Wednesday 16 August 2017 / 11:20 PM

BALL DON’T LIE: EDITION NO.9

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 look at 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 going.

Ball Don’t Lie

DeAndre Liggins

Leave it to the Cleveland Cavs to get even better with their bench, as the absence of JR Smith has propelled Liggins into the starting lineup. And the spry young guard has used the most of the opportunity, jumping the Cavs overall defensive game, and even adding some new elements to the offense. The rich get richer, as they say, and Liggins ability was on full display against the Hornets to close the year.

James Harden

It seems like each week there’s another NBA star putting up insane numbers, but James Harden is the only one doing it for a team that’s near the top of their conference. The Rockets are superb, and Harden is the reason why. Check this stat line from the other night: 53 points, 16 rebounds, and 17 assists. That’s the first 50-points/15 assist/ 15 rebound game EVER.

LeBron’s Threes

The Cavaliers are hard enough to beat on their own, but LeBron James has developed an entirely new piece of his game: three point shooting. Since the Finals, King James is shooting over 35% from three on almost five per game. That output would have never been believed earlier in James career, but the Cavs are a whole different beast when James is hitting the long ball.

Isaiah Thomas

The Celtics are currently within the top-four in the East, and that is very much to the credit of their star point-guard Isaiah Thomas. Thomas has been the best player for a Celtics team that hasn’t seem their top free agent signing in Al Horford play the way they would have hoped. Still, the Celtics look much better than a year ago, and Brad Stevens has them playing like a contender in the East behind the play of Thomas.

Kings of Twitter

So, in case you follow the NBA on social media, the way you vote for the All-Star game this year is to tweet the name of the player with a specific hashtag, and if it is retweeted it casts a vote. Well, the Kings have abused that system in a hilarious way, tweeting out a list of top NBA players including DeMarcus Cousins, but with everyone’s name slightly misspelled other than Cousins. Seriously, NBA twitter accounts are the best.

 

Ball Does Lie

Knicks Slow Slide

The New York Knicks were a surprise team in the early month of December, righting the ship after an average start to climb up the Eastern conference standings. Melo had a few game winners, and Porzingis was dealing. And yet, the Knicks started to sink in the waning moments of 2016, now finding themselves below .500, and losing their groove. In a team full of so many former alphas, someone has to take control in a hurry.

Rondo’s Dip

It’s become a bit of a habit in the last couple of seasons for perennial All-Star Rajon Rondo to fizzle out on his teams by the All-Star break. We saw it in his final days in Boston, Dallas, and Sacramento last season. But Rondo seems to have worn out his welcome uncharacteristically fast in Chicago, with the Bulls moving to bench Rondo already. And Rondo already wants out. Not even at the All-Star Break!

Clippers Step Back

A hot start for the Clippers finally petered off, with the Clips falling back down to the pack of the West, namely the six seed. And that’s a pretty far fall from grace, but not exactly unexpected. The absence of Blake Griffin has left the Clippers pretty one dimensional, especially with the bench falling off from their hot start. The Clippers better hope Griffin isn’t out much longer, as the gap with the top of the West grows each week.

Pistons’ Mediocrity

After such an exciting postseason push a year ago and some promising games against Cleveland in the postseason, the Pistons entered this season with some high hopes for the playoffs. Instead, they’ve regressed, lurking below .500 with an offense that honestly looks dysfunctional. Their defense is keeping them afloat, but Reggie Jackson has regressed, and there’s no play happening from the guards.

Quick Hits

Kemba Pulls a Swaggy P

Come on, man. Just watch the shot.

Rivers and Rivers Get Tossed

It was a family affair when the father and son duo both got tossed in the same minute.

Warriors Shine

This is why we were excited for the Super Team

Win the Game or the Fight

The Rockets and Mavs played an ugly game over the weekend, and had some extracurricular going on after.

 

Games to Watch

Raptors @ Spurs

Two top teams get to go toe-to-toe early on.

Bulls @ Cavs

Will D-Wade get some revenge on King James?

Thunder @ Rockets

What could be better than Harden vs. Westbrook?

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About the author

Austin Albertson

Austin is CBS' senior NFL and NBA analyst, bringing you commentary on everything between the lines and inside the hashes, from the film room to the scoreboard.

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