There are only three weeks left before the end of the 2021-22 regular seasons – which means fans only have 20 days of games with a total of 161 games left to play. The Playoffs picture has started getting much clearer as teams start to edge ahead and others fall off. In the Eastern Conference, the 10th-placed Atlanta Hawks lead the 11th-place Wizards by 4 1/2 games, while out West, the 10th-place Lakers lead the 11th-place Spurs by 2 1/2. Although that is essentially not a big margin with 11 games left to play (10 for San Antonio), neither the Spurs nor the 12th-placed Blazers are making strong threats for that final Play-In spot.
The troubled Lakers are also so inconsistent that it is still hard to tell where they will end up when the postseason starts – with the races taking place at the top of the Play-In groups.
Will Lebron James Catch Kareem Abdul-Jabbar?
While pundits continue with the GOAT debate between Michael Jordan and LeBron James, and with a sixth championship seeming less probable with each passing season, LeBron has another mission to accomplish, and that is passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most points scored in NBA history. In a 127-119 losing effort against the Washington Wizards on Saturday, Lebron needed 19 points to tie the then second-placed hall-of-Famer Karl Malone, who tallied 36, 928 points in his career, and ended the game with 38 points and took the second spot. Although he is 37 years old, which is not young for an athlete in his 19th season, if he stays healthy, it looks probable that he will likely pass Abdul-Jabbar and claim the number 1 spot before he hangs up whatever version of the LeBron sneakers he will be wearing at the time.
MVP Race Goes Down To The Wire
It’s almost the end of the regular season and NBA Awards are just around the corner. One of the most coveted awards is the Most Valuable Player Award (MVP), which has been hotly contested by three players and it looks like this one will go down to the wire. Cameroonian sensation and Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid and reigning MVP Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets have emerged as the top two contenders, but Nigerian-Greek two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks has enough time and games to gain enough ground on the top two. From an African perspective and generally, Embiid is still the current favourite, while Jokic has been closing in on him recently, while Antetokounmpo also has the numbers with 29.8 points. 11.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game, so it looks like it will now come down to wins.
Will Injuries Affect The Postseason Performances?
As the postseason approaches, the number of players that are out of commission is quite concerning, with some players being key to how their franchises will perform in the Playoffs. Teams that are looking to make a significant postseason push like Golden State Warriors will need Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins back as soon as possible as those pieces could hinder their berths. The full recovery of Chris Paul, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George will see the Phoenix Suns and LA Clippers potentially back in the Western Conference finals. As for the New Orleans Pelicans and Portland Trail Blazers, they can benefit from letting Zion Williamson and Damian Lillard just take the rest of the season off.
In the East, the title-chasing Brooklyn Nets will not see Joe Harris as he is out for the remainder of the season but will need four other key pieces in Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and LaMarcus Aldridge back as soon as possible – for chemistry’s sake. The Chicago Bulls will need the point guard skills of Lonzo Ball and if the Atlanta Hawks are to perform nearly as well as they did last season, the return of Bogdan Bogdanovic and John Collins is needed at the end of March.