We're a quarter of the way into the season, and the last two unbeatens reside in the Eastern Conference. The third place team in the East took down the West's last remaining unbeaten. East teams played West teams in 6 match-ups, and it was another 3-3 split. The conferences are still dead even against one another, knotted at 9 a piece.
Atlanta (4-0) over Seattle (1-3), 5-4 The Hawks have already surpassed last season's win total. It may have been a 5-4 win, but the Hawks had built up sizable leads in their 5 categories that they did basically nothing on Sunday and it didn't matter. Ben Simmons almost averaged a triple-double, Kyle Lowry continues to rack up assists, Steven Adams is doing the same with rebounds. Derrick Rose averaged 24-4-5 and tossed in 11 threes. After Rose hardly played at all last year, it appears he is officially back, and with Butler out of Minnesota, the Hawks are poised to benefit massively. Just goes to show that you can't write off a guy with that kind of talent. The Hawks have the winless Raptors next up. The Sonics probably feel like they would have won had Jonathan Isaac been healthy, and they finished close enough in boards that it wouldn't have been crazy. Seattle has had a tough start to the season, having to face Boston, Houston and Atlanta in three of the first four weeks (their only win was against a tough Utah team). The next ten, though, are winnable, especially if they can get Markannen back for most of those games. It starts this week with a banged up Cleveland team.
Minnesota (3-1) over Orlando (1-3), 5-4 The Timberwolves have moved into a tie with the Grizzlies and Rockets for first in the Midwest. Blake Griffin was below average, JaVale saw a reduction in minutes, and both Tyus Jones and James Ennis did very little, and it didn't matter. The Wolves crushed the Magic in steals and blocks (Mitchell Robinson had 9 in one game!), and they did just enough in three other categories to prevail. They'll get a Brooklyn team coming off a tough loss, and the Wolves have to like the way their schedule is setting up. It's basically the opposite of the Magic, who are quickly entering the danger zone early in the season. The Magic have three straight conference games coming up, starting with the Bulls, and they almost have to come out of that stretch with 2 wins. The end of the bench has collapsed for Orlando, and the starters haven't done enough to make up for it. The Magic may have lucked out a little with the schedule. Chicago will only get one game from Andre Drummond.
Colorado (2-2) over Brooklyn (2-2), 5-4 Talk about an emotional roller coaster. The Swannies entered Sunday with a 5-4 lead, but Brooklyn looked poised to flip rebounds and threes, which is exactly what they did. James Harden exploded for 40 points on 8 threes, and the rest of the Nets did enough damage on the glass to win it. All they had to do was hold onto turnovers, which they led by 11. But James Harden also turned the ball over 9 times, basically destroying all the good he did from beyond the arc. By the time the last game started, featuring the turnover-prone LeBron James, the writing was on the wall. The Swannies gutted out a massive conference win, keeping their season from spiraling out of control. The problem is, things only get more difficult since Colorado now has to face the unbeaten Celtics. Brooklyn is surely kicking themselves, since they could easily be 4-0 at this point. Instead, they'll go into their match-up against the Wolves staring down a losing record.
Oklahoma City (1-3) over Las Vegas (1-3), 4-4-1 (OKC wins on points) The Thunder won this week's closest match-up thanks to the tiebreaker. If you had looked at the lineups on the final day between these two, and the score going in, the Gamblers would absolutely be favored. The Gamblers had to hold two of threes, turnovers and blocks, and the Thunder only had Paul Millsap, Jamal Murray and Jayson Tatum going. Somehow, Millsap and Tatum combined to hit 10 threes and block 4 shots, flipping one category and tying another. With Irving and Nurkic turning the ball over, the Gamblers fell. Things are precarious now for the Gamblers. They now get Washington, fresh off a huge win over Houston. Falling to 1-4 might as well be the end of the season in the West. With Boston right after that? Oof. The Thunder have about 12 hours to be excited. They get Memphis this week.
