Utah’s Rudy Gobert is really making leaps as a defensive presence in the paint, you have to like that he goes after a lot of blocks, alters a lot of shots.
But sometimes that means you look bad.
Like when you try to stop the Clippers DeAndre Jordan on the alley-oop. Jordan has a history of making guys look bad and Gobert is in some good company, and you can expect before the season is out a few more will join the club.
The Clippers won the game 107-101 — Blake Griffin had 31 points, Chris Paul a triple-double — but the Jazz made them work for it.
Every night the NBA can be a cold hard reality — there are winners, there are losers. It’s the nature of the game. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to bring you the best and worst of the NBA each week night. Here’s what you missed while trying to explain how Tinder is not just for hooking up…
James Harden and the undefeated Houston Rockets. The Beard is putting up numbers — 35 on Monday night against the Sixers brings him to 27.8 per game, and with that the Houston Rockets are undefeated at 4-0. Look under the hood a little and none of it is that impressive. In Harden’s case he is shooting just 37.3 percent overall. In the case of the Rockets, their four wins are against the Lakers, Jazz, Celtics and Sixers. Still, they are undefeated beating the teams in front of them and Harden is putting up numbers. So far so good.
Jeff Green and the Boston Celtics. Sure, they lost to Dallas (118-113), but you had to love the fight out of this team. The Celtics were down 31 in the second quarter and 26 at the half, Chandler Parsons had poured in 16, Dirk Nowitzki had 16. A lot of young teams would have rolled over and accepted the loss. But the Celtics started the third quarter on a 23-8 run 8 points from Green — he had 35 on the night, Avery Bradley had 14 in the fourth quarter to get to 32 — and the Celtics made the Mavs work for it. Dallas would make a push, the Celtics would make a run. That included a late 9-0 run that almost tied the game late, until a Parsons three did Boston in. Nobody likes moral victories, but this was one.
Oklahoma City Thunder. They got Reggie Jackson back, it didn’t help — they scored 90.2 points per 100 points per possession pace, they let the Nets score at a 127 per 100 pace. All of that is worse than their season averages, and their season averages are 25th in defense and 25th on offense. They are getting outscored by 13.5 points per 100 possessions. It’s going to be a rough first month.
Sacramento Kings. The toughest back-to-back in the league is playing the second night in Denver, at altitude. The Kings beat the Clippers Sunday night, then went into Denver and beat the Nuggets. Throw in a quality win over the Trail Blazers and the Kings are off to a 3-1 start with three quality wins. Darren Collison had 21 points on 9 shots. Small sample size alert, but the Kings look good and have gotten our attention.
Fabulous. Brooklyn’s own hip hop star came out to introduce the Nets players at the home opener… and wore sunglasses and used cue cards. He was not impressive.
Anthony Davis is ridiculous.
I feel like I’ll be typing that a lot this season. Early in the Pelicans game against Memphis Monday night Eric Gordon missed a three (he’s shooting just 25 percent from deep this season) but watch Davis, he anticipates the miss and takes three hard steps from the top of the key. Zach Randolph starts to casually slide over to grab the board and Davis just flies in over him and finishes with the putback. He didn’t leap over Randolph to throw it down, but he made the man irrelevant in the play.
Anthony Davis is ridiculous.
Among the plethora of injuries that have the Thunder off to a 1-2 start this year, there was Reggie Jackson’s wrist. He injured it in a preseason game against Dallas after a collision with Al-Farouq Aminu.
He’s back as of Monday.
Jackson will play his first game of the season when the Thunder take on the Nets Monday, reports Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman.
He will start at the point and this sends Sebastian Telfair to the bench.
Even before Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook went down Jackson was going to be a big part of the Thunders’ plans for the season. Long term, they are counting on him to become a third wing scoring threat for them — and if he does he’s really going to get paid next summer as a free agent, he wants to start somewhere.
In the short term he gets to prove he can start and as he does he can help the Thunder tread water until their stars return. He’s going to be in the spotlight (and might really help a few fantasy teams in the next few weeks).
The Knicks are off to a nice little 2-1 start, with quality wins over the Cavaliers and Hornets. This is a team that has a rough first seven games but so far, so good.
What’s different from last season, one Knicks fans would like to erase from their memories?
Primarily attitude and energy of the staff and organization, so basically everything, if you ask Carmelo Anthony, as he told the New York Post. He would know as he was there last year then chose to stay as a free agent (and cash some very big checks) rather than chase wins elsewhere.
“I knew it was different the first day we stepped into training camp,” said Anthony after the Knicks prepared in Tarrytown for Tuesday’s Garden game with the Wizards. “Just the culture and the atmosphere that’s here. The mindsets of people — not just the players, but the coaches and the staff. How positive everybody was.
“There’s no bad energy flowing through our team, the organization right now. That’s always a big key when you have that kind of atmosphere around.”
The old “bad Juju” excuse.
Anthony was quick to say this was not about players have moved on — Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton, among others — and saying it was just the vibe as a whole. I think part of that is the change in coaching styles between Derek Fisher and Mike Woodson.
But really, this goes back to Phil Jackson and a new top-down direction and approach. He is keeping James Dolan at arm’s length (for now). He is setting a new tone, one bathed on a positive glow.
It’s a start, and the Knicks are off to a good one.