A new era of NBA basketball is well and truly underway; the Super-team is dead (for now at least, speedy recovery Steph Curry), power duos are back, the next generation are already vying for (far too early) MVP consideration and, after years of commentary suggesting that rivalries are dead, it turns out some players really hate each other… the drama is already palpable.
The Next Gen is Now
Player of the Week awards deservedly made their way to the Hawks’ Trae Young (just 21-years-old) and the Timberwolves Karl-Anthony Towns (23-years-old), who stood out above a number of excellent starts from emerging and established stars across the league.
Last season’s Rookie of the Year, Luka Doncic (20-years-old), has Dallas off and running. Whilst their 3-1 record is a source of optimism for fans, they’ve only beaten one team with postseason prospects so far… maybe I need to pump the breaks during this early season madness, but it looks like the post-LeBron era (whenever that comes) will see the league left in great hands. Oh, and the reigning MVP is still only 24!
Out East, the Philadelphia 76ers, led by Joel Embiid (25-years-old) and Ben Simmons (23-years-old), is a league-best 4-0.
Things got heated on Wednesday night as the Sixers ended Minnesota’s unbeaten start, with a thunderous 117-95 blow out. During the process, Embiid and Town’s off-court rivalry erupted violently on-court. Whilst I’m not condoning fighting (it’s not a great look for the NBA), with the league being the most wide-open it has been in recent memory, there’s almost a sense of heightened urgency for a number of young teams to stake their claim as contenders.
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I wonder if they can keep up this frenetic intensity, after all, it’s how you finish this race that counts.
With 21 games taking place over this weekend, there is plenty of NBA action to sink your teeth into.
Friday 1 November, 11pm - Houston Rockets @ Brooklyn Nets
Tip-off your weekend viewing with a battle of the super-guards as Kyrie Irving and the Nets play host to Harden, Westbrook et al. The pressure is on for the Rockets this season as their championship windows appear to be drawing to a close.
The reunion of Harden and Westbrook is experiencing some teething pains, but they were firing on all cylinders with the Beard putting up 59 points with nine assists and Russ hauling in a triple-double of 17 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists, leading the team to a jaw-dropping 159 points against the Wizards on Wednesday.
Saturday 2 November, midnight - Toronto Raptors @ Milwaukee Bucks
In a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals, the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors will visit the Milwaukee Bucks. Despite being high on everyone’s power-rankings before the season, the Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo sit at an ok 2-2. The Raptors, written off with the departure of Kawhi are an impressive 4-1. Expect both teams to be up for this one.
Sunday 3 November, 11pm - LA Lakers @ San Antonio Spurs
The LA Lakers, quickly written off after their game one loss to the Clips are now sitting at 3-1 with plaudits being lavished over this AD led (for the short term at least) squad. Let’s reality check for a minute, they beat the Hornets and Grizzlies. Yes, they were blowouts, but against two of the worst teams in the league. Facing San Antonio will be a much better test of their mettle, as they match-up with a team synonymous with consistency and excellence… albeit having only beaten one team likely to make the playoffs on their own route to a 3-1 record.News Now - Sport News