Utah (2-2) over Tampa Bay (2-2), 5-4 Another 5-4 match-up, this time featuring a super banged up Jazz team taking down a Westbrook-less Bull Sharks. Tampa Bay lost three games of Russ, and that was the difference, despite their best efforts to make it a game late. It'll be interesting to see what happens with Tampa Bay. Without Russ, they're 0-2. With Russ, they're 2-0. The schedule doesn't look that difficult, but they're capable of losing to anyone without their star. It was only a sprained ankle, so he shouldn't be out that long, but they really have no shot against Houston without him. The Jazz are living dangerously right now. They're 2-2, but both wins could easily be losses. They're also really banged up going into this week's game against Kansas City. Wade, Gasol and Carmelo are all out. Wes Matthews is hurt. Elfrid Payton is still dealing with an injured ankle. The Kings have their own injuries, but if the Jazz aren't careful, they could miss the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
Washington (3-1) over Houston (3-1), 5-4 For the first time this year, we saw what happens when the top-7 in Houston takes a hit. Steph Curry missed 1.5 games, Kawhi missed 2 and Eric Gordon missed 2, and the result was a narrow defeat at the hands of the Wizards. The Wizards were just solid, and it was enough to get them an upset win. Things set up nicely for Washington with the Gamblers and Kings in their next 2. The East has four teams sitting at 2-2, so it's nice to be at 3-1 and have some breathing room. On the Houston side of things, this loss doesn't seem like one to fret about. Curry may miss a few games, but everyone else is back, and the Bull Sharks are probably going to be without Russ. All this week really showed is how hard it is to go unbeaten in this league.
Chicago (2-2) over Portland (2-2), 6-3 Last week, we speculated that Chicago could turn into sellers against their will. They responded by throttling the defending Western Conference champions. Andre Drummond put up 24-19-2-2-2, and he and Vuc continue to be one of the best center duos in the league. If they could just get consistent games from D'Angelo Russell, this could be a surefire playoff team. As it stands, the schedule actually sets up quite nicely (talk about a 180). If they can get past a struggling Magic team, they then get Toronto. Get to 4-2, and things look a lot different. The Trailblazers just need to get healthy. The problem is there are no easy games for them, starting with Golden State. The next 5 are tough, and they probably need to come out of it 3-2. If they do, the schedule parts like the Red Sea.
Boston (4-0) over Cleveland (0-4), 7-2 The Celtics remain unbeaten thanks in large part to the greatest shooter in NBA history... Brook Lopez? No, seriously. Brook Lopez dropped 20 threes last week, while also blocking 7 shots. That many threes and blocks has turned Brook Lopez into, arguably, the most valuable fantasy big in the league. Boston has been really good to this point, but are there some warning lights going off? Dion Waiters is still out. Ryan Anderson has been benched. Frank Jackson and Jerome Robinson already don't play. Avery Bradley remains a shell of himself, and SGA has looked fantastic in his spot in the starting lineup. The Celtics are 4-0 because the rest of the roster has been phenomenal, but the dead spots are piling up. This week's match-up with the Swannies will be fascinating. Cleveland... we say it every week, but this won't be a totally lost season for the Cavs. Trae Young looks like a hit, and trading two top-10 picks for him already seems to have been validated. This season is about growth, and they're getting it.
Memphis (3-1) over Kansas City (2-2), 6-3 This one wasn't really close. Paul George, KAT and Oladipo all played to their highest capabilities, and when that happens, not a lot of teams can beat Memphis. The Grizzlies are looking quite formidable once again, and with the supporting cast almost fully healthy, they may just overtake Houston as the favorite out West. They've got the Thunder up next before the game of the week against the Hawks. The Kings were always going to have problems against he best teams because their supporting cast, while solid, has a limited ceiling. With George Hill, Mike Muscala and Andrew Wiggins all hurt, there wasn't much they could do here. If Wiggins is good to go, the Kings might be able to pull out a win against a banged up Jazz team.
Golden State (2-2) over Toronto (0-4), 6-3 The Warriors continue to float under the radar a bit. They've beaten the two winless teams in Toronto and Cleveland, but they've lost to Washington and Atlanta. Things get interesting now, as the next 5 are against conference opponents. It starts with Portland, and Golden State could be at a bit of a disadvantage with Saric and Covington out until they get to their new team. Fortunately for Golden State, the Blazers are remarkably banged up, so things kind of even out. The Warriors have to be pleased with the resurgence of Hassan Whiteside, and if Saric and Covington acclimate well, they could be tough. Toronto finally got a glimpse of Collin Sexton in a starting role (it looked good), and they might have a really deep point guard spot once Booker inevitably gains eligibility there. Other than that, it's really been a lost year for Toronto. The Hawks are next.
