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Week 15 Rewind: 10 things to know from the past 7 days in the NBA

All-Star starters announced, Suns streaking (again), comeback Clips strike again, Joel Embiid is unstoppable and more from Week 15 in the NBA.

The Phoenix Suns have not lost a game since Jan. 8; they have won 10 straight and 13 of their last 14 games.

1. All-Star starters announced

The 10 starters for the 2022 NBA All-Star Game were announced on Thursday with Los Angeles LeBron James and Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant to serve as team captains for the second straight year. Memphis’ Ja Morant and Golden State’s Andrew Wiggins will both start in their first All-Star Game appearances. Meanwhile, LeBron was selected as a starter for the 18th consecutive year.

 

The reserves will be announced Thursday, with the All-Star draft set for the following Thursday before the All-Stars head to Cleveland for this year’s festivities. Expect to see some players from the Suns and Heat when the reserves are announced as the teams with the leading records in each conference were shut out of the starting lineup.


2. Suns with second double-digit win streak of season

The Phoenix Suns (40-9) are off to their best start in franchise history as they have put together their second double-digit win streak of the season. After winning a franchise-record 18 straight games from Oct. 30 through Dec. 2, the Suns closed out Week 15 on a 10-game win streak that dates back to Jan. 11. The Grizzlies (11 games) are the only other team in the league this season with a double-digit win streak. The last team with multiple 10+ game win streaks in the same season were the 2017-18 Houston Rockets, who had win streaks of 11, 14 and 17 games on their way to finishing with a league-best 65-17 record.


3. Embiid on a tear

Joel Embiid climbed to second place in the latest edition of the Kia MVP Ladder as he has continue to put up incredible performances night after night for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Embiid has scored at least 25 points in 17 straight games, dating back to Dec. 26 – he trails only LeBron James (18 games) for the longest streak of the season. That run of 17 games began with eight straight games with 30+ points, which is the longest streak of any player this season.


4. Cunningham vs. Mobley delivers

The top two players in the latest edition of the Kia Rookie Ladder – Cleveland’s Evan Mobley and Detroit’s Cade Cunningham – met for the second time this season on Sunday. After Mobley (16 points, seven rebounds, four blocks, two steals) and the Cavs took the first meeting back on Nov. 12, this time it was Cunningham (19 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) and the Pistons that earned the win.

So far this season, Cunningham (16.1 ppg) and Mobley (15.1) rank first and third, respectively, among rookies in scoring – matching their draft positions. Mobley (8.2 rpg, 1.7 bpg) leads all rookies in both rebounds and blocks, while Cunningham (5.4 apg, 1.3 spg) is second in both assists and steals.


5. Comeback Clippers do it again

The Clippers have been without Kawhi Leonard for the entire season and have been without Paul George since Dec. 22. Despite playing much of the season without their two All-Stars, the Clippers are still playing .500 ball (26-26) and sit in seventh place in the West at the end of Week 15.

Three of LA’s 26 wins have come after the team trailed by more than 20 points, with the latest edition coming last Tuesday in Washington D.C. as the Clippers overcame a 35-point deficit to stun the Wizards, taking their first (and only) lead of the game with 1.9 seconds left in the fourth quarter on Luke Kennard’s four-point play.

This was the third time the Clippers have rallied from what appeared to be a certain loss. This stat from NBA.com’s John Schuhmann pretty much sums it up.


6. Spurs video tribute team

We have to give props to the San Antonio Spurs video team, which delivered moving tributes for returning players in each of the past two weeks. Last week, they showed love to LaMarcus Aldridge and Patty Mills when the Nets visited San Antonio. This week, it was DeMar DeRozan’s turn to get the thank you on his first return to San Antonio as a member of the Bulls.


7. Trending Up: Hawks, Warriors, Nuggets

The Atlanta Hawks finished Week 15 riding a seven-game win streak as they have climbed into the East Play-Inย  Tournament field (10th at 24-25). They still have some work to do if they want to climb into the top six and get a guaranteed return to the playoffs – they are five games back of sixth-place Brooklyn – but Atlanta is starting to play like the team that made the East Finals last season.

Meanwhile, both the Warriors and Nuggets ended Week 15 on five-game win streaks. For the Warriors, the Splash Brothers took over down the stretch on Saturday as the Warriors defeated the Nets. For the Nuggets, the reigning Kia MVP Nikola Jokic has been brilliant – and has climbed to the top of the most recent Kia MVP ladder – averaging 27 points, 12.4 rebounds and 10 assists during the win streak.


8. Trending Down: Nets, Wizards, Knicks, Jazz, Lakers

Brooklyn’s loss to Golden State on Saturday was their fourth in a row – their longest losing streak of the season – and dropped them to sixth place in the Eastern Conference. To be fair, the top of the East is very crowded with the top six teams separated by just two games in the loss column; compare that to the West, where first and sixth are separated by 13 losses.

Also in the East, the Wizards (five games) and Knicks (three games) both ended Week 15 on losing streaks that have dropped them below the Play-In field.

In the West, the Jazz have now lost five in a row and 11 of their past 13 games to fall to fourth in the West with just a slight lead over both Denver and Dallas. The Jazz face the Nuggets on Wednesday as they look to avoid their first six-game losing streak since 2016.

Also in the West, the Lakers have lost three straight games – all without LeBron James, who has been sidelined with left knee soreness. Los Angeles is currently ninth in the West and host 10th-ranked Portland on Wednesday.


9. Weekly Stats Leaders

For games played Jan. 24-30 with a minimum of two games played.

  • Points: Ja Morant (35.0 ppg, MEM 3-0) leads six players averaging 30+ points over the past week.
  • Rebounds: Domantas Sabonis (16.5 rpg, IND 1-1) leads six players averaging 12+ rebounds over the past week.
  • Assists: Chris Paul (12.8 apg, PHX 4-0) leads four players averaging double-digit assists over the past week.
  • Steals: Dejounte Murray (2.7 spg, SAS 2-1) and Jimmy Butler (2.7 spg, MIA 2-1) tied for the top mark over the past week,
  • Blocks: Jaren Jackson Jr. (4.7 bpg, MEM 3-0) more than doubled up every player in the league except Anthony Davis (3.0 bpg. LAL 1-2)
  • 3-Pointers: Kelly Oubre Jr. (6.0 3pm, CHA 1-1) leads three players averaging at least five triples per game over the past week.

10. Top Plays of the Week

Check out the top plays from Week 15 of the NBA season!

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