By Tre’ Smith
Hip Hop Vibe Staff Writer
Game time is starting and more teams are in action. This season had a pretty big storyline laid out, but the Toronto Raptors have stolen the show with their best start in franchise history. Locally, fans in North Carolina have been disappointed in how the Charlotte Hornets have played, since they changed history to get the team back.
But, the Memphis Grizzlies have established themselves as one of the NBA’s best teams out West, alongside the Golden State Warriors. These are two teams that have beat up on our Hornets early in the season. All in all, the NBA season has been entertaining, as LeBron James tries to fit in with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Miami Heat pick up the pieces.
The defending NBA champions, San Antonio Spurs, have been quiet to start the season, but should pick up as the season goes on. Many teams are struggling, but the good news is that the season is long, so some teams should be able to turn around. But, check out the top five storylines for this week.
Note: All reviews are as of November 17, 2014
1. News flash: The Toronto Raptors are pretty doggone good…
The Drakes sit atop the Eastern Conference with an 8-2 record, along with the best point differential (9.6) among the 15 teams in it. Granted, it could be buoyed by playing seven games at home (and a 6-1 record during those games) and the Raptors are 25th in rebounds per game, let’s be real. In a weak Atlantic Division (there is no other team above .500) it’s almost certain Toronto will win back-to-back division titles and hold home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs at least.
2. …but the Memphis Grizzlies are better though
Grit and grind indeed. The Grizzlies are an NBA-best 10-1 and just came off a 119-93 shellacking of the now 9-2 Houston Rockets Monday night. The Grizzlies have won 20 consecutive home games and are holding opponents to a stingy 91.5 points per contest. That 93-92 loss to Milwaukee on Nov. 8 gets more and more perplexing by the day, but with a road game against Toronto Wednesday, it’s safe to say Memphis isn’t really concerned.
3. If the playoffs started today…
I know, teams have only played nine to 12 games this season, but here would be the matchups:
No. 1 Toronto vs. No. 8 Orlando
No. 2 Washington vs. No. 7 Milwaukee
No. 3 Chicago vs. No. 6 Miami
No. 4 Cleveland vs. No. 5 Atlanta
No. 1 Memphis vs. No. 8 L.A. Clippers
No. 2 Houston vs. No. 7 San Antonio
No. 3 Golden State vs. No. 6 Sacramento
No. 4 Portland vs. No. 5 Dallas
Sign me up now for the West. Other than the 3-6 matchup, wake me up for the semifinals in the East.
4. Well, let’s start the Kobe scoring watch
Let’s be honest: the Lakers aren’t making the playoffs this year unless they improve on that sieve of a defense, which is last in the league allowing 112.1 points per game, and everyone in the West loses their top three players. Still, Kobe Bryant is averaging 27.3 points per game, and with 31,973 in his career, he’s 330 away from passing Michael Jordan for third all-time in the NBA. At his current pace, Bryant will set the mark on Dec. 12 against the San Antonio Spurs in a televised Friday night game on ESPN. Good call.
5. Will Philadelphia prosper this week?
The Sixers play at home against Boston Wednesday and Phoenix Friday, with a matchup in Madison Square Garden against New York Saturday. If Philly loses all three, the team will fall to 0-13 and will be within reach of the worst start of all time. The 2009-10 New Jersey Nets (now Brooklyn) lost their first 18 contests.
Follow Tre’ Smith on Twitter @MicrowaveNC.