Welcome one and all to my second edition of the association examination. The first full week of NBA action was a good one. Here are my takeaways from what went down.
Players of the week
Kawhi Leonard– Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge are the youth that are going to keep the Spurs good going into the future. San Antonio went 3-1 this week thanks to these two guys. Leonard had 19 points on Sunday, 18 points and 14 rebounds on Monday, 22 points and 9 rebounds on Wednesday and 23 points on Saturday.
LaMarcus Aldridge– Aldridge is finally starting to look comfortable with his new Spurs team. He had 24 points and 14 rebounds on Sunday, 19 points on Monday, 10 points and 14 rebounds on Wednesday and 16 points on Saturday
Russell Westbrook– Westbrook had 15 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists on Sunday; 25 points, 8 rebounds and 11 assists on Monday; 22 points and 16 assists on Wednesday and 20 points and 10 assists on Thursday. He just Westbrook being Westbrook this week, flying all over the floor making plays, hitting shots and being impossible to stop in transition. The Thunder still went 1-3 this week, which was surprising.
Evan Fournier– I never thought I’d be writing Fournier’s name as a top player of the week, but here I am. For those of you who don’t know who he is, here’s a short bio: He’s from France and started his professional career there before signing with the Denver Nuggets. He didn’t do too much in Denver. My only memory of him was that he was the only player to ever play in the NBA donning number 94. Anyway, he was traded to the Magic last year, and that’s where he started to blossom before noticeably improving this year. He had 19 points on Sunday, 30 points — a career high — on Tuesday, 29 points Wednesday, struggled Friday with only 11 points and then rebounded with 17 points on Saturday. He’s playing like the Magic’s best player and taking the most shots per game. Orlando went 3-2 this week.
Blake Griffin– Griffin has played well in every game so far this season. He had 22 points and 10 rebounds Monday night, 23 points and 10 rebounds on Wednesday night and 35 points and 11 rebounds to finish off his big week on Saturday. The Clippers only went 1-2 this week, though, because they matched up with the Warriors and the Rockets, led by red-hot James Harden.
LeBron James– King James became the youngest player to reach 25,000 career points on Monday night in Philadelphia. The 76ers fans gave LeBron a standing ovation, marking the first time in history that any Philadelphia fan has cheered for an opposing player. James nearly recorded a triple-double on Monday with 22 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds. He came back with 23 points on Wednesday and 31 points and 13 assists on Friday. When LeBron spreads the ball around like he did Friday, it’s just fun to watch and great for his team. It’s hard to beat the Cavs when LeBron is on his game. The Cavs went 3-0 this week, probably because they got to play the 76ers twice.
Games of the week
Clippers at Warriors, Wednesday Nov. 4– It’s always fun when these two rivals face off. The games always seem to be close and the players are always ready to get physical, if needed. Steph Curry had another big night with 31 points and Chris Paul went off for the Clippers with 24 points and 19 assists. What’s crazy about this game is that both Clippers’ big men, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin, had double-doubles — yet they couldn’t come away with a win. This speaks volumes to who the Warriors are as a team. Even if their opponent goes off, they can still get the win. This is mostly in part thanks to Curry, who scored 179 points in his first five games this season. That’s the most through the first five games that have ever been scored since Michael Jordan had 182 in the 1991-92 season.
Spurs at Wizards, Wednesday Nov. 4– This game gets recognition because of Bradley Beal. There’s been a lot of talk about Beal and if he’s the real deal or not. I hate the fact that negativity is being thrown at him right now while he and John Wall are just trying to focus and get the Wizards to a championship in the near future. He went off for 25 points Wednesday, including the game winning three-pointer over Kawhi Leonard who, by the way, is the reigning NBA defender of the year. Beal is the real deal. Wall also had a big night with 17 points and 13 assists, and it was just a good overall win by Washington.
Nuggets at Lakers, Tuesday Nov. 3– Prior to this game, head coach Mark Brown finally built up enough courage to confront Kobe Bryant on his shot selection. He specifically told him to limit how many three-pointers he takes. Kobe ended up shooting five three-pointers and only hit one of them. He also air-balled three times from within the arc. Probably not the best start at trying to calm down, Kobe. The Lakers weren’t great on offense, but the Nuggets made sure to keep them in the game by fouling Los Angeles seemingly every time a player attempted a three-pointer. They fouled the Lakers five times when they were shooting a deep ball. I can’t remember ever seeing a team mess up like that in one game before. Kenneth Faried had a monster night, scoring 28 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. Jordan Clarkson had a big night for the Lakers, scoring 30 points, which ties his career high. He’s really developing into a star for this team. He was 4-for-6 from deep while the rest of his team went 2-for-20.
Sorrowful Squads: Worst performances of the week
The Grizzlies on Monday night– Saying that the Grizzlies’ offense has started off inconsistently would be a huge understatement. Monday night, they lost to the Warriors by a whopping 50 points. Memphis shot 27% from the field and 13% from deep while being outscored 72-27 over the second and third quarters en route to the worst defeat in franchise history. Another stat that blew my mind was that the Warriors out-rebounded the Grizzlies by 21. Memphis has a better frontcourt with Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, yet just couldn’t control the boards. Nothing was going their way.
Pelicans and Nets– Both teams still have not won a game yet. I know that the Nets were supposed to be bad, but I expected a lot more from the Pelicans. Good luck to Anthony Davis as he attempts to pull along the Pelicans’ dead weight once again this season.
Best performances of the week
Andre Drummond Tuesday night– Drummond went off for 25 points and 29 rebounds against the Pacers, yet Detroit still lost by 12 points. Drummond, being a team player, was absolutely beside himself after the game. While his teammates showered in the locker room, Drummond just sat motionless in front of his locker with a towel covering his face. As of now, he’s averaging 20 rebounds a game and is well on his way to a record if he keeps it up.
The Hornets on Tuesday night– After Charlotte struggled in their first few games this season, the Hornets’ offense finally exploded on Tuesday night. They made 14-of-23 shots from deep and had seven players score in double figures. Everything was going for the Hornets, even their mascot made a crazy no-look, one-handed shot from half-court during the fourth quarter. Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg called the game a “complete domination” as the Hornets went on to win 130-105.
James Harden– At the beginning of the week, Harden and the Rockets were struggling. They lost to the Heat by 20 on Sunday, and Harden only scored 16 points on 2-of-15 shooting — including going 0-for-10 from three-point range. He rebounded on Monday with a 37-point outing and got the Rockets their first win of the season. He exploded on Friday and Saturday for a combined 89 points and two more wins for Houston. It looks like he has finally found his rhythm.
Edited by Nathan Odom