The NBA season is now in full swing, with teams across the NBA quickly realizing their dreams are doomed, or thinking they are the team of destiny (looking at you, Knicks). With the start of the season upon us, and some meaningful basketball to actually watch (the preseason stinks, go ahead and admit it), we are going to try something new here!
Each week, I’ll be taking a look around the NBA and look at some things I like (Ball Don’t Lie), some things I don’t (Ball Does Lies), along with 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 going.
Ball Don’t Lie
Kemba’s Hot Start
We’ve touched on how good the Hornets have been to start the year, and they got better this week. But lost in that fold is how Kemba Walker has turned himself into a top-20 NBA player. He’s been nicknamed Steph Curry East by the guys on TNT, and he’s certainly playing like it – +45% shooting from three and from the field, over 24 points per game? Cardiac Kemba is alive and well.
Kemba Walker showed up last night pic.twitter.com/THBA23APih
— Spark Sports (@Spark_Sports_) November 19, 2016
Lob City is Back
Injuries have derailed them for the last few years, but man was it easy to forget how good the Clippers are when they’re healthy. The ‘Big Three’ of Paul, Griffin and Jordan have been spectacular, and the bench is great around them. They’ve been more efficient offensively than the Warriors, and look like the title favourites’ biggest challenge out West.
Lob City! https://t.co/rv2bh2EBl8
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 19, 2016
Warriors Hit Their Stride
Okay, we all had our fun with the Warriors when they dropped two in their first few games. But now it looks like they’ve morphed into the Death Star we all knew they would be. They are fresh off rummaging through the East, and now sit at 11-2. They are blazing, which has made them sort of forgettable. Until they come to your city and blow you out by 30.
— GoldenStateWarriors (@warriors) November 20, 2016
James Harden is Saucing
We all thought that the new Rockets regime would produce more points, and probably a lot more given up. But we didn’t know how well it would work. James Harden has been eating 15-assist games like they’re candy, and just making the rest of the league look like boys. He’s already leading the league in assists, and is challenging for the MVP early in the season. Fear the Beard, man.
— NBA (@NBA) November 20, 2016
Lake Show Returns from Commercial
It was pretty comical watching the Lakers be bad for a while, but then it got sad. We don’t have to worry about that anymore, though, as the Lakers are actually really fun. The young nucleus, coupled with Luol Deng’s old-man game, has been firing on all cylinders. They look like a playoff team. Seriously, is every Warriors coach a wizard? Luke Walton has these guys ready to play.
Jordan Clarkson on Lakers’ upcoming schedule (Chicago, OKC, then GSW twice): “We ain’t scared.”
— Lakers Direct (@LakersDirect) November 19, 2016
Ball Does Lie
Blazers’ Growing Pains
The Portland Trail Blazers were one of the more surprising teams in the NBA a season ago, and locked in their young core for the foreseeable future to look like a staple in the Western Conference. But they’ve been just bad this year, with the whole roster regressing. They’ve got $44 million tied up in three players with PERs of 6.6, 8.5 and 7.9. Yikes.
Mavericks Can’t Cut It
While Harrison Barnes has been better than expected, the same can’t be said about this Mavericks roster as a whole. They’ve been bad on offense – and I don’t say that lightly. They have the league’s worst offense. Dirk has been hurt, along with a lot of their bench. But still, this team is just not good. It’s been a rough month for Mark Cuban.
— Grizzlies PR (@GrizzliesPR) November 19, 2016
Jazz Not Ready for Primetime Act
The Jazz were a trendy pick to appear near the top of the Western Conference. Injuries to Gordon Hayward derailed that, but then he came back and they surged back up the rankings. Unfortunately, that was last week, and they’ve since dropped three in a row. The defense is pretty bad, and they’re still waiting on some consistent output from the guards.
— Hayes (@jd_hayes) November 18, 2016
Wizards Are Back in the Circus
The Wizards were dreadful a year ago, dealing with injuries across the board. This was to be their bounce-back year, but it’s looking less and less like one. After their awful start, Marcin Gortat called his bench the worst in the NBA…that’s a great way to build locker room cohesion. New head man Scott Brooks better get a grip on this roster fast.
Gortat asked about #Wiz 2nd unit: “I think right now as far as I know I think we’ve got one of the worst bench in the league right now.”
— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) November 13, 2016
Bucks Tackle the Bandwagon
The Bucks got blitzed by Golden State, but not before getting in some nice jabs at some Warrior fans in the crowd.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) November 20, 2016
DeAndre Jordan vs. Jimmy Butler
The Clips and Bulls squared off on the court, but not before Butler and Jordan traded Instagram swipes. Bruh, Butler got hit hard.
Hahaha Deandre Jordan and Jimmy Butler talking trash to eat other on Instagram. Should be a fun game tonight. pic.twitter.com/J9XorDVvE5
— Chicago Sports News (@ChiSportUpdates) November 19, 2016
LeBron vs. Phil
This probably should have been a feature, but I just refuse to talk about it. If you missed it, Phil called LeBron’s group a “posse”, and the basketball world chose sides.
I know Phil Jackson, he’s a good man. I don’t think he meant to disrespect LeBron James and his team.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) November 16, 2016
Luke Walton Teaches the Young Guys
Luke Walton is not only teaching the young Lakers how to go, he’s also showing them.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) November 9, 2016
Games to Watch
Raptors @ Clippers (Tuesday AEDT)
Raptors travel to the best team in the West’s venue. A test for both squads, as the Raptors need to win this to prove they belong with the elite.
Thunder @ Lakers (Wednesday AEDT)
Young Lakers get a chance to make some noise against Russ and the Thunder. These two rosters are two of the more loud ones in the league. Expect fireworks.
Spurs @ Hornets (Thursday AEDT)
It’s the first time the Hornets have seen a primetime game in the regular season in a long time, and the Spurs’ first East Coast road trip of the season.