Last Edit: Nov 19, 2018 18:20:11 GMT -5 by Miege22
Well, you can't say the universe doesn't even itself out. One year you win a championship because you catch all kinds of breaks, the next you're losing because guys like James Ennis, Shaq Harrison and Tyreke Evans are having their only good week of the year against you.
So...It safe to say the Swannies get blocks, steals, assists and I get threes and FT%...I think Colorado is very close to winning this weeks matchup given our players for tommorow. Not sure Augustin, Gibson and Kuzma can outscorr and outrebound Wall, Ntilikina, Trier and Temple while not tanking turnovers or FG% not to mention that Grant is still in the game getting rebounds to put this away
For the first time this season, one of the conferences got the upper hand on the other, as teams from the West were 3-1 against teams from the East. Both conferences got a little more jumbled as we fly through the season. Let's get to it.
Atlanta (5-0) over Toronto (0-5), 7-2 Last week we kicked things off with Atlanta, and it only seemed right to lead off with them again considering they are the last remaining unbeaten team in the league. The Hawks had no problem going through the injured Raptors, putting up massive winning margins in rebounds, assists, steals, and points. If there's a concern for the Hawks moving forward, it's their lack of shot blockers. The Hawks only managed 14 this past week, good enough to win over a depleted Raptors, but something to watch for moving forward. The Hawks continued to get some surprisingly great performances from veterans, as E'Twaun Moore dropped 30 and 31 in back-to-back games. The Hawks look like the team to beat in the East right now, and they'll get to test just how far along they are against the Grizzlies. We've said it before, but the Raptors were behind the 8-ball when the year started. That being said, it may be in the team's best interest to just wait out this year and see how things come together next year. De'Aaron Fox continues to impress. Collin Sexton looks like a hit. We know Devin Booker is a stud. Those three with Porzingis and Cousins make up a really good top-5. They'll need some depth, and it would help if Jaylen Brown ended up in a better situation, but there's a lot to like beneath the record. It won't get any easier going up against the Bulls, but there's hope there.
Colorado (3-2) over Boston (4-1), 6-3 The dead spots were too much to overcome for the Celtics against a Swannies team led by Anthony Davis. AD was on a mission this week, a week that included two 40-point games, as he averaged 34-14-5-1-2. The Swannies also have to be pleased with the improved rebounding from Myles Turner, and the play they're getting out of Dorian Finney-Smith and Jerami Grant. There's a lot of talent on this Colorado team. It's simply about that talent playing up to their capabilities, and they needed every last bit of that supporting cast because, as good as AD was, he was basically played to a draw by Joel Embiid (27.5-12-4.5-1-2). The difference truly was in the others, and the Celtics were unable to overcome Waiters, Bradley, Robinson and Anderson combining for zeroes across the board. Help may be on the way in the form of Monte Morris. It was a big win, though, for the Swannies since they have the Rockets up next. Boston heads to Las Vegas.
Las Vegas (2-3) over Washington (3-2), 5-4 Speaking of the Gamblers, they get our upset of the week, narrowly taking down the Wizards by 1 three and 7 points. Kyrie Irving has sprung to life for the Gamblers, putting up a 43-point, 11-assist game in the midst of an 80 point week. Meanwhile, it was Jeremy Lin's 7 threes on the week that proved to be the difference. The Gamblers also got 21 blocks combined out of Nurkic, Damian Jones and Harrell. It was a huge week for the Gamblers, jumping right back into the playoff race in the West. Now they get another Eastern Conference playoff hopeful in the Celtics. Normally, a loss like this could cause a team to go back and wonder what the heck happened. In this case, I'm not sure that's necessary. The Wizards only had Giannis for two games, and that was the difference. Sometimes, it's as simple as that. The Wizards go up against the Kansas City Kings.
Brooklyn (3-2) over Minnesota (3-2), 5-3-1 One week after the Nets failed to remove LeBron from their lineup on the last day, resulting in a punch to the gut loss against Colorado, they managed to pull off the feat and win... while missing out on LeBron's 51-point performance. It's not every day a player can put up 51 points and 6 threes, and a team can be happy to have missed out, but that's exactly what happened. Had LeBron stayed in the lineup, the Nets would have lost turnovers and free throw percentage, and the Wolves would be sitting pretty at 4-1. Instead, it's a heartbreaking loss for Minnesota in a week they almost pulled out a win despite Blake Griffin playing just one game. Two very important things have happened for the Nets lately. First, Pascal Siakam has firmly entered the discussion for Most Improved Player (17-7-3-1-1 this past week). And, second, Jaren Jackson Jr. is making his case for Rookie of the Year (16-5 w/2 steals and 2.5 blocks this week). They'll go up against the Cavaliers in week 6. Minnesota may have lost, but, as mentioned, Blake Griffin only played one game. The good news for them is James Ennis has solidified his spot in the rotation, Chris Paul and Tyreke Evans are finding their footing, and Shaq Harrison is starting to get minutes. The Wolves will be fine, and they have a chance to get back on the winning track against Seattle.
