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Kevin Martin Leads Streaking Rockets – Weekly NBA Roundup [VIDEO]

Kevin Martin
Stephen Dunn, Getty Images

Philadelphia, Atlanta, Memphis and the Los Angeles Clippers are all unlikely division leaders as the NBA nears the end of its first full month of play. Here’s what’s happening in the association:

Team on the Rise: Memphis Grizzlies

As a result of a dominating 128-95 home win over Sacramento on Saturday night and Houston’s win over San Antonio, the Memphis Grizzlies (10-6) vaulted past the Spurs and into the Southwest Division lead. Memphis notched its seventh straight victory by rallying to beat Golden State 91-90 on Monday night. Forwards Marreese Speights and Rudy Gay have created a significant problem for Grizzlies’ opponents on both ends of the floor, while guard Mike Conley averaged 18.2 points and 8.4 assists in the last five games heading into Monday.

Team on the Decline: New York Knicks

Six straight losses have left the New York Knicks with a 6-10 record and a lot of doubts. During the losing streak, Carmelo Anthony and Iman Shumpert have had poor shot selection and Amare Stoudemire has been especially silent. Coach Mike D’Antoni may not get any help from the front office, which watched former Knick Danilo Gallinari score a career-high 37 points for Denver in a 119-114 double-overtime win over New York on Saturday. Point guard Baron Davis, whom the team signed in the off-season, began practicing with the Knicks on Monday. New York needs someone to distribute the basketball better, and Davis is their best hope. The team starts a four-game road trip in Charlotte on Tuesday, which includes a Friday night contest against the Heat in Miami.

Play of the Week: Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves

Watch Minnesota forward Kevin Love stick a 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat the Clippers 101-98 on Friday night.

Player on the Rise: Kevin Martin, Houston Rockets

Kevin Martin has been terrific during the Houston Rockets (10-7) current seven-game win streak. Including a 31-point performance in Monday’s 107-92 win over Minnesota, Martin has led the team in scoring in each of its last three games. With an 18.8 points per game average, the 6’7″ shooting guard is second only to Kobe Bryant in scoring at his position. Martin is also shooting 94.2 percent from the free throw line, second-best overall in the league.

Player on the Decline: Tyrus Thomas, Charlotte Bobcats

The Charlotte Bobcats are running out of excuses for the mediocre play of power forward Tyrus Thomas this season. While he missed the first six games on the schedule with a sprained left ankle, Thomas has been less than productive since, averaging just 6.7 points per game, which is almost four points fewer than his 2010-11 campaign. The former top five NBA Draft pick must improve if Charlotte wants to avoid the Eastern Conference cellar.

Coach on the Hot Seat: Flip Saunders, Washington Wizards

Few analysts expected Washington (2-15) to be a playoff contender, but the terrible start is creating the need for something to be done to make the Wizards look more competitive. Washington fell behind by as many as 34 points midway through the third quarter against Philadelphia on Monday, as they dropped a 103-83 decision to the 76ers. The Wizards are now 0-7 on the road. Worse, coach Flip Saunders seemed personally defeated by the team’s sloppy and listless play.

Bizarre Stat of the Week: Denver Nuggets

After Saturday’s 119-114 double-overtime win over New York, Denver is 30-12 in the regular season since the trade that sent Carmelo Anthony from the Nuggets to the Knicks last February. New York’s record during that time is 20-24.

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