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Horns in the NBA: 2/21 - 2/23

Who’s going to start elevating their game as we inch towards the playoffs?

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Indiana Pacers Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA All-Star break shortened our week, but provided a checkpoint for players to mark as a turning point. Let’s see if there’s really a second gear for the Texas Longhorns in the NBA as the playoff push begins to intensify throughout the coming months.

LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs

  • Fri, 2/22 - Road loss to the Toronto Raptors: 6 points (2-8), 8 rebounds, 3 assists

If Aldridge is buckling down for the thrilling Western Conference playoff push we’re all anticipating, it wasn’t noticeable on Tuesday. The All-Star center shot the ball just eight times (his lowest shot count over a single game all year) on his way to tying a season low of six points.

Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors

  • Thu, 2/21 - Home win over the Sacramento Kings: 28 points (10-20), 9 rebounds, 4 assists
  • Sat, 2/23 - Home loss to the Houston Rockets: 29 points (11-19), 4 rebounds, 3 assists

Durant’s scoring tear continued into this week with two efficient scoring nights. He brought it on the other end too, swatting two shots against Houston and seven against Sacramento. Knowing Durant, a guy that sucks up drama like a vacuum, I wasn’t surprised to hear that he took to the press to stick it to Sacramento’s Marvin Bagley (whom he blocked five times in the first half).

Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers

New Orleans basketball reporter Will Guillory spoke with Pacers head coach, Nate McMillan who said that a hip injury would keep Turner sidelined against the Pelicans. The same hip injury kept him out on Saturday.

Cory Joseph, Indiana Pacers

  • Fri, 2/22 - Home win over the New Orleans Pelicans: 4 points (0-2), 1 rebound, 1 assist
  • Sat, 2/23 - Road win over the Washington Wizards: 11 points (5-10), 5 rebounds, 3 assists

The Pacers are currently third in the East without All-Star guard Victor Oladipo, and as of the past two games, Myles Turner. With everyone healthy, they shouldn’t be this good. Now, plagued with injury, they probably shouldn’t be a lock for the playoff as they are now. But they are, and a lot of the kudos goes to Joseph and a bevy of other role guys. If Joseph can continually contribute all over the board as he did on Saturday, the Pacers could make some noise in the Eastern conference playoff.

Avery Bradley, Memphis Grizzlies

Losing to the Cavaliers requires a combination of bad basketball and scoring struggles from everybody. Bradley added to that with an underwhelming four points on 20 percent shooting. But, a strong 17 points and two steals on Friday proved that Bradley is becoming one of Memphis’ top players on both sides of the ball.

Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland Cavaliers reporter Chris Fedor talked with Thompson and said that he had a minor setback in his recovery and wants to take things slow. That’s not the news anyone wants to hear regarding the center’s health.

Jarrett Allen, Brooklyn Nets

The playoff push begins for Allen and the Nets, and his consistent dose of double-doubles only helps the cause.

Mohamed Bamba, Orlando Magic

Bamba is still out indefinitely, there’s no further update on his injury status.

DJ Augustin, Orlando Magic

  • Fri, 2/22 - Home loss to the Chicago Bulls: 14 points (5-9), 5 rebounds, 5 assists

There’s a playoff push here for Orlando (ninth in the East), and Augustin will be irreplaceable in the coming months. As the fifth-leading scorer and top assist man, he’s going to have to be their baby-Westbrook, filling up the stat sheet nightly.

PJ Tucker, Houston Rockets

  • Thu, 2/21 - Road loss to the Los Angeles Lakers: 3 points (1-4), 3 rebounds, 0 assists
  • Sat, 2/23 - Road win over the Golden State Warriors: 18 points (5-11), 10 rebounds, 0 assists

The Rockets notched a huge win over Golden State on Saturday, and Tucker played a huge role. 18 points was tied for his fourth-highest point total all season, and four pivotal steals on the other end helped Houston slow down the high-powered Warriors.