeks to be considered as being “on fire” heading into the post season.
LeBron James, Miami Heat
He’s been here on both of the New Year’s and Pre-All-Star list. Since the home loss to the Thunder in mid march, the Miami Heat have eight of nine and LeBron has gone over 30 six times, including a 43 point performance against the Hawks to start their streak, coming with a 5-7 from three point land. He also had a triple double against the Cavs despite the loss (27-10-12). He’s averaging 31.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.4 assists on another MVP like season that won’t win him the award. As of now, he’s leading the Heat to the second spot in the East.
Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
I don’t know if LeBron would have won it if it wasn’t for Rose’s amazing season but it doesn’t really matter. Rose is pretty much crowned as the first Chicago Bulls MVP winner by the media since… you know who. Leading the Bulls to seven wins from their last nine as they sit on top of the Eastern conference with a small chance of finishing with the League’s best record, Rose has averaged 29 points and 8.4 assists during these nine games, including a 42 point night in the loss to the Pacers and three 30+ points and at least 10 assists, with a 30-17 night against the Bucks and a 36-10 night against the Raptors.
Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
It looks like the Knicks are out of the danger zone and have steadied the boat a little bit, right now carried by three consecutive wins. Carmelo Anthony, like it or not, is the main man in the big apple. He just gets more balls than Amare, and can influence the game more. Is it better for the Knicks this way? I’m not sure, but Anthony has been on fire lately, for better and worse. He’s averaging just over 29 points in the last 8 games, including three consecutive nights scoring over 36 points, two of them 39-10 games in the wins over the Orlando Magic and the Nets.
Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
Did you think the Heat are cruising recently just because of LeBron? Wrong. It’s a soft schedule and Dwyane Wade’s form – He’s averaging 29 points in the last 8 games (7-1), including two consecutive 30-10 nights including a 39-11-8 in the win over the 76ers.
Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
With the playoffs looming, the Magic have taken quite a dip in their form in the past week or so, losing three of their last four. Still, their only hope of playoff success is Dwight Howard continuing his fantastic season, worthy of MVP consideration. Despite having a double-double streak broken on Sunday stretching from January, Howard’s numbers have been quite impressive lately – 25.6 Points, 15.1 Rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. He needs to be this good for the Magic to have a shot. He also needs the guys around him to wake the F&%K up.