NBA Games of the Week 11/27-12/3
Well, things seem to be getting back to normal in the East. Cleveland cannot seem to lose and are in the midst of a 7 game winning streak and Orlando cannot seem to win and are in the midst of an 8 game losing streak. Out West, the Rockets have looked downright dominant and the Warriors seem to drift in and out of caring. The Nuggets have lost Paul Millsap for a few months and the Clippers have lost Patrick Beverley for possibly the rest of the season. On top of all of that, the Thunder cannot seem to keep a lead unless they are playing the Warriors. The league is so interesting and there are great games every single night. Let’s get to the games.
Monday November 27th
Cleveland Cavaliers at Philadelphia 76ers (7:00 p.m EST)
This game is intriguing for many reasons. The Cleveland Cavaliers are dealing with some interesting issues surrounding their team with Derrick Rose possibly retiring. Despite this internal issue, the team has been great. They have won 7 games in a row heading into this game and have looked capable on the defensive end. Jose Calderon has come in for them and played great minutes. On the other side are the upstart Philadelphia 76ers, who have become the darlings of the NBA season because of their youth and the superstardom of Joel Embiid on and off the court. As I type this, the 76ers are 11-7 and look to be getting more and more comfortable. They actually pulled an amazing effort out of the Golden State Warriors last week after blitzing them in the 1st half of their game. In a possible bummer moment, Ben Simmons sat out their Saturday game against the Magic and there is a chance he might not play. Looking forward to this one.
Tuesday November 28th
Washington Wizards at Minnesota Timberwolves (8:00 p.m EST)
The Timberwolves have lost three of their last four and there are already signs of some frustration from Jimmy Butler. The Timberwolves have got to get better defensively and Butler knows it. Despite their recent play, they are in the top four of the Western Conference and can absolutely stay there if they can make improvements defensively. On the other side, the Washington Wizards have been extremely inconsistent this season and they are now going to be without John Wall for at least two weeks. They have also lost three of their last four and without Wall, they could easily put together a losing streak. The Timberwolves need to win this one and the Wizards need to avoid getting into a hole during Wall’s time out of the lineup.
Wednesday November 29th
Charlotte Hornets at Toronto Raptors (7:30 p.m EST)
The Charlotte Hornets need this game. They have lost 7 of their last 10 and are falling down the Eastern Conference standings. They have to start making up those games. Coming off of their beatdown by the Spurs on Saturday, the Hornets have three days off before their game in Toronto. Kemba Walker has been the most consistent player for the team and Dwight Howard has had moments for the team. However, they are still giving him way too many post touches to put together a good offense. Per NBA.com/stats, Howard posts up 6 times per game and he is currently turning the ball over on 30% of his post ups. He is in the 24th percentile among the rest of the NBA in post up situations. The Raptors are coming home after a three game road trip going 1-2 against the Knicks, Pacers, and Hawks. They have to feel that they left two wins on the table after losses to the Knicks and Pacers. They have only lost one of their 7 games at home this season and this is the first of a three game homestand that they will need to take advantage of if they hope to maintain their spot in the standings. The Raptors are under the radar at the moment, but they will be heard from come playoff time.
Thursday November 30th
Milwaukee Bucks at Portland Trail Blazers (10:00 p.m EST)
The Bucks have gone 5-3 since their trade for Eric Bledsoe. They have lost three of their last four and have dealt with some injuries to Giannis Antetokounmpo, John Henson, and Matthew Dellavedova. The expectations for this team have gone up and down since the beginning of the season. Giannis’ hot start has cooled down to an extent and the introduction of Eric Bledsoe has looked great at times. The Bucks will finish their four game road trip in Portland. The Trail Blazers suffered a loss to the Bucks at the beginning of the season thanks to Giannis’ 44 points. They will conclude their games for this year against the Bucks and are currently 12-8 on the season. The Trail Blazers have been consistent in their inconsistency with no winning or losing streaks longer than 2 games this season. They have also played some great defense and according to Basketball Reference, have the third best defensive rating in the league and are giving up the fourth least amount of points per game. That is huge for a team that can score in bunches with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum on the roster.
Friday December 1st
Minnesota Timberwolves at Oklahoma City Thunder (8:00 p.m EST)
The Timberwolves have two wins this year over the Oklahoma City Thunder and they are catching the Thunder at a good time. The Thunder, despite having a vicious defense somehow (with Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony), they are 8-11 as I type this and have lost some tough games by blowing fourth quarter leads. They have lost four of their last five and enter the week coming off of a 16 point loss to the Dallas Mavericks. They are struggling to find their offensive rhythm and some of their stars look unsure of how to play, but don’t worry Russell Westbrook keeps getting triple doubles. This game will be the first of a three game homestand for the Thunder and it could be a chance for them to put together a winning streak. They cannot afford to fall too far down the standings.
Saturday December 2nd
Los Angeles Lakers at Denver Nuggets (9:00 p.m EST)
This game might seem odd, but these two teams met on November 19th and let’s just say that things did not go well for the Nuggets. Paul Millsap was hurt, then Mike Malone and Nikola Jokic had a run in with the referee that ended with both of them ejected and the Nuggets getting destroyed in Los Angeles. This game is a payback game for the Nuggets. They will be ready to play and will hope to avenge their 18 point loss. Meanwhile, the Lakers come into the week with one of the best defenses according to Defensive Rating, with the fourth best rating in the league. Lonzo Ball has started to shoot the ball a little better and his father has gone to war with Trump, so that’s been fun. Julius Randle has also looked good for the Lakers as the center in smaller lineups and he really gave the Nuggets problems in their last matchup scoring a season high 24 points.
Sunday December 3rd
San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder (7:00 p.m EST)
The Spurs somehow have continued their magic despite missing one of the best players in the league, Kawhi Leonard and the best point guard in franchise history, Tony Parker. The Spurs are currently 12-7, having won 8 of their last 11. They will have four games next week with Oklahoma City as their final game of the week. They beat the Thunder in their last meeting and have stayed afloat this season with some great play from LaMarcus Aldridge and a breakout season thus far for Kyle Anderson, who has played steady in the most minutes he has gotten in his career. However, this game could be significant in that Tony Parker is supposed to come back at the start of December and this could be his first game. In addition, it is unclear when Kawhi Leonard might return and there have not been many updates on his injury. The Thunder could be at a crossroads coming into this game. If they continue their tough play, this will be a very important game for them as a team. With games against the Timberwolves and Spurs, two teams that have already beaten the Thunder, they are in need of some quality wins against the other top teams in the West.