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Week 6 Rewind: 10 NBA things to know from past 7 days

Streaking Suns, Warriors and Bucks; Embiid returns; All-Stars return to form and more from Week 6 in the NBA.

Brian Martin, for NBA.com

Phoenix (17-3) enters Tuesday’s marquee matchup with Golden State (18-2) riding a 16-game win streak.

1. Sizzling Suns

It’s been over a month since the Phoenix Suns lost a game – Oct. 27 to be exact – as they have extended their win streak to 16 games, moving one shy of the franchise record from 2006-07. The Suns have won big (four W’s by 20+ points) and won small (6 wins by 5 points or less), with an average margin of victory of 11.6 points per game. Devin Booker (24.5 ppg) leads seven Suns averaging double figure points during the streak. In order to extend the streak to 17, the Suns will have to overcome their biggest test of the season so far – the 18-2 Golden State Warriors – Tuesday night on TNT.

2. Warriors Won’t Be Caught

How can a team win 16 straight games with only 20 games played in the season and not be in first place in their own division? While the Suns have caught fire after their 1-3 start, the Warriors have been dominant from day one as they own the league’s top record at 18-2 as the season hits the first quarter pole. The Warriors average the second-most points in the league (114.0), while also allowing the fewest (100.4); they have outscored their opponents by 280 points over their 18 wins and been outscored by only seven total points in their two losses (one coming in overtime).

Golden State’s latest win on Sunday featured another brilliant performance from Stephen Curry, who finished with 33 points, seven 3s, five rebounds, six assists and six steals. Curry scored 11 of those 33 points in the fourth quarter after being called for a technical foul.

 

3. The Champs Are Here!

Don’t look now, but the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks have won seven straight games to climb to fourth place in the East, just 1.5 games back of conference-leading Brooklyn. The Bucks have won games by an average of 14.9 points and have five players averaging at least 14 points during the streak. Giannis Antetokounmpo has led the way with averages of 27.9 points, 12.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.1 steals over the past seven games.

With a 118-100 win over the Pacers on Sunday, the Bucks improved to 9-0 on the season when all three members of their Big Three – Giannis, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday – play together. Giannis saved his best assist of the night for the postgame with these two fans:

And in case that wasn’t enough, it is being reported that the Bucks are set to add four-time All-Star DeMarcus Cousins to the roster.

4. This Week in Anthony Edwards Dunks…

First there’s the one that was waived off as an offensive foul on Wednesday:

Then there’s the breakaway windmill jam that did count on Saturday:

 

5. Welcome Back Joel!

Joel Embiid posted 42 points and 14 points while logging 45 minutes in his first game back since missing nine games due to COVID-19 protocols; the Sixers went just 2-7 with Embiid out. While the Sixers didn’t get the win in double overtime against the Timberwolves on Saturday, it was great to see Embiid back on the court for Philadelphia.

After the game, Embiid discussed how hard COVID hit him and how thankful he was to be healthy and back on the court.

6. Get Well Ja and MPJ!

Ja Morant – who has been playing at an All-Star level this season – went down with a knee injury just 3 1/2 minutes into Memphis’ game against Atlanta on Friday. After hobbling to the sideline and being helped to the locker room, fears were high that the injury was severe. However, two days later, Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins announced that Morant would only miss “a couple of weeks” with a sprained left knee as the team – and fans of the game from all over – had a sigh of relief that he avoided a significant injury.

The news was not so good for Denver’s Michael Porter Jr. as it is being reported that the third-year pro will need back surgery and will be out indefinitely.

7. Klay’s Road Back Goes Through Santa Cruz

The Warriors are 18-2 and Klay Thompson and James Wiseman have yet to play a single second this season. However, both are getting closer to making it back to the court as Golden State assigned both players to Santa Cruz this weekend to get some practice time in with their G League affiliate team.

Thompson is healthy enough to scrimmage five-on-five, which is key to getting him back into game shape and ready for his first NBA action in over two calendar years after suffering ACL and Achilles tears. Wiseman is still not ready for five-on-five work, but the second-year pro is working his way back.

8. This Week’s Stats Leaders (minimum 2 games played)

 PTS: LeBron James: 34.0 ppg over three games for Los Angeles (2-1)
• REB: Clint Capela: 16.3 rpg over four games for Atlanta (3-1)
• AST: James Harden: 13.0 apg over three games for Brooklyn (2-1)
• STL: Danny Green: 4.0 spg over two games for Philadelphia (0-2)
• BLK: Rudy Gobert: 3.8 bpg over four games for Utah (2-2)
• 3PM: Stephen Curry: 6.3 3pm over three games for Golden State (3-0)

9. All-Stars Bouncing Back From Slow Starts

Damian Lillard heard the chatter and saw the tweets about his slow start to the season and had this response:

 

Since sending that tweet, Lillard has averaged 23.1 points per game while shooting 42% from the field and 34% from 3-point range over the past 15 games. He may not be all the way back to normal level of scoring (he’s averaged 25+ ppg the last six seasons), but he’s definitely on the right path.

And Dame wasn’t the only All-Star to bounce back from a slow start to the season.

Look at the game number splits for Trae Young:

• Games 1-10: 23.3 ppg, 41% FG, 29% 3P
• Games 11-21: 28.4 ppg, 51% FG, 46% 3P

Young’s shooting has improved dramatically since the first 10 games of the season. He closed out Week 6 with his fourth straight game with 30 points or more — the longest active streak in the league.

While Young and Lillard have seen their shooting percentages leap, James Harden he has found his way back to the free-throw line to help bump his scoring over the past 10 games.

• Games 1-10: 18.7 ppg, 40% FG, 40% 3P, 88% FT, 4.8 FTA
• Games 11-20: 21.9 ppg, 41% FG, 32% 3P, 91% FT, 8.8 FTA

His 3-point shooting may have dipped, but Harden’s free throw attempts have nearly doubled over Brooklyn’s last 10 games, and he is cashing in on those attempts at a 91% clip.

10. This Week’s Top Plays

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