NBA Week 4 in Review

What have you done for me lately? This is the world of sports we live in where finding chemistry, building a bond and developing camaraderie is all good and well…when you’re winning! Speak of those things when you’re on the wrong side of the W-L column and everyone from fans to team officials quickly begin to lose patience. This week we see a few teams stretching hot streaks and others dropping a couple in a row. It’s still early in the season but things are beginning to take on some sort of shape as to what we can expect for the middle chunk of the season.

Western Conference

Don’t look now, but those Warriors that everyone laughed at on opening night for getting a shellacking from the Spurs have “quietly” won 7 in a row and are sporting a +8.2 point differential. Defense is clearly a problem, as they’re giving up 108 points per game and seem to have many miscommunications or slow rotations on the court. The main problem for the opposition is, how can you possibly outscore this team? Steve Kerr has staggered his lineup to always have KD, Steph or Klay on the floor at all times, each of whom can go off for as many 3’s in a quarter than either you or I have made in a game in our entire lives. If I was a betting man, I’d say the Clippers may have their best shot this season to dethrone the Warriors as the best in the West.

Speaking of those Clippers, after a narrow loss to the Grizzlies, they have quickly turned it back around with back to back wins against the Kings and the Bulls. This group knows who they are and seem to have their foot fully pressed on the gas with no signs of looking back. I’m not the biggest Mbah a Moute fan but if they could somehow pull the trigger for let’s say Rudy Gay that would probably put them over the top. Going to the Clippers would break the Gay curse, as there’s enough veteran leadership (players and coaching personnel) in the locker room to negate that effect.

The Spurs and the Grizzlies join those streaking teams as they have won 5 and 4 in a row respectively. However, when it comes down to playoff series, it appears that the Spurs would get out matched and the Grizzlies just get out scored by both the Warriors and Clippers. We’ll continue to see if they make any further adjustments or trades before the deadline to go all out on potentially winning the West. On the contrary to those winning streaks, we see a 4 game losing streak by the previously hot Utah Jazz. They should still remain in playoff contention but have only averaged 91.5 ppg in those 4 losses. Needless to say they should be looking for more offensive opportunities.

Eastern Conference

Those tough Pistons and lengthy Bucks have both gone streaking in the wrong direction. Each has dropped their last 3 games and fallen under .500. Something tells me they get it together and still remain in playoff conversations in the long run. Another team trending downwards, that won’t be in that playoff conversation; (covers face) the Brooklyn Nets. They were tied in record with the Knicks last week; but having mediocre talent on their roster, on top of being hit early by the injury bug most likely will lead to their playoff dream demies.

Other than the few streaks in the East, team positioning has remained mostly stable. No team has made a huge leap or fall within the last week. The most impressive team thus far from the pack has been the Hornets. The things Kemba Walker has been able to do shouldering the scoring load while also facilitating for his teammates has been breathtaking. Should we be paying more attention to him for the MIP this year? It looks like yes!

Cleveland remains on top the East yet again. It appears that their formula for Lebron’s rest on the backend of back to backs should bode well in the short and long run. There’s nothing else for LeBron to accomplish in the regular season. If he misses any big matchups this season, it should be a surprise to no one. Kevin Love’s scoring increase, and Kyrie’s ball domination should keep them steady at a .500 clip in the games LeBron doesn’t play. Not to mention the emergence of Channing Frye, who has provided a scoring punch off the bench. With some big games in the weeks to come, let’s see if any team takes a significant stride up in the win column.

Matchups to Watch

-Grizzlies @ Hornets – 11/21

-Rockets @ Pistons – 11/21

-Celtics @ T-Wolves – 11/21

-Raptors @ Clippers – 11/21

-Blazers @ Knicks – 11/22

-Pelicans @ Hawks – 11/22

-Thunder @ Lakers – 11/22

-Spurs @ Hornets – 11/23

-Blazers @ Cavs – 11/23

-Hawks @ Pacers – 11/23

-Raptors @ Rockets – 11/23

-Lakers @ Warriors – 11/23

-Spurs @ Celtics – 11/25

-Hornets @ Knicks – 11/25

-Hawks @ Jazz – 11/25

-Pelicans @ Blazers – 11/25

-Warriors @ Lakers – 11/25

-Rockets @ Kings – 11/25

-Knicks @ Hornets – 11/26

-T-Wolves @ Warriors – 11/26

-Clippers @ Pacers – 11/27

-Rockets @ Blazers – 11/27

-Hawks @ Lakers – 11/27

Knicks Notes

Wow! So we actually had a good week in the association. The Knicks finished strong with a convincing win over the 2nd best team in the east thus far, the Atlanta Hawks. NY lead for majority of the game, and saw a season high 31 points from Carmelo Anthony. They gave you a little bit of everything this week, as we saw good Knicks and bad Knicks. We finally got our first 30-burger from KP. We won games we should’ve won, lost a game we should not have lost, and surprised everyone with the home win against Atlanta.

KP’s confidence is growing and that should scare everyone. He plays both ends of the floor and we’ve seen everything from crossovers to coast-to-coast fast breaks. We’re seeing slightly less isolation plays from Carmelo unless it’s a glaring mismatch, and we’ve seen attention to ball movement. It’s imperative that the Knicks continue to get everyone involved to share that positive ball energy. That team meeting with Phil Jackson couldn’t have happened at a more opportune time.

The Knicks are looking at a home game versus the Blazers in addition to a home & home with the Hornets this week. This can be a defining stretch (albeit early in the season) to get on the plus side of .500 and keep the momentum going into the following week. Overall, Knicks fans shouldn’t get too high or too low, but should definitely remain optimistic!

Stay tuned!

#Knickstape

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