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 spending $24 million on a watch….
Anthony Davis. He’s been the best player in the league so far this young season. Better than LeBron James, better than Chris Bosh, better than Stephen Curry. Davis has a PER of 35.7 so far. At age 21. In his third NBA season. He had 25 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks against the Lakers Wednesday night — and that’s pretty much been a standard night for him. He’s a defensive force, he runs the floor, he’s got a midrange game, there’s not much he can’t do. Oh, and he can dunk, too.
Anthony Morrow. The Thunder need scoring without Durant and Westbrook, and in his second game back Morrow provided it. He had 19 points in the fourth quarter, 28 for the game on 11-of-15 shooting, plus he was 4-of-5 from three. Oh, and the Thunder won, they are now 3-6 on the young season and just trying to keep their heads above water until the cavalry coms charging over the hill next month.
New York Knicks. We all knew there was going to be adjustments to be made: The triangle offense takes time to learn, Derek Fisher is learning on the job as coach, the roster just does not have that much talent on it… but wow they have looked bad during this six-game losing streak. And never worse than in this loss to the Magic on Wednesday night at home. I’ll grant you that J.R. Smith’s last shot was not a wise choice (and not what Fisher drew up, you could see that on Carmelo Anthony’s face) but this loss was more than that. It was some odd player rotations and lineups from Fisher (no Tim Hardaway Jr. in the first half?). It was poor defense again — the Magic scored a high 106.5 points per 100 possessions in this game, but that is still berter than the Knicks season average of 108.4 (25th in the league). I wish I had a bright spot for Knicks fans, but this is going to be a long season.
Paul Millsap. Normally he’d slide into the loser category because the Hawks misspelled his name on the back of jersey, but the man and too big a night to ignore — 30 points on 12-of-23 shooting, plus 17 rebounds and a couple of blocks. He carried the offense for stretches and the Hawks needed every bit of that to hold off the Jazz 100-97 (Utah’s shot to tie it late was not exactly pretty).
Denver Nuggets. There was a time when the second night of a back-to-back up in the altitude of Denver was seen as a schedule maker’s loss — no team expected to win that game. Not any more, and not with these Blazers scoring at will in the first half — Portland led Denver 84-50 at halftime. Brian Shaw looked for what would work, throwing 13 different players on the court, and every single one of them has a negative +/- at the half. Kenneth Faried told ProBasketballTalk that the early-season problems are tied to the team just not meshing yet because of guys missing time due to injuries. That’s part of it, but there is a lot more going on here. And the Nuggets are digging the kind of early-season hole that will be hard for them to climb out of in the West.
Brandon Jennings. Any night he is efficient it is actually news, and he was on Wednesday with 32 points on 11-for-19 shooting, plus 10 assists to just two turnovers. But it wasn’t enough to get the Pistons a win over the Wizards because Detroit just can’t get stops. However, Jennings is mostly here in the winner category because he did this: