The Eastern Conference has four teams up top with a 5-1 record
It’s been an interesting start to the season so far for the Eastern Conference, and now there’s a four-way tie for the best record in the division thanks to an unlikely start to the season.
This four-way tie involves the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, New York Knicks and Washington Wizards. All of them have a 5-1 start record over their first six games, and there aren’t many of us who would have thought this possible heading into this campaign.
Miami in particular are rolling right now, and their average point differential is currently +17.
DeMar DeRozan atones for his airball against the Knicks with a big game against the Jazz
DeMar DeRozan was unhappy with himself for missing a potential game-winner against the Knicks by having a monster game against the Utah Jazz, who were heading into the contest with an undefeated record at 4-0. He dropped 32 points, 6 assists an 3 assists with a lone turnover. Zach LaVine also had himself a good game with 26 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists with no turnovers. Nikola Vucevic handled business with 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Lonzo Ball had 11 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and made up for his 4 turnovers with 4 steals.
Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz with 30 points, but only made 9 of 27 shots, including 2 of 11 from three. He also made 10 of 10 free throws, but it’s hard for the Jazz to survive a game when he shoots that badly. The Bulls will be happy with the victory as they’re now 1-1 in their brutal schedule, which for the next while sees them take on the league’s heavy-hitters.
The Heat lay the smackdown on the Grizzlies
Jimmy Butler and the Heat really aren’t fucking around to start the season. They continued their winning ways by dominating the Grizzlies in a 129-103 rout that was even more surprising because Bam Adebayo didn’t suit up because of a knee bruise.
Jimmy Buckets finished with 27 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals while shooting 8 of 12 from the field and 10 of 11 from the charity stripe. Kyle Lowry had 15 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 steals with 4 turnovers while Duncan Robinson contributed 15 points and 5 rebounds. Tyler Herro came off the bench to provide that strong scoring option again and finished with 22 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists on 8 of 19 shooting (4 of 8 from three).
RJ Barrett hits a career-high 35 points against the Pelicans
The Knicks fought a spirited Pelicans team today, and got a monster game from third-year man RJ Barrett who had 35 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists on an ultra-efficient 12 of 18 from the field and 6 of 8 from deep. He’s been waiting for a game like this and it will only boost his confidence moving forward. His 35-bomb today was his career high.
Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier both had 19 points in the win, and Barrett’s explosion help offset a relatively quiet night from Knicks star Julius Randle, who had 10 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists.
If Barrett can build on this kind of performance throughout the season, the Knicks are going to be a hard out for any team in the league. His performance helped offset a strong night from Jonas Valanciunas, who led the Pelicans with 27 points, 14 rebounds and 4 assists.
The Wizards take down the Celtics in double OT
The Boston Celtics are making a habit of being involved in overtime games, starting with their double OT loss against the Knicks, a victory against the Hornets, and now another double OT loss against the Wizards – where 61 points from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were not enough.
Bradley Beal dropped 36 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and a block but struggled from the field as he made only 12 of his 32 shots. Spencer Dinwiddie had 20 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists.
The Wizards are pretty happy with the players that they received for Russell Westbrook so far as the continue their strong start to the season. Today, Montrezl Harrell and Kyle Kuzma combined for 37 points and 31 rebounds. This is the fourth-straight game where Harrell has poured in at least 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Nikola Jokic has bounced back from his injury
Nikola Jokic deserved his MVP award from last season, and today he again showed how important he is to the Nuggets in a close 93-91 victory. The stoic Serbian had another monster statline with 26 points, 19 rebounds, 7 assists, a steal and 3 blocks. His 7 turnovers can be forgiven with his overall contribution, plus he made two free throws with 1:25 left that gave the Nuggets just enough cushion to survive. He did have two of his turnovers in the last 36.3 seconds of the game, but the Timberwolves were unable to capitalize.
The Warriors are back on top in the Western Conference
The Warriors showed an over-reliance on Steph Curry in their loss to the Grizzlies the other day, but used a far more balanced approach to their 103-82 victory against the Thunder today. Curry had 20 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists to lead them, but also got 14 points apiece from Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole. Green, in particular, was their best player on the floor as he also added 11 rebounds, 8 assists and a block to his points.
The win puts them back on top in the Western Conference with a 5-1 record.
The defending champs continue to be inconsistent
The Bucks had another surprising loss today, this time at home against the struggling Spurs. Dejounte Murray helped Greg Popovich get a little closer to his goal of becoming the coach with the most wins in NBA history thanks to 23 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists and 3 steals. Bryn Forbes also made his old team suffer with 16 points off the bench for San Antonio.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had another efficient night with 28 points, 13 rebounds and 3 steals, but Khris Middleton couldn’t help enough with 19 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals while shooting 8 of 21 from the field.