NBA Games of the Week 11/20-11/26
The NBA Season is entering its 6th week and there are some amazing things happening. The Boston Celtics have won 15 games in a row and look like a team that can absolutely challenge the Cavaliers for the East crown. Orlando’s early season Magic seems to have worn off as they have lost four in a row. The Charlotte Hornets and Los Angeles Clippers are in complete tail spins after injuries. The Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets look like absolute juggernauts out West as James Harden is starting to seriously make his case for MVP. So many exciting storylines and it’s not even December. Let’s get to the games.
Monday November 20th
Cleveland Cavaliers at Detroit Pistons (7:00 p.m EST)
The Cleveland Cavaliers have been on a tear since falling to 5-7. They have won 4 games in a row. Since their loss to Indiana, the Cavaliers are 6-2 with some wins over some not so great teams and a close game against Houston, where they lost by four. The Cavaliers still do not defend, but when you have LeBron you always have a shot. The Pistons have continued their hot start to the season, but they have lost two in a row as I type this. They will come into this game after an away game at Minnesota on Sunday, November 19th. This could be a pivotal game for the Pistons if they hope to keep a hold on the Central Division lead in the East. The stakes are high for Cleveland as well, this is a chance for them to announce to the league that after a rough start, they are still the class of the Eastern Conference no matter their defensive rating or their record. Detroit needs to make sure that they don’t poke the bear.
Tuesday November 21st
Chicago Bulls at Los Angeles Lakers (10:30 p.m EST)
The scheduling people at the NBA hate you and that is why this is the only game on Tuesday. I understand that people watch, but I will never get why the Lakers get so many televised games when they have been so awful for so many years. Poor Lonzo Ball is under the most intense microscope I have seen in quite some time. Everything that he does is scrutinized and dissected. He is going through a really rough patch and is playing historically bad, but I feel that there is hope for him to be a good player in the NBA even if he avoids a skirmish with his teammates. Speaking of skirmishes, the Bulls have been frisky at times this season alternating between awful and bad. They have lost 6 of their games by double digits and are one of the worst offensive teams in the league. Nikola Mirotic apparently does not want to play on the team if Bobby Portis is on the team and Mirotic could be cleared by next week, the plot thickens. Enjoy this game at your own risk.
Wednesday November 22nd
Denver Nuggets at Houston Rockets (8:00 p.m EST)
Two explosive offenses matching up for the first time this season. The Denver Nuggets have the 6th best offensive rating in the league as they travel to Houston to face the team with the 2nd best offensive rating. Both teams have scored over 140 points in games this season and both teams have been on a tear as of late. The Rockets have won 8 of their last 9 heading into this week and Chris Paul has finally returned to the lineup. James Harden has done fine without him, but Paul adds a new dimension to this Houston offense. Clint Capela has been amazing for the Rockets and has 11 double doubles on the season. He is going to be a tough cover for the Nuggets big men. The Nuggets have won 6 of their last 8 coming into the week and their young guards seem to have found their offensive games. Gary Harris came back from injury to score 22 in a win against the Pelicans and Jamal Murray scored over 30 points twice last week. With Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap getting that kind of help, the Nuggets will be a tough out for the Rockets.
Thursday November 23rd
No games, Happy Thanksgiving!!!
Friday November 24th
Miami Heat at Minnesota Timberwolves (8:00 p.m EST)
I wrote an article about the Heat and their early season struggles, which you can read here. As I mentioned, the Heat are going to win games and they are going to be a playoff team. They struggled out of the gate, but look to be turning the tide and are only one game under .500 as I type this and got a big win in Washington on Friday. Hassan Whiteside has dominated the glass in his last four games averaging over 17 rebounds per game and he is starting to score more as well, going over 20 points in two of his last three games. The Timberwolves have been great this season and currently sit at the number three spot in the Western Conference with a record of 10-5 after a 2-3 start to the season. Jimmy Butler has been great for the team in the reduced role he has taken offensively. He is only taking 13 shots and is allowing Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns to handle the scoring load.
Saturday November 25th
Los Angeles Clippers at Sacramento Kings (10:00 p.m EST)
The Clippers have fallen off of a cliff after some injuries to key players. They have lost 8 in a row heading into the week and this game against Sacramento could be huge for them if their week does not improve. If they continue their losing streak, will Doc Rivers still be the coach? Blake Griffin has been good, but they are going to need their perimeter players to step up and make plays for Griffin and DeAndre Jordan if they hope to get out of having the third worst record in the Western Conference. Tucked right under the Clippers in the standings are the Sacramento Kings. Head coach Dave Joerger has played some interesting lineups together and he does not have one player averaging over 27 minutes per game. That might not be the best way to handle your rotation. The Kings lineup that plays De’Aaron Fox and George Hill together is one that could be beneficial for the rookie, but Joerger might need to give Hill the lion’s share of the minutes and allow Fox to be a backup for the time being. The Kings are going to be bad and are in the midst of rebuilding, but if the Clippers lose this game, it might signal that they need to follow suit.
Sunday November 26th
Brooklyn Nets at Memphis Grizzlies (6:00 p.m EST)
There are only three games next Sunday and this is the most intriguing to me. The Nets are a fun team to watch. It’s been said so many times, but they play hard and they play a fun style of basketball. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has looked much improved and @SDinwiddie_25 has been very good recently. Memphis has struggled since their hot start. Mike Conley is out for the next two weeks and the Grizzlies have lost 7 of their last 9. Depending on how this week goes for the Grizzlies, they might be another team that starts to get real about their chances this year. This game should be fun with the contrast in styles. The Grizzlies play one of the slowest paces in the league and the Nets play the fastest. It will be interesting to see how the Nets handle the Grizzlies approach to the game.