NBA Week 6 in Review

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So much for a throw away season, right? We anticipated the Warriors, Cavs, Clippers and Spurs to be the cream of the crop (which they are), while the rest of the league beat each other up in the meantime. Well, the latter is true, but we have some middle tier teams and even lower echelon squads shooting their shot and coming up with some surprising victories. Last Tuesday November 29th marked only the second time in NBA history that each team with the lower W-L record captured a victory on the same night (with at least 6 games slated). The competition has been fierce, and with majority of the league vulnerable on any given night, each team must always bring their A game.

Western Conference

Fear the triple double! It helped catapult the Rockets past the hot Warriors, and it has guided the Thunder on their current 6 game winning streak. James Harden and Russell Westbrook are in the midst of historically great seasons and currently sport the wins to back it up. The Rockets lack of defense and the Thunder’s lack of talent (outside of Westbrook) made it difficult to pre-determine their anticipated level of success. Nonetheless, both superstars are carrying their respective teams on a nightly basis. I’m no guru, but I’d guess none of the west teams would want to see either of them in a first round playoff matchup.

With their current 3 game win streak, Portland has slowly worked themselves back into the playoff picture. The surprise efforts from Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum last year has turned into expectations for this year. Only time will tell if they can keep up with those playoff standards, but there’s no doubt the Blazers will need consistent outputs from their two main guys. In order for them to have any hopes of advancing (as they did last year), they will need more scoring from the wing position that is only seeing a 19 combined PPG average from Al-Farouq Aminu and Maurice Harkless. The sooner, the better, as they will see the Grizzlies, Pacers, Clippers, Thunder and Warriors in the next 11 days.

As of right now the Clippers are the only team in the west without a win streak of 2 or more, as they’ve dropped their last contest against the Indiana Pacers. It also doesn’t help that their next game is against the Warriors and Mr. “60 points in 29 minutes” himself Klay Thompson. All in all, as said before, majority of the regular season won’t matter much as long as the Clippers stay afloat. We’ve seen this story before and the real results will be judged based on playoff performance.

Eastern Conference

Well, well, well. The Knicks currently hold the longest win streak in the east at 3 in a row, and have risen to 5th place in the standings. They also have the third best home record in the league at 9-3 and feed off the rejuvenated MSG crowd. They will need all that and then some when the Cavaliers visit the Garden this week. We’ve seen scoring outbursts from Porzingis, Melo, and D Rose with wins in each situation. The Knicks of old were unable to win games without their start player (Melo) scoring in abundance. It’s a sight to see that they can now pull out victories with Melo shooting 4 for 16 from the field. Look out east!

Although the Raptors failed to complete a comeback against the Cavaliers this week, they won their previous 6 games and seemed to have found a groove. DeRozan continues to dominate the mid range and Kyle Lowry has remained the bulldog point guard that he is. There must be something said for veterans during the NBA season after playing in Olympic competition; it does wonders for their confidence. It remains to be seen whether the team up north will make any moves before the trade deadline. However, losing 5 out of 7 to the reigning NBA champs leaves something to be desired.

The Pacers and Hawks continue to compete for positioning but cannot seem to gain continuity. The Hawks have dropped 7 contests in a row and Indiana hasn’t strung together a couple good victories thus far. Teams should almost be gearing up for mid season form to validate their identity and make positive pushes forward. The talent is there individually, but the chemistry is taking a little longer to develop. We’ll continue to keep a close eye on these teams as we head into the Christmas holiday and New Years.

Matchups to Watch

-Bulls @ Pistons – 12/6

-Spurs @ T-Wolves – 12/6

-Pistons @ Hornets – 12/7

-Lakers @ Rockets – 12/7

-Cavs @ Knicks – 12/7

-Warriors @ Clippers – 12/7

-T-Wolves @ Raptors – 12/8

-Warriors @ Jazz – 12/8

-Spurs @ Bulls – 12/8

-Raptors @ Celtics – 12/9

-Hawks @ Bucks – 12/9

-Rockets @ Thunder – 12/9

-Blazers @ Pacers – 12/10

-Hornets @ Cavs – 12/10

-Warriors @ Grizzlies – 12/10

-Celtics @ Thunder – 12/11

-Warriors @ T-Wolves – 12/11

-Knicks @ Lakers – 12/11

Let’s see which teams make a big push into next week!

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