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NBA Recap

Jarrett Bailey, Sports Writer

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The NBA season reached arguably it’s hottest point of the season last week as many superstars went off for big games. The biggest story came from Oklahoma City where Russell Westbrook went off for four straight triple doubles. In OKC’s last 5 games, “The Masked Man” is averaging 40.5 points, 11.3 assists, and 11.8 rebounds per game. In other words, Westbrook has been on a tear as he put the Thunder on his back and carried them through the absence of Kevin Durant.

In the East, the Bulls are dealing with injury troubles, but have been able to overcome them en route to currently being 1/2 game behind the Cavs in their division, and 3rd place in the Eastern Conference. Star Point Guard Derrick Rose underwent surgery to prepare an injured leg and is expected to return with about nine games left in the regular season. That’s not the only problem that the bulls training staff has to deal with as breakout All-Star Jimmy Butler hyper-extended his elbow and is expected to be out for a few more weeks. Trusted reserve big man, Taj Gibson has also missed the last few games, but is expected to play in the Bulls next game against the Grizzlies. The good news for the Bulls is that they’ve gotten support from unexpected sources. E’twaun Moore had the best game of his career as he scored 19 points, including the game-winning three, against, ironically, the Thunder. Nikola Mirotic has come through for the Bulls all season and could be a strong contender for Rookie of the Year. Chicago currently holds a 39-25 record.

A feel-good story from the East comes from Milwaukee where the Bucks have shocked many by holding down the 6th seed in the playoff picture. Lead by new head coach, and future Hall Of Fame Point Guard, Jason Kidd, the Bucks have a pack of young stars in the making, including Khris Middleton, John Henson, and new acquisition, Michael Carter-Williams. After their first round draft pick, Jabari Parker went down with an injury, and has only played 25 games this year, the Bucks have come together and played hard to earn where they are.

The Western Conference playoff picture is tighter than ever as the 8th and final seed-holding Thunder are trying to hold off the Anthony Davis lead Pelicans, who are just one game behind the Thunder, and the Suns, who are just 2.5 games back.

The playoffs are coming, and the true contenders are making themselves known. With just a few weeks remaining, now is the time for big-time players to make big-time plays.

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