NBA Heat Check: Warriors stars soaring but Durant disrupted

Oleh Ben Spratt 9 Februari 2021 77
NBA Heat Check: Warriors stars soaring but Durant disrupted

The Golden State Warriors endured a mixed week in the NBA, but there were no issues with their offensive output.

The Warriors fell to 12-11 after one win and two losses over the past seven days, despite boasting two of the hottest players in the NBA.

One of their title-winning former superstars had a tricky time, though.

We break down the best and worst performers of the week with the help of Stats Perform data.

 

RUNNING HOT...

Steph Curry & Kelly Oubre

Curry's outstanding scoring form was perhaps a little more predictable than Oubre's. The two-time MVP and three-time champion is back fit again and proving as effective as ever, even while the Warriors do not look serious contenders this season. Curry leads the league with 677 total points and is now averaging 29.4 per game, a mark he has only bettered in Golden State's remarkable 73-win 2015-16 season. That statistic was boosted by 57 points against the Dallas Mavericks, contributing a magnificent 41.0 points over three games - up from his prior season average of 27.7 - courtesy of 7.3 made three-point shots.

No player in the league enjoyed a greater increase in scoring last week, but Oubre - signed after Klay Thompson went down ahead of the campaign - ranked fifth. His 13.3 points per game are still down on his Phoenix Suns numbers, yet climbed from 12.0 thanks to a stretch that included 40 points against the Mavs two days before Curry went toe-to-toe with the same team.

Malik Monk & LaMelo Ball

The Warriors were not the only team to have two players hit a hot streak at the same time, as Charlotte Hornets pair Monk and Ball ranked third and fourth for the greatest increase in scoring last week. Charlotte won two and lost two, staying in the playoff mix at 11-13, but got some big performances out of their young guards.

Monk has played only 11 games so far in his fourth year but went off for a career-high 36 points in the overtime win over the Miami Heat. Meanwhile, Ball is quickly becoming a Heat Check regular for both good and bad reasons, although he found some consistency in scoring with an average of 22.3 across three games - including a new high of 34.

Enes Kanter

The Portland Trail Blazers have had no luck with injuries this season, losing CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic for extended periods, while superstar Damian Lillard also missed a game last week with an abdominal strain. But Portland are staying competitive in the West at 12-10 and landed a big win over the Philadelphia 76ers with their depleted roster. Kanter's extended run of form has had a big part to play. The week before last, the Blazers center had 23 rebounds in one game and 22 points in another, yet he has now sustained this level of performance over 14 days. He has had a double-double in every game over that span.

GOING COLD...

Kevin Durant

Brooklyn Nets star Durant trails only Bradley Beal for points per game this season, but this past week was not his best - albeit he had little say in his scoring decline. That rate dropped from 30.9 to 29.5 over the course of two games, although Durant only appeared for 19 minutes against the Toronto Raptors before coronavirus protocol saw him removed from the game, having contributed just eight points. The Nets lost to the Sixers without the former Warrior and will be eager to have him back on the floor, despite him inadvertently suffering the largest decrease in scoring in the league last week.

Seth Curry

As one Curry brother thrived, the other suffered. The highlight of Seth's week came in scoring 11 points in 26 minutes against a Durant-less Brooklyn. Curry had gone 0-for-4 from the field over the prior two games, failing to contribute a single point. He made just two threes all week and saw his points per game fall from 13.9 to 12.1 for the season. The ex-Dallas point guard has not yet rediscovered the early season form that was curtailed by a seven-game lay-off last month.

Christian Wood

Wood has carried the Houston Rockets this season amid James Harden's messy departure, but his performances just started to tail off for the first time last week. He had previously scored at least 20 points in all but one of his appearances in 2020-21, only to fail to make that mark even once over three games before sustaining an ankle injury and missing the defeat to the San Antonio Spurs. Wood's eight points in the loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder represented his worst return in an NBA start.

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