Kansas City (3-2) over Utah (2-3), 5-4 The Kings took advantage of a depleted Jazz team, and five games from KD, to get back above .500. Durant was his usual self this week, putting up 28 ppg, but he's not the story here. The story is Kemba Walker. This week started horribly for Walker. He shot 2-16 from the floor and 2-5 from the line for just 7 points on Wednesday. With just two games on the week, it looked like Walker was going to be a massive dud. Then Saturday happened. Walker EXPLODED for 60 points on 21-34 shooting, knocked down 6 threes and made all 12 of his free throws. He added 7 boards, 4 assists and 4 steals for good measure. It was the performance of the week, and it's up there for best game of the season. It's the kind of game that can take a team like the Kings from the fringes to the playoffs. Next up are the Wizards. The Jazz are staring down the barrel of a number of lost games, but scheduling luck has them going up against an even more snakebitten Portland team. If Marc Gasol and Mike Conley continue to play well, they should be able to get back to .500.
Golden State (3-2) over Portland (2-3), 7-2 Let's talk about Portland, because all of these injuries have busted the door wide open for other teams out West, and it started this past week. Golden State and Portland were locked in a close battle until Sunday when the Warriors blew past the Trailblazers, thanks to big games from Robert Covington and Enes Kanter. The Warriors could be one of those teams that benefits the most from injuries to Portland (and Utah), and they are now alone in first in the Pacific, a full game ahead of the other four teams (all of whom are 2-3). Win this week against OKC, and the pressure starts to mount on Portland or Utah (whichever team loses the war of attrition this week). The Trailblazers have to be wondering what weird juju they put out into the universe following a successful season because this year is eerily reminiscent of 16-17 when injuries derailed what should have been a great year. Dragic, Draymond, Portis, Kennard and LeVert are out for the foreseeable future. Daymeon Dotson and Cam Payne have seen their minutes dwindle. John Collins is back, but he's still on limited minutes. All is not lost in Portland, but it's teetering. Lose this week to Utah, and they'd be 0-3 in potential tiebreakers (Utah, Golden State, Memphis). 2-4 with three straight Eastern Conference playoff hopefuls on deck? It'll start to get gloomy in PDX.
Seattle (2-3) over Cleveland (0-5), 5-4 This one wasn't as close as the 5-4 score indicates. The Sonics weren't really challenged in the five categories they won. Damian Lillard was great, averaging 29-7-7 for the week (he had one game of 40-6-5). Jonathan Isaac showed signs of life late in the week, and Rudy Gobert was solid defensively as usual. However, this win was as much a product of Seattle performances as it was the Cavs simply being outmatched. Trae Young had a week to forget, as happens from time to time with rookies, and there just isn't much on the Cleveland roster to overcome that. The Sonics got bad news this week with the loss of Dillon Brooks for a while, putting him on the disabled list with Dunn and Markannen. It seems unlikely the Sonics will be able to beat Minnesota, but, hey, you never know. The Cavs take on Brooklyn.
Chicago (3-2) over Orlando (1-4), 6-3 If there's a team that has to be thrilled about this past week, it's these Chicago Bulls. Only one game of Andre Drummond, against an opponent with a deep frontcourt, and the Bulls still came away with a convincing win to cement their place in the playoff race. Nikola Vucevic had a huge week for the Bulls (28-10-4 with 2 threes per game), hitting the 30-point mark twice. TJ Warren has scored 20 or more in 5 straight games, and Trey Burke dropped 31 on Sunday. D'Angelo Russell looked really good with more playmaking duties on his shoulders. Things are breaking right for the Bulls, who get Toronto next. Five weeks in, and Orlando has reached a crossroads. After a season-opening win against Las Vegas, the Magic looked like a team that was definitely going to be reckoned with as the season came to a close. They've lost all four of their games since then, two of which came against fellow EC playoff hopefuls, and their next two are against Tampa Bay and Boston. At this point, the reality of the situation is that these next two games are absolutely must wins. 1-1 isn't likely to cut it in an improved Eastern Conference.
