NEW YORK — LeBron James isn’t used to looking adult during so many teams during a All-Star break.
The Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks occupy his former roost atop a standings, and Stephen Curry and Paul Millsap consider that’s where their teams belong. The Western Conference is installed as common — so good that All-Star Game MVP Russell Westbrook wouldn’t even be in a playoffs if they started now.
There are 3 teams between a Hawks and fifth-place Cleveland in a East, putting James in a singular position of chaser.
He can’t wait to try.
“I’m excited. I’m vehement what a group can accomplish,” he said. “We entered a mangle personification some really, unequivocally good basketball; winning 14 of a final 16. I’m going to take these subsequent integrate of days off and get behind in a gym on Wednesday a small bit, go tough on Thursday and get prepared to play Washington on Friday.”
The NBA has a longer midseason mangle than common this season, with play not resuming until Friday. That gives Westbrook additional time to rest after pouring in 41 points Sunday in a West’s 163-158 feat during Madison Square Garden.
His Oklahoma City Thunder have overcome injuries to he and Kevin Durant to win 3 straight, though they are still only outward a West’s tip eight. No such worries for a Warriors, who rolled into a mangle with a 42-9 record and an MVP claimant in Curry.
“It’s fun right now. We have a good group that has aspirations this year. we consider it’s something that we’re staid to go after,” Curry said.
“You wish to only welcome a aloft expectations that we put on ourselves and that are surrounding a team. We speak about what we’re perplexing to do this year. We wish to behind it up.”
It won’t be easy, with hurdles via a imperishable West where fortifying champion San Antonio will try to mountain a assign from seventh place.
The East was widely approaching to come down to Chicago and Cleveland, and maybe it still will. Besides a Cavaliers’ clever run to a first-half finish, with James looking healthy and Kevin Love appearing some-more comfortable, a Bulls won their final 4 to swell into third place.
Neither is approaching to locate a Hawks, who rode an undefeated Jan to a 43-11 record. Their offset group play put 4 players in a All-Star Game, and in dual months they can try to infer it would work in a postseason.
“I’m not going to demeanour too distant ahead,” Millsap said. “We’re going to try to take caring of a unchanging deteriorate first, though we feel like there’s still room for improvement. We still feel like we haven’t played a best basketball. It’s intolerable to say, though we feel like we can still get improved and still have a lot to work on.”
Here are some things to watch when play resumes this week:
TALKING TRADES: The trade deadline is Thursday afternoon, and teams such as Cleveland and Memphis have already shown this deteriorate how a right moves can compensate off.
MORE MELO: With a Knicks final in a joining and a All-Star Game in his home locus over, Carmelo Anthony will have to confirm how most some-more to play — if he does during all — after battling a bruise left knee most of a season.
WATCHING WADE: Dwyane Wade is approaching to lapse from a hamstring damage that knocked him out of a All-Star Game on Friday during New York. The Heat need him, hardly holding on to eighth place in a East. “We’re prepared to conflict a second half,” Heat All-Star Chris Bosh said. “We’re looking brazen to carrying him back.”
EAST’S ELITE: Friday’s report could underline some East playoff previews. Toronto and Atlanta, a tip dual in a conference, block off, and a Cavs revisit Washington — only as they would if a postseason non-stop that night.
SEEKING STOUDEMIRE: Cut Monday by a Knicks after requesting a buyout, Amare Stoudemire could be appealing to a playoff contender once he clears waivers.
LINE OF THE WEEK: Zach LaVine, Minnesota: 50-50–100. The rookie’s ideal start to a asperse competition had a building buzzing during All-Star Saturday night and sent him mountainous to slamming stardom.
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