It’s been a tough season to say the least. If you were to come up to me before the season and say, “I know you’re going to think I’m crazy but I really think the Nuggets are going to be good this season, good enough to beat the Houston Rockets twice.” I would’ve slapped you for two reasons. The first being, the only good nuggets that exist in this world come from Chik-Fil-A. Never on the court. Lastly, Houston doesn’t lose to Denver.. it just doesn’t happen.
Twice… twice people twice. Alright let’s move on, the tears are starting to come down. WHY MUDIAY, WHY!? WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN!?
Excuse me, it’s just when you lose twice to the team your prized off season acquisition previously played for.. I’m sorry not lose but, GET RAN OFF THE COURT. It’s tough not to get emotional. But you know what? Today marks a new day. Houston fans, today is the day we sit down, come to peace with our defeats and move on. But before we do, let’s visit the loss column and weave out the Contenders from the Pretenders. And by Contenders, of course we mean for a playoff spot.
PRETENDER. Alright, alright I get it. They destroyed the Rockets twice. Cute, very cute. But let’s think rationally here. I love what Michael Malone has done with this organization. He’s swam into the depths of the Pacific Ocean and has carried a dumpster fire organization to shore giving it a life full of hope.
Kenneth Faried looks great through twelve games playing like the Manimal he once was. The young back court duo of Gary Harris and Emmanuel Mudiay has shown a lot of promise. Will Barton has been stellar off the bench and Danilo Gallinari has been bullying under sized wings on his way towards the basket on most nights.
They’re the Orlando Magic of the West but sadly, to make the playoffs out west you have to be great. Hopefully a continental shift occurs sending the state of Colorado out East where you only have to be good to make the playoffs.
Golden State Warriors
CONTENDER. WINNER. CHAMPS. AWESOME. CHEAT CODE. On a night where Chris Paul was vintage Chris Paul and not Cliff Paul, the Warriors still managed to win while overcoming a 23 point deficit and covering a 7 point spread.
Yeah Blake, same here.
CONTENDER. The Heat have been suffocating offenses all season long with their hyper aggressive trap the ball handler defense. Hassan Whiteside has emerged as a premier post man in today’s game while rejecting every single thing at the rim as if he was some anti virus program. Miami has a deep and versatile roster that can match up with just about anybody in the league. The only concern surrounding this team come playoff time is will there be enough consistent perimeter shooting?
PRETENDER. If theirs one positive the Nets can take from this season thus far is that they were participants in the prestigious first annual “0-7 Bowl”. Unfortunately they came out as losers to the Lakers.http://zippy.gfycat.com/RectangularMindlessIndri.webm
Hang in there Lionel, 80 more games to go.
Alright let me take a step back. They’re not title contenders but they’re definitely a team that is well within the playoff picture in a loaded West. How?
Here’s the thing, when ever you have Jim Carey as your coach almost anything is possible. The Mavericks are just smart. They turn the ball over at a low rate of 13 per game, they stay solid and don’t gamble on defense while operating in a free flowing offensive system that’s hard to guard. And some way some how Dirk Nowitzki is still “Dirkin” defenders at the age of 37.
CONTENDER. Brad Stevens is a coach who gets it. The season is an 82 game marathon, not a sprint. When a lineup isn’t working, adjustments need to be made. Developing young talent by giving them time on the court is a necessity. As simple as this sounds, simply put not a lot of coaches get it. The Celtics are a roster full of young feisty players looking to prove their selves night in and night out.
Quite often you hear the media say, “There’s not a single star on that Boston team.” well guess what, the players hear it too. This is what drives this young team to play harder than their opposition each and every single night. Boston’s plethora of defensive hounds at the guard position is the driving force of a defense that has consistently been in the top three this season in terms of points allowed per 100 possessions. Currently sitting at the top with San Antonio giving up 95 points per 100 possessions (per ESPN).
New York Knicks
CONTENDER. Good Lord what is going on in this world. I called the Mavericks a good team and now I’m considering the New York Knicks as a contender? Quick, somebody grab the Advil I think I’m losing it.
Theirs only one explanation for this phenomenon. Two verbs. KRISTAPS PORZINGIS. The City’s Hero has taken the league by storm one put back at a time and like Jimmy Butler he has no plans on looking back at the boo’s he was showered with on draft night. Instead, all 7’3″ of Porzingis has embraced the Madison Square Garden lights and has brought hope to what was once a dead beat franchise. ALL HAIL KRISTAPS!
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CONTENDER. Let’s not overreact here, yes the Grizzlies are off to a shaky start but I highly doubt a veteran core who has been together for quite some time now will remain in shambles.
The consensus here is that Memphis’s grit and grind style will no longer work in a league transitioning to a smaller and faster style of basketball.
Over a season’s period of time how many teams will actually be able to maintain a rapid pace without feeling some fatigue in their legs come post season?
Make sure you catch up on our entire Team Preview Series, our Houston Rockets Player Profile Series as well as our SCS Round Table Sessions to help you get through the early season. Start your morning with SCS Rocket Science Daily and visit us throughout the day to keep abreast of all your Houston Rockets news and updates.