There were no slip offs in action as the league entered All Star Weekend. The 72nd All- Star game was a star-studded event even with three starters of the game not stepping onto the court to play (Stephen Curry, Zion Williamson and Kevin Durant). The game lacked competition but the players still managed to show off their skills whether it was showstopping dunks or long range three pointers. Overall, the weekend was full of entertainment from the Rising Stars game Friday night, to the three-point contest and dunk contest events on Saturday night.
Regular season games will tip back off on Thursday, February 23rd.
These are my power rankings based on games played through 2/19/2023.
- Milwaukee Bucks (41-17)
The Bucks have won 12 straight games and now sit a half game back behind the Boston Celtics for first place in the Eastern Conference. They have the best record in the league since the new calendar year (18-5). Although the team is on a roll, they did receive a scare from star Power Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo as he left Thursday’s game against the Chicago Bulls with a wrist injury. It’s reported that it is not a significant injury but the team will need him healthy as they have their eyes set on a deep playoff run and a possible Championship.
- Boston Celtics (42-17)
Boston remains atop the Eastern Conference at the All-Star break but will need the roster to get back healthy in order to keep things that way as they have all year long. The team saw the return of Marcus Smart from injury but now have to rehab All-Star guard Jaylen Brown who suffered a facial fracture and might be sitting some games once games kick back off. Only 10 of their remaining 23 games are against teams with above a .500 record. It will be a race to who finishes in first place out of them and the Milwaukee Bucks.
- Denver Nuggets (41-18)
The Nuggets won seven of their nine games before the All-star break becoming the first team in the Western Conference to reach 40 wins on the season. They hold a five-game lead for first place in the West but no longer remain to be the favorites to come out the West to play in the finals as teams like the Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks have all added superstars since the trade deadline.
- Philadelphia 76ers (38-19)
Philadelphia dominates on both ends of the floor thanks to MVP candidate Joel Embiid. The team has won 26 of their last 33 games and is a real contender to knock off Boston or Milwaukee come playoff time if the team remains healthy. The key to their big turnaround from the beginning of the season is how they start out games. They have a plus 8.4 net rating which ranks third in the league. They’ve also been great in the clutch where they have a plus 9.6 net rating and have gone 12-4 in their last 16 clutch games.
- Cleveland Cavaliers (38-23)
The Cavs had their seven-game win streak snapped before the All-Star break and have been playing some of their best basketball of the season. The team still ranks first defensively thanks to their twin towers of Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley while the offensive has been led by the dynamic back court duo of Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell. The Cavs are one of three teams to be ranked in top ten in both offensive and defensive efficiency. The others are the Celtics and 76ers.
Next in line: Los Angeles Clippers (33-28)
Some of the top performances this week include:
- LaMelo Ball had a huge game of 30 points and 15 assists to lead the Charlotte Hornets past the Atlanta Hawks 144-138.
- Nikola Jokic almost cracked another triple double, finishing with 27 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists to help give the Denver Nuggets a 112-108 victory over the Miami Heat.
- Jalen Brunson scored 40 points as the New York Knicks defeated the Brooklyn Nets 124-106.
- Brandon Ingram notched 34 points as the New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 103-100.
- Damian Lillard notched 40 points to lead the Portland Trail Blazers past the Los Angeles Lakers 127-115.
- Jakob Poeltl scored 30 points against the Orlando Magic as the Toronto Raptors won 123-113.
- Jrue Holiday went off against the Boston Celtics and dropped 40 points to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 131-125 victory in overtime.
- Kawhi Leonard’s 33 points helped lead the Los Angeles Clippers past the Golden State Warriors 134-124.
- Kyle Kuzma recorded 33 points and led the Washington Wizards to a 126-101 victory on the road against the Portland Trail Blazers.
- Joel Embiid reached the 10,000-point career mark after scoring 29 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers to give the Philadelphia 76ers a 118-112 victory at home.
- Jayson Tatum scored 38 points as the Boston Celtics rolled past the Detroit Pistons 127-109.
- Mikal Bridges scored a career high 45 points to lead the Brooklyn Nets past the Miami Heat 116-105.
- Anthony Davis had 28 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists to lead the new look Los Angeles Lakers over the New Orleans Pelicans 120-102.
- Brook Lopez racked in 33 points and 7 rebounds to lead the Milwaukee Bucks past the Chicago Bulls 112-100.
- 35 points from Bradley Beal helped the Washington Wizards get past the Minnesota Timberwolves with a 114-106 victory.
- Paul George and Terrance Mann each scored 26 points as the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Phoenix Suns 116-107 on the road.
All-Star Weekend Recap.
- Jose Alvarado was named the MVP of the Jordan Rising Stars competition.
- Team Utah Jazz (Jordan Clarkson, Collin Sexton and Walker Kessler) were winners of the Skills Challenge.
- Damian Lillard won the 3-Point Contest after knocking off Indiana Pacers teammates Buddy Hield and Tyrese Haliburton in the final round.
- Mac McClung was the winner of the Slam Dunk Contest, outlasting Trey Murphy III in the final round.
- Team Giannis outdueled Team LeBron to win the All-Star game. Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics was named MVP after scoring a new All-Star game record of 55 points.