NBA Draft Lottery positioning update: No recent wins for teams at bottom
In the first week following the All-Star break, the NBA’s race at the bottom for positioning in the NBA Draft has lived up to the hype.
No team in the bottom seven of the standings won a game last week, and all of them have at least a three-game losing streak.
Of those seven, three are in top form when it comes to picking up losses. Brooklyn, Memphis and Phoenix enter Monday’s action on a losing streak of at least eight games.
Here’s a look at where the teams stack up prior to the start of Monday’s games.
1. Phoenix Suns
Outlook: After another embarrassing loss, this time to the Clippers, Phoenix was looking at its first win since late January on Saturday, being the better team for much of the night against Portland at home. The Suns, however, went on to blow a 15-point lead in under eight minutes. They have now lost 14 of their last 15 games.
Games this week: at New Orleans (33-26), at Memphis (18-40), vs. Oklahoma City (34-27), at Atlanta (18-42).
T-2. Atlanta Hawks
Outlook: In one game last week, Atlanta was thoroughly handled by the Pacers on the road, losing by 23. The Hawks are now 5-25 on the road. Atlanta, though, does have two winnable games on the schedule this upcoming week, and it plays four in a row at home.
Games this week: vs. Lakers (25-34), vs. Indiana (34-25), vs. Golden State (46-14), vs. Phoenix (18-43).
T-2. Dallas Mavericks
Outlook: Dallas posted only 41 points in the first half against the Lakers Friday, a blowout loss, and followed that by putting up only 40 points in the second half of a 97-90 defeat at the hands of the Jazz Saturday. Rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. is still finding his footing. He shot 7-of-27 combined in the two games.
Games this week: vs. Indiana (34-25), vs. Oklahoma City (34-27), at Chicago (20-39), vs. New Orleans (33-26).
T-4. Orlando Magic
Outlook: The Magic are the first team we cover who were very competitive in both games they had last week. They scored 69 points in the first half at home against the Knicks Thursday but followed that with 44 in the second and lost by seven. Trey Burke — yes, that Trey Burke — had 26 points in that game. On Saturday, they flipped that script, scoring 40 points in the first half in Philadelphia and responded well by answering with 65 in the second. With Aaron Gordon back, look for the Magic to start winning more games.
Games this week: at Oklahoma City (34-27), vs. Toronto (41-17), vs. Detroit (28-31), vs. Memphis (18-40).
T-4. Sacramento Kings
Outlook: Like Orlando, Sacramento played well last week. The Kings could have picked up one of their best wins of the season Thursday had it not been for Russell Westbrook’s buzzer-beater with one second left. A hard-fought loss to the Lakers followed on Saturday. Former Suns first-round pick Bogdan Bogdanovic had 21 points in the defeat.
Games this week: vs. Minnesota (37-26), at Portland (34-26), vs. Brooklyn (19-41), vs. Utah (31-29).
6. Memphis Grizzlies
Outlook: This was a much more traditional pair of losses for the Grizzlies. A LeBron James triple-double had them fall to the Cavaliers by 23 points on Friday and a 26-point rout of Memphis by the Heat came the day after. Only two Grizzlies players scored in double figures in the Miami loss.
Games this week: at Boston (42-19), vs. Phoenix (18-43), vs. Denver (33-27), at Orlando (18-41).
7. Brooklyn Nets
Outlook: In a closely contested game in Charlotte, the Nets couldn’t stop the two biggest performers for the Hornets. Dwight Howard had 15 points and 24 rebounds while Kemba Walker scored 31. Look for the Nets to break their losing streak this week with a home game against the quickly fading Bulls or in a road matchup with the Kings.
Games this week: vs. Chicago (20-39), at Cleveland (35-24), at Sacramento (18-41), at Clippers (31-27).
Chicago Bulls (20-39), New York Knicks (24-39), Los Angeles Lakers (25-34).
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