The NBA season is now in full swing, with teams across the NBA quickly rocketing up the standings, or heading straight into tank-a-polooza!
Each week, I’ll be taking a look around the NBA and pinpointing some things I like (Ball Don’t Lie), some things I don’t (Ball Lies), and some highlights, lowlights, and upcoming matchups. It’ll be a small spreadsheet for everything you may have missed in the NBA.
Without further adieu, let’s get things rolling.
Ball Don’t Lie
Ben Simmons’ Return
That’s right, Sixers! Even after being a blazing team the last few weeks, they are ripe for some more good news. Ben Simmons is actually ahead of schedule, and is participating in practice. Sixers officials believe that Simmons should be on the floor sometime right after the All-Star Break. Philadelphia are more and more looking like a fringe-playoff team. What a weird sentence to type.
“The Sixers are 5.5 games out of the playoffs and Ben Simmons comes back soon” pic.twitter.com/npsmqjHTmk
— max (@MaxRappaport) January 19, 2017
Warriors’ Terrifying Week
I know, I know: stop talking about the Warriors! Well, they’re really flipping good, as evidenced by the week they just had. They crushed the Rockets, Thunder, and Cavaliers by an average of 24.5 points per game. That’s a sizeable gap. Curry is back over 40% from three for the year, and the Warriors are looking like that terrifying video game that we though they would be.
KD Wins the Petty Battle
So, I have to hand it to Kevin Durant for trying to downplay his ‘rivalry’ with Russell Westbrook to open the season. And you would, too, especially if you had a nasty break-up on your hands. But my man Westbrook talked a lot of stuff and created a lot of drama, and with the way KD has blitzed Russ and his former teammates in their match-ups this season, it may be time to finally just be quiet about it.
James Harden is Saucing
It’s been a really good week to be a fan of superstars doing their thing. Well, as long as you’re not named LeBron James. James Harden is roasting people, and had himself quite the week, scoring 40 and hitting a few daggers. He’s firmly setting himself as the NBA’s MVP favorite, despite another dude averaging a triple double.
James Harden has scored on, or assisted on 50% of the Rockets points the entire season thus far (ESPN). That is insane. MVP
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) January 19, 2017
So we all love DeMarcus Cousins. Okay, maybe you don’t, but I love me some Boogie. And he’s changed his ways to troll those he doesn’t like this week: sarcasm. Cousins has hit the refs in two different games with some serious shade this week. Seriously, just love the guy.
— SI Extra Mustard (@SI_ExtraMustard) January 22, 2017
Cavs Stink in 2017
Yeah, let’s talk about superstars not doing so great. So, the Cavaliers have had a pretty bad week. They got shellacked by the Warriors, and they are currently 5-6 in January and haven’t beaten any team with a playoff-caliber record. James is struggling and the bench has been pretty bad. They are teetering back towards the pack in the East.
LeBron expresses his frustration as the Cavs are 5-6 in 2017, giving up an average of 108.5 PPG in those 11 contests. pic.twitter.com/Vlurc6nZNg
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 24, 2017
Another team in the East that’s having a rough go of things in 2017 are the Kemba Walker-led Charlotte Hornets. All the holes they could have had to start the season are showing, with Nic Batum struggling, the defense awful, and Marvin Williams a big giant gaping hole on the offense. The Hornets went from the third-best record in the East all the way down to seventh. Panic time.
Lakers Getting Worse
When the season started, it was a pretty clear bet that the Lakers were on a better path than the 76ers, with a blazing start for D’Angelo Russell and the smart play of their veterans. But the Lakers have been in a serious dip since early-December, with losses piling up and the worst record in the West. On top of that, there was a nice loss to Dallas this week in which they were held to just 73 points, a franchise low – ironically, on the anniversary of Kobe’s 81-point game.
Death of a Sleeve
This one is a little dumb and short, but it’s something that’s hilarious to me: the Nike corporation announced they won’t make short sleeves on NBA jerseys anymore. I love the things, but LeBron doesn’t, and Nike has to appease the King!
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) January 17, 2017
Reporters are pretty rough, huh?
Overheard on press row: “I don’t know if Brook Lopez could guard a closed door with a shotgun.”
— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) January 24, 2017
Noah’s Bad Free Throw
This one is historically bad.
Joakim Noah: $17MM….and this free throw.. pic.twitter.com/8jS88nS6a7
— Sportando (@Sportando) January 24, 2017
To beat the Warriors, it’s Dion!
Westbrook Taking a Trip
There are travels, and then there’s this.
Games To Watch
Golden State @ Charlotte (Thursday AEDT)
Steph Curry returns home on ESPN.
Houston @ Philly (Saturday AEDT)
Harden vs. the red-hot Processes.
Washington @ Atlanta (Saturday AEDT)
The hot Wizards against the tumbling Hawks for first place in the Southeast.