We’ve seen a major shift in the Eastern Conference standings over the past few weeks. After the Raptors spent most of the first half of the season in 2nd place in the East, the Celtics and Wizards have each won seven games in a row, passing the Raptors in the standings. The race for the two seed should be an interesting one in the East, and the trade deadline could give one of these teams a boost going forward. Let’s take a look at some of the other top stories in the NBA from this past week.
Five years ago, we witnessed Linsanity. Right now, we are in the middle of Yogi-Mania.
After being cut by the Brooklyn Nets multiple times, and spending time in the D-League, the Dallas Mavericks called up former Indiana Hoosier Yogi Ferrell when their point guard depth was lacking.
In Ferrell’s first game, he led the Mavs to a victory over San Antonio with 9 points, 7 assists, and two clutch game-clinching free throws.
In his second game, on the second night of a back to back, Ferrell helped Dallas take down the Cavaliers with 19 points and 4 steals. Not bad for a player on a 10-day contract, huh? It gets better.
On Friday, Ferrell poured in 32 points, making 9 of his 11 3-point attempts in a win over the Blazers where he drained the game-clinching 3-pointer.
Since signing Yogi to a 10-day contract, the Mavs have won four games in a row.
Instead of signing him to a second 10-day contract, Dallas reportedly rewarded Ferrell with a two-year deal.
It’s pretty rare someone on a 10-day contract makes this big of an impact, and it’s an inspiring story for players who go undrafted and are looked over due to their lack of size. It’ll be interesting to see if Yogi can continue to produce for the remainder of the season.
The Truth’s Final Game in Boston
After 19 seasons in the NBA, Paul Pierce plans to retire at the end of the 2016–17 season. Pierce spent the first 15 seasons of his career with the Celtics, earning a Finals MVP in 2008 that cemented his legacy.
Yesterday, Pierce played in his final game in TD Garden as the Celtics hosted the Clippers.
Doc Rivers decided to give Pierce the start, playing him the first five minutes of the game, where he received a standing ovation from the crowd. But after that, Pierce didn’t check back into the game until there was just 19.8 seconds left in the fourth quarter, with the game having already been decided.
On the final play of the game, Pierce did a little pick-and-pop and drained a 3-pointer that made his former home-town crowd go absolutely wild. It was truly a special moment for Pierce who will go down as one of the greatest Celtics ever.
Rumors + Trade Talk
- The Milwaukee Bucks sent Miles Plumlee to the Hornets in exchange for Spencer Hawes and Roy Hibbert.
- The Cleveland Cavaliers have expressed interest in signing Jose Calderon, Deron Williams and Andrew Bogut if they are bought out after the trade deadline to increase their depth heading into the playoffs.
- Larry Sanders announced on Twitter he is trying to make an NBA comeback, and will be working out for teams in the next few weeks.
- Wilson Chandler reportedly wants out of Denver due to his lack of a consistent role with the team.
- The Nuggets are exploring the idea of trading Emmanuel Mudiay, who they selected with the seventh pick in the 2015 draft.
- The Bulls have reportedly called the Sixers about a deal surrounding Jahlil Okafor.
- Khris Middleton announced that he will return to the Bucks lineup on Wednesday against the Heat. Middleton hasn’t played since last season.
- Phoenix has reportedly had trade discussions with the Kings about DeMarcus Cousins.
- Pelicans are reportedly trying to trade for a center. They have spoken with the Sixers about Jahlil Okafor, and the Nets regarding Brook Lopez.