The Nets Are Not Complete.
After an explosive offseason with the signings of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, but they’re not where they expected to be. Kevin Durant is expected to be sidelined for the entire 2019-2020 season after his Achilles injury during the 2019 NBA Finals. Brooklyn fans will get to see one of their stars this season with Irving, and he carried the team on his back in game 1 against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The first quarter of this game was a back-and-forth battle between the two teams, with the Timberwolves having an 11 point advantage at 33-22 at the end of the first quarter. A 37-point performance in the 3rd quarter would give Brooklyn a 93-88 lead at the end of the third quarter. But Minnesota fought back in the 4th quarter would force overtime. Irving’s 50 point performance would not be enough as his hail-mary shot at the buzzer came up just short and the Wolves snuck away with the victory. The Nets would get the narrow victory against the Knicks at 113-109 after a clutch 3-pointer by Irving to erase a late lead by the Knicks. There’s no doubt the Nets will be stronger once they have a duo of a healthy Durant and Irving, and no one is expecting them to make a title run this season, but if they want to contend and be a playoff team, they’re gonna need better shooting (from players not named Kyrie Irving) and all-around better defense.
The Warriors Need Help, Fast.
With Klay Thompson being out for the year with an ACL tear combined with the loss of Kevin Durant, the Warriors were left with some questions regarding their offense, and those questions were made obvious in their home-opener against the Clippers. The Clippers dominated with a 141-122 victory, including an explosive 46-point third quarter. The Clippers shot 62.5% from the field and 56.3% from three, compared to the Warriors 39.4% and 35.7%. And to make matters worse, the Warriors got embarrassed by OKC on Sunday, scoring only 17 points in the second quarter, giving them a 70-37 halftime deficit. Their shooting woes only got worse in this game, shooting 32.6% from the field and 15.2% from three. It’s clear an obvious that the Warriors need a lot of help. Their team has a lot of holes on both offense and defense, and they can no longer rely on Steph Curry’s shooting ability (or lack thereof so far) to carry them to wins. The NBA dynasty Warriors are 0-2 to start the season and in a conference full of power teams like Houston and the Clippers, they’re going to have to make some serious roster changes.
The Sixers Look Strong Except For One Thing.
With the loss of Jimmy Butler and signing of Al Horford, the Sixers looked to redeem themselves after a devastating end to their 2019 season (still don’t know how that shot went in). They started their much-anticipated season against their rival the Boston Celtics, and after a strong pre-season performance, they were hungry for a win. This game was close in the first half, with each team taking turns with the lead. But a strong 3rd quarter, particularly by Ben Simmons, would push Philly to victory. The Sixers found themselves in the same position in their game against Detroit on Saturday. Detroit would be without Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond in this matchup, but the Sixers would be without big man Joel Embiid, and with that, they would find themselves down double digits to a depleted Pistons team. But yet again, another strong performance in the third quarter, but this time by Tobias Harris, would help the Sixers come back and improve to 2-0. The biggest factors in these two wins are the impressive defense by rookie Matisse Thybulle (who had Kemba Walker in his feelings on Wednesday), and the “next man up” mentality of this offense. With Embiid having shortened minutes against the Celtics and being benched against the Pistons, Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris took the game into their own hands and helped carry their squad without arguably their best player. Despite all the positives, the biggest negative with this team so far is the 3-point shooting percentages. Philly shot 24% from three against Boston and had poor 3-point (and overall) shooting in the first half against Detroit. Mike Scott and Harris were able to pick up the pace and bring the team’s shooting percentage to 38.2% against Detroit (not great, but better). This team is good all around, and if they can continue to pick up their shooting percentages, they will be absolutely lethal.
What Is Going On With The Phoenix Suns?
The Phoenix Suns have been the laughing stock of the NBA for the past few seasons, but they look determined to change their reputation. The NBA world was stunned on Wednesday night when the Suns handily beat the Sacramento Kings 124-95, shooting 50% from the field. The Suns continued to show their worth against Detroit, only losing by one point in overtime despite the loss of Deandre Ayton who is facing a drug suspension. The Suns stunned the NBA world yet again on Saturday night after beating the Clippers (who were 10 point favorites) 130-122. Phoenix again shot 50% from the field, with 6 players scoring in double digits. Phoenix now sits at 2-1 and at the top of the Pacific division and 5th overall in the Western Conference. It’s too early. to tell if these performances are flukes or if the Suns are the real deal. But they have without a doubt made a statement with 2 impressive wins and even an impressive loss. The Suns’ next 5 games are against the Jazz, against the Warriors, against the Grizzlies, and 2 home games against the Sixers and the Heat. If they can go at least 3-2 in these next 5 games, NBA fans should keep their eyes on this team.
The Raptors Need Support.
The defending champs are off to a bit of a shaky start. The Raptors are without a doubt not as strong as they were last season with the departure of Kawhi Leonard, but it’s safe to say no expected them to struggle as much as they have been. Toronto snuck away with an overtime victory against the now 0-3 Pelicans. The Raptors had to play catch-up in the second half, which led to a back-and-forth battle between the two teams. They allowed New Orleans to shoot 42% from the field and 42% from three. But the momentum from this sneaky victory wouldn’t carry over in their matchup against the Celtics where they lost 112-106 after allowing Boston to rally. The shooting wasn’t the problem in this game, with the Raptors shooting 50% from 3 and 47.4% from the field, but the lack of hustle from the defense served as the biggest issue. Now, there’s no reason to hit the panic button yet. The Raptors are still a playoff team, but their lack of defense and inconsistent shooting in late-game situations may be what separates them from being a home-court team or a 5 to 8 seed in the playoffs. Again, it’s extremely early, but in the modern NBA where strong shooting and fast-moving offenses run the show, the Raptors want to make sure they don’t fall behind early because they might not be able to recover.