Memphis (4-1) over Oklahoma City (1-4), 6-3 The Thunder did what they could, but they just didn't have the firepower to keep pace with Memphis, despite the Grizzlies' injuries. Paul George was simply incredible with Westbrook sidelined (33-9-4-2-1 per game). Bogdan Bogdanovic is back and playing well, which is a welcome sign considering there are still some hit or miss players on the roster (see: Jeff Teague). The match-up against Atlanta this week is going to be absolutely fascinating, particularly if Oladipo misses the whole week. The Thunder continue to battle, and they have to be encouraged by the fact that Butler has been just as good in his new digs. Luka Doncic continues to lead the ROY race, and his consistency has been remarkable for a rookie. The season is not over yet for OKC. Win this week against Golden State, and it sets up a massive week 7 game with Minnesota. Pull out a win there, and you're looking at .500 against Cleveland. With the injuries facing Utah and Portland, there's still hope here.
Houston (4-1) over Tampa Bay (2-3), 7-2 This match-up was D.O.A with Russ Westbrook out all week. Even if he was back, Houston likely would have won anyway. Kawhi, Jokic, Jrue, and DeMar were their usual productive selves. Rudy Gay and Jabari Parker sprung to life. And Emmanuel Mudiay is finally getting minutes. It's looking more and more likely that the week 12 match-up between Houston and Memphis will decide the top seed in the West. Tampa Bay begins the most important stretch of their season, starting with their game against Orlando. Their next 3 are against division opponents Orlando, Colorado and Atlanta. This stretch will likely determine their playoff hopes, so it's imperative that Russ make it back.
Last Edit: Nov 26, 2018 14:49:25 GMT -5 by Miege22
Miege22: Had to start spending my own money on them haha
Jul 28, 2018 13:58:53 GMT -5
teefbe: Since Minny decided quickly on re=signs and player options are we going to move up free agency like last year or it stays on 12th?
Jul 30, 2018 16:15:50 GMT -5
Miege22: I've created a poll on the topic. Moving up FA is harder to do than the draft because it impacts everyone. If even one owner is not on board with moving it up, we'll leave it to start on the 12t
Jul 30, 2018 16:34:19 GMT -5
Cleveland Cavaliers: Are you a contender? Do you need another solid contributor for your squad on literally the cheapest deal possible? Well you're in luck, Allen Crabbe is your man! For the low cost of a 2019 draft pick that won't be high cuz you're a contender
Aug 1, 2018 12:45:56 GMT -5
Cleveland Cavaliers: This offer will only be available for like the next 8 hours or some shit so act now!
Aug 1, 2018 12:46:29 GMT -5
Cleveland Cavaliers: Also Dewayne Dedmon $250,000 ('20) available for a pick
Aug 1, 2018 15:20:04 GMT -5
HawkEye: Free Boban!!!
Oct 18, 2018 7:13:03 GMT -5
teefbe: crazy week1 matchup between me and Seattle
Oct 21, 2018 18:52:56 GMT -5
HawkEye: I won 5-4 vs Colorado by only .02% of FT%
Oct 22, 2018 7:13:22 GMT -5
HawkEye: Correction, it's .2% or .002 of FT%
Oct 22, 2018 7:21:25 GMT -5
zephyr: does anyone know when espn is going to add position eligibility?
Nov 12, 2018 17:22:43 GMT -5
Miege22: They added PG eligibility for Bryn Forbes last week. I think they just kind of do it gradually
Nov 12, 2018 19:07:31 GMT -5
zephyr: great -- thanks!
Nov 13, 2018 8:41:24 GMT -5
zephyr: landry shamet's at 21.1 mpg for the season -- does that mean toronto has to make a decision on activating him from d-league?
Nov 27, 2018 11:30:31 GMT -5
Miege22: I think we need to go a little longer on the d-league signees, all of them, this year. 20 games isnt' a huge sample size, and a few low or no minute games can drastically impact those averages.
Nov 27, 2018 11:38:06 GMT -5
Miege22: I don't think a decision needs to be made until the last week of our season.
Nov 27, 2018 11:38:18 GMT -5