One week down and plenty more to go. The first week of the NBA was full of predictably sloppy moments, but it also had some surprises along with some quality basketball. Some teams have their stuff together right from the jump, allowing us to come up with accurate conclusions based on their first week performance. Others take closer to 15-20 games to show us their true colors. Without further ado, let's take a look at some of the last week's most interesting stories:
Wardell Stephen Curry cares not for the families of opposing players
Man. Curry is on a mission. There aren't enough words to describe the tear he's on. He's destroying people. After an explosive opener in which he dropped 40 points, followed by a more tame effort against the Houston Rockets, Curry erupted to give the New Orleans Pelicans a taste of selective murder. A few nights after hanging 40 on them, with no regard for the lives of his opponents, Curry hit the Pelicans (reduced to pigeons, basically) with 53 points (1 shy of his career-high) and 9 assists, dropping 28 points in the third quarter. The Golden State Warriors are off to a perfect 3-0 start, and they are showing no signs of slowing down, even with Bogut missing time (thanks in part to Festus Ezeli who is holding opponents to 32% at the rim).
Tough Break for the Magic
Orlando has had a tough opening week. My heart is almost breaking to see how they started. They played really well in their opening game against the Washington Wizards, losing in the closing seconds off an odd call. Their next game pitted them against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Surprisingly, instead of being down-trodden by their close loss the game before, the Magic came out firing, giving it hard to the Western Conference contenders. Unfortunately for them, though, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are still a thing, and they hit back. The result was an unbelievably good game (unbelievable because, well, it was each team's second game of the season) featuring crazy clutch shots on both ends. Westbrook and Durant's combined might was enough to overshadow Victor Oladipo's triple-double, and the result was a second heartbreaking loss. After fighting their way back against the Chicago Bulls last night, they couldn't get it all together to pull out a win.
The crushing part is that there is clear progress that this team has made. They look much sharper than last season, and each member of their young core has improved their games. A few makes here and there could have been the difference between starting 0-3 and 3-0. I still believe Orlando will make their way into the playoff picture somehow, and long-term, they're one established veteran away from being an Eastern Conference force. For now, they need to learn the tough lesson of bouncing back after a tough start. Getting up to .500 should be a short-term goal for now.
Not many teams can jump out of the gate like the 2007-08 Boston Celtics and start their conquests right away. The Spurs have shown signs of greatness, and their record probably reflects that (their lone loss came in a close one against another Western Conference contender in Oklahoma City). They have also shown signs of weakness (slow starts against both Brooklyn and Boston before going on to win easily). There's a 96.957% chance they'll figure it all out soon and that they start striking a similar fear into this year's opponents that the Warriors do nightly. Kawhi Leonard taking on a scoring role is very, very welcomed. If Manu Ginobili can continue playing like this, the whole team will continue playing well into May and perhaps June. Now about that bench . . .
Boogie Boogie'd too hard
DeMarcus Cousins had a brilliant opener, flashing his 3-point "weapon" enough to hit four 3-pointers, establishing that opponents need to at least respect him from that range. He did, however, strain his right Achilles, and he will miss the next two games at least. On the bright side, without him, the Sacramento Kings played the L.A. Clippers really tough, thanks in no small part to Rajon Rondo. After dropping 21 points and 8 assists against the L.A. Lakers the game before, Rondo produced the same numbers against the Clippers, making it tough for L.A. to close out Sacramento, even without their best player. Dare we say that Rondo is back? We'll see in the next week, for the Kings will really need him and Rudy Gay (stop with the ISO plays please) to step up in Cousins' absence.
The Brooklyn Nets are not good
The Los Angeles Lakers are also not good
Need I say more?
The Philadelphia 7- never mind
Do it for Flip
The Minnesota Timberwolves pulled out an emotional win against the Lakers in their opener behind Rubio's excellent 28-point, 14-assist effort. Their next game came against the Denver Nuggets, and they pulled out a win there as well behind Karl-Anthony Towns' 28 points and 14 rebounds (to go with 4 blocks). The Timberwolves will not be as destructive as their current undefeated record suggests, but with all of the veterans they have on the team now, I don't think we can affectionately call them the Minnesota Timberpups anymore. They look pretty good, and if Rubio can keep scoring, he'll be extremely dangerous.
A ton of other things happened in game action last week, and we could spend a long time talking about it. Will Kobe Bryant continue to look washed as the season progresses? Will Stephen Curry remember to spare the mere mortals? Will Justise Winslow lock up every superstar wing in the NBA this season? Find out on the next exciting episode of Dragon. Ball. Z!