Three days of NBA action are in the books and every team has played at least one game. It came and went in a hurry, but that’s one of the reasons we love it. While I haven’t seen every team play, I have watched probably a little too much basketball (is there such thing as too much basketball?) for it being A) not my job and B) right in the middle of the week.
While we’re mostly obsessed with the Detroit Pistons, it never hurts to take a closer look at the competition. Here are some notes from around the NBA.
Chicago Bulls at Toronto Raptors
The Bulls game on Thursday night felt a bit like a 3-seed vs. 14-seed match-up you’d see in the NCAA tournament. There was fight in the 14-seeded Bulls, but just not enough overall talent (or power forwards thanks to Bobby Portis) to do much of anything. Mainly, I tuned in to see how former Oakland University and recently traded, waived and then signed point guard Kay Felder would play for the Bulls. Felder is never one to be shy (or lack confidence) and he sure wasn’t, putting up nine shots in 16 minutes. With the Bulls lacking any kind of competent point guard play, Felder will get a fair shake there. If he can’t impress in that situation, then it’s likely he’s just not capable of being a rotation-caliber guard in this league.
On the Toronto side, they didn’t have a particularly smooth evening from Kyle Lowry or DeMar DeRozan (total of 6-of-16 from the field), yet they didn’t need to with all of their firepower coming from the bench and noted Andre Drummond eater Jonas Valanciunas. CJ Miles, Norman Powell and Delon Wright all had strong shooting games. The Raptors crowd really loves Miles’ clean lefty stroke and their announcers do, too. They also couldn’t get enough of rookie forward O.G. Anunoby, who very much looked like he belongs. Not many thought he’d be ready to contribute right away.
Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics
I’m sure you all didn’t miss this Giannis Antetokounmpo flush from Wednesday’s Bucks at Celtics tilt —
Giannis Antetokounmpo destroza a Baynes en el TOP10 - https://t.co/Uxr8mueh28 pic.twitter.com/YdrFQAJcWS— Juan Pedro Belmonte (@JuanPe_BG) October 19, 2017
In video form, check it out. Rough night for Aron Baynes.
The Celtics (0-2) will still win a lot of games this season even though Gordon Hayward is out, but they direly need Marcus Morris back healthy so some of the offensive stress can be lifted from the talented but a little overwhelmed rookie Jayson Tatum, among others.
The Los Angeles Clippers are going to be a problem - a very good problem. It was just one game against the listless and disorganized Lakers late Thursday, but the Clip Show’s performance had Charles Barkley saying they’d be in the Western Conference Finals this season. I wouldn’t go that far - though their offense did have a different hum to it now that Chris Paul isn’t running things. Probably a good word to call it would be versatile, even unpredictable.
DeAndre Jordan is 4-of-4 from the free throw line so far. That means he and Andre are both perfect from there this season.
Blake Griffin looked like a low-key pick for MVP. He made Julius Randle look pretty average.
Clippers’ point guard Patrick Beverley made rookie Lonzo Ball’s NBA debut one to remember, but not for all the right reasons if you are a Lakers fan or, say, a member of the Ball family. Patrick bodied Lonzo up at every opportunity and generally made the rookie wish he was still at UCLA. Beverley also at least on two occasions that I saw reminded the Lakers crowd that he is indeed a first-team NBA defender. The Clippers defense as a whole was on point.
#Lakers Lonzo Ball running a pick&roll between #Clippers Patrick Beverley and DeAndre Jordan. pic.twitter.com/YzlFG59m7O— Mateusz Babiarz (@matbabiarz) October 20, 2017
Andrew Bogut probably shouldn’t be on an NBA roster. Looked very slow out there. Accidentally blocked two shots mostly because he’s not short.
Also, I still don’t care about Lonzo Ball’s dad or about what he may have said.
Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets
The Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets both look to be starting off on the right foot in their quest to actually challenge the Golden State Warriors in the West. Russell Westbrook, dare I say, looked under control and content with being a point guard. He has lethal weapons now and he might just be up for using them. The Rockets will only improve as Chris Paul and James Harden get more used to each other. Clint Capela won’t have much of a reason not to love life.
Not to leave the San Antonio Spurs out, it’s just that I need to watch more San Antonio Spurs games. I think most of us could say the same thing.
UPCOMING NON-PISTONS GAMES OF NOTE
Friday, October 20th: Cavaliers AT Bucks, Celtics AT 76ers, Lakers AT Suns (if you like process teams)
