The NBA world was filled with crimes of passion, crimes of violence, and crimes of non-action. Between Rajon Rondo filling in for Kim K., The Spurs taking the night off(and still almost winning), Harden’s return to his boys, and the Lakers still losing, it was an exciting week of basketball. Here are thirty thoughts from this week; one for each team.(Yes, I even managed to write one about the Suns. Trust me, I’m not happy about it either.)
1. Despite having the best record in the NBA, the Grizzlies rank just 16th in both assists and rebounds. While Michael Conley is more of score first point guard, it is a bit shocking that they don’t rank higher with the likes of Randolph and Gasol.
2. The fine against the Spurs is ludicrous. Yes, I understand the NBA schedules these games for the fans. And yes, the NBA is a product that they need to sell. But would you rather have a healthy Spurs in the Western Conference Finals when ratings matter the most, or having the promo the lineup from last night for seven straight nights in May? Pop has every right to be upset.
3. The Heat need to be the teensy bit worried that they allowed that Spurs lineup to drop 100 on them. “Stopping Nando de Colo and Gary Neal” usually isn’t on the “Keys to a Championship” bulletin board.
4. The Nets have started off 4-0 in the division, including two wins over the Celtics. For a team looking to gain a strong fan base, beating the Division giant twice in two weeks is a great start.
5. Ok, so Amare says he’s alright coming off the bench. If this is true, the Knicks could be even dangerous bringing out a bench lineup of Pablo, JR, Novak, Amare and Sheed. I think there are a few teams who would happily trade their starting lineup for those five.
6. This is now the third situation in a year where Rondo’s emotions caused a suspension. While in the grand scheme of things 2 out of 82 isn’t bad, when do the Celtics realize that too much passion can be a bad thing?
7. The chances are looking better and better than Andrew Bynum could actually never play a game for the Sixers. With his current contract up next year, it wouldn’t be a surprise from the unpredictable Bynum is he went elsewhere next year. Good thing they already have a future all-star in Jrue Holliday, who has career highs in every major category.
8. The Raptors need to get Ed Davis and Terrence Ross more minutes. They are the future, not Andrea Bargnani. When you are 3-12, you mine as well start looking elsewhere.
9. The Bucks come off the emotional win against the Bulls with a stinker against the Knicks. A team that has shown flashes of brilliance has also showed multiple times how new they are to the big moment.
10. If Joakim Noah isn’t an all-star, the game shouldn’t happen. He is averaging just under a double double on a team where he is usually the 4th offensive option and rarely has any plays for him. If only the NBA had a hustle award. (Did I really just praise Noah. God, I’m sorry Boston.)
11. Just like that, the Pistons have five wins. If they are going to salvage the season after the awful start, Kyle Singler becoming a consistent scoring option is a great place to start. Also, could playing Monroe and Drummond at the same time be a nightmare?It could prove dividends for a team looking for a defensive identity.
12. When your coach can literally only compliment one player after a game, it has to show some frustration. But Byron Scott needs to be thinking long term: use the Irving injury to teach the younger Cavs to handle big moments. Phase one of that: not saying they suck.
13. The Hawks are quietly the winners of six straight. Be weary of not giving them too much credit however, the Bobcats(twice), Kings, Wizards, and Magic were all a part of that streak.
14. While Charlotte proved that they are still very much a work in progress against the Thunder, no one, and I mean NO ONE, had them at .500 after 14 games. Six out of the next nine at home is a great opportunity to prove you are worth a second look.
15. Orlando is 3-7 in their last ten. In those ten games, they have averaged just 89.6 points per game, and that includes an overtime period. The Magic need a create on his own shooter if they are going to change how their offense runs.
16. The Curse of Voldemort is over: The Wizards have won a game. Now that the spell is over, this team needs to look into building itself around the John Wall return. The first step should be to fire the coach that never wanted to be there in the first place. Stan Van Gundy, anyone?
17. Oklahoma City does not know how to host a friend in return. A dominating performance against the Rockets not only exposed how to beat Harden(run at him like wild men), but proved that this maybe was the right choice.
18. The Jazz are the Hawks of the East. Nobody watches them, you never see them, yet they are slowly working their way into a groove. They are 7-3 in their last ten after a 2-4 start.
19. The Nuggets are better than their 8-8 record shows, and the win over the Grizz in Memphis proved that. They have four losses by five points or less. But for a team looking to be more than a first round exit, you have to learn to win those close games now.
20. Kevin Love is back, and Ricky Rubio is doing full contact drills. While the injuries have mounted in Minnesota, they still need to be thinking the time is now. I still fully believe Minnesota is a 7 or 8 seed come playoff time.
21. Is the loss to the Wizards a low point for the Trailblazers? For a team to be 6-9 while having the highest scoring starting lineup in the league, Portland needs to be looking towards their bench to get any kind of offensive production. Maybe more minutes to rookie Meyers Leonard?
22. The Warriors have wins over the Clippers, Nets, Nuggets and Hawks, and only have one inexcusable two point loss to Sacramento. Despite this great start and a first place spot among the Pacific, the news about Bogut has to be deflating. is Festus Ezili good enough to handle a starters role for 82 games?
23. The Clippers finally stopped the skid with a win over the T-Wolves. The question definitely remains: Have defenses figured out Blake Griffin? Deandre Jordan may end up being the better low post option long term.
24. New coach, same problems. The Lakers look lost on defense, and look like they are playing street ball on offense. While Kobe is shooting out of his mind, long gone is the confidence that Pao Gasol was playing with in the Olympics this summer. If anyone goes, it has to be him.
25. I said I had something for them, so here it is. The Suns are currently last in the league in opponents PPG, and are third to last in opposing field goal percentage. This looks even worse when teams like Charlotte, Orlando, and Detroit have all dropped 115+ on you.
26. The Kings aren’t getting blown out of games anymore, but still don’t know how to play together on offense. For a team who finished 26th in team assists last year at 21 a game, a regression to 18 a game is not going to make this team better.
27. The Rockets have had a tough week emotionally. With no return really in sight for McHale, you want to root for them. They are definitely better than what they showed in OKC. Long plane rides are not, teams have figured out this backcourt. Making Harden handle the ball and turning Lin into a jump shooter is not a good look for the Rockets.
28. The Mavericks may have found something in getting guys who want to play for something. Could one year contracts be the new trend in free agency? While a blowout loss to the Bulls was ugly, this team is still a “definitely don’t want to see” in round 1.
29. The Hornets are holding their breath that the recent injuries to Davis are bad early luck and not a sign to come. It’s hard to tell how good this team can be when Davis hasn’t even played half of their games. Ryan Anderson is proving he was worth every dollar, and should be a Hornet for a while.
30. The Pacers win over the Lakers was might have been a bigger win for them than it was a loss for the Lakers believe it or not. Before that win, you have to think they were in dead heat for underwhelming team of the year award with the Celtics. Games at Chicago, Golden State and Oklahoma City in the next week requires the confidence they got from that game.
Until next time, your amazing NBA youtube clip: