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
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.
In another story, LeBron James said of DeAndre Liggins: “He picks up 96 feet — and the court is only 94. That’s what he does.” https://t.co/roLjonb6m3
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) January 3, 2017
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.
While these games are at halftime, let me remind you that James Harden put up a 53-16-17 last night in an NBA game. Still seems make believe
— nick wright (@getnickwright) January 1, 2017
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.
Fun fact: LeBron James is shooting a higher three point percentage than Klay Thompson so far this season.
— Mark Gunnels (@MarkAGunnels) December 24, 2016
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.
The Celtics have 8 50-point games in franchise history.
They belong to Bird (4), McHale, Sam Jones, Paul Pierce, and now…Isaiah Thomas. pic.twitter.com/NZGfaXE79S
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) December 31, 2016
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.
RT if this should be the Western Conference starters
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) December 28, 2016
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.
Get your limited edition Knicks team photo while supplies last pic.twitter.com/RLLTj7UOnT
— Free Agent NBA Fan (@World_Wide_Wob) January 3, 2017
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!
Looks like Rajon Rondo is completely out of the Bulls rotation….only a matter of time before he gets traded.
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) January 1, 2017
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.
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.
Kemba Pulls a Swaggy P
Come on, man. Just watch the shot.
Kemba Walker went full Nick Young
— Someone’s An Idiot (@SomeonesAnIdiot) December 30, 2016
Rivers and Rivers Get Tossed
It was a family affair when the father and son duo both got tossed in the same minute.
Like father, like son?
Austin Rivers and Doc Rivers get ejected within minutes of each other 😂 pic.twitter.com/KTvfQGMwCG
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 31, 2016
This is why we were excited for the Super Team
Iguodala with the between the legs alley oop…play didn’t count tho. Still ridiculous. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/KK6QTZivJZ
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) December 29, 2016
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?