There is no denying that it has been quite the eventful yuletide season on the hardwood while we were all off enjoying our eggnog and opening presents from Santa.
It’s already been an unusual season in which we have seen Derrick Rose and Kobe Bryant return, only to succumb again to season ending injuries, Robin Lopez lost til next year, and several key players like Tyson Chandler, Deron Williams, and Anthony Davis miss significant time.
But the injury bug apparently doesn’t stop there as we learned over the Christmas break that OKC’s Russell Westbrook will have another knee surgery, his 3rd in 8 months, that will sideline him until at least the All Star break.
It’s a tough pill to swallow for the suddenly surging Thunder, who recently won 11 consecutive games upon their All Star point guard’s return, and were regarded as one of the favorites to emerge from the Western Conference this season.
Now more pressure is heaped upon MVP candidate and the NBA’s leading scorer Kevin Durant, who will be forced to do even more to keep OKC afloat in the loaded West.
It is expected that the up-and-coming Reggie Jackson will be replacing Westbrook in the starting line-up until Westbrook returns post All Star break.
The Atlanta Hawks, arguably the 3rd best team in the disappointing Eastern Conference, got some bad news as well as their 2 time All Star center Al Horford may be lost for the season due to a torn pectoral muscle.
Horford was averaging 18.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks in making a push for his 3rd All Star nod but is out indefinately after suffering a similar injury he sustained back in January of 2012, that kept him out until the postseason.
The Hawks will now lean more heavily on first year Hawk Paul Millsap and rapidly improving star point guard Jeff Teague to remain a Top 4 seed once Playoffs begin.
As if the Knicks’ season wasn’t disastrous enough, leading scorer Carmelo Anthony did not play in their Christmas Day match-up with the OKC Thunder, as the team was promptly blown out once again, thanks to Kevin Durant and the surging Thunder.
Melo is officially listed as day-to-day after rolling an ankle in a win against Orlando on December 23rd. He has missed the Knicks last 3 contests against OKC, and a home-and-away affair with the Raptors.
In those 3 games, the Knicks have been outscored by a combined 56 points, as the tradewinds continue to swirl around coach Mike Woodson as New York is now a disappointing 9-21 on the season.
At least Amare Stoudemire put in a good effort in Carmelo’s absence, going for 23 points and 9 boards against Toronto Saturday night.
We’ve had the good, the bad, and now to the ugly as Cleveland Cavaliers center Andrew Bynum has been suspended indefinitely by the team for conduct detrimental to the organization.
No one is really sure of what the official infraction was but Bynum met with coach Mike Brown Friday night over gripes about playing time and offensive touches that resulted in Bynum not traveling with the team to Boston on Saturday.
Andrew had been playing well, averaging 8.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in 19 starts, that included his first two double-doubles(20-10-5 vs Chicago and 20-13-2 vs Atlanta) since 2012.
The future is very unclear for the still only 26 year old, oft injured All Star center who has definitely played his last game in a Cavaliers uniform as Cleveland will now look to either trade the 2 time NBA Champion or release him by January 6th.
Allen Moll has been a lifelong NBA and NCAA College Basketball fan who watches and studies games religiously, and coaches youth basketball in his native Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. Allen has also provided content to Bleacherreport.com, Upperdeckblog.com, Cleveland.com, CSN Philly.com, Buckets Magazine, in addition to being a tenured NBA and NCAA columnist for TheHoopDoctors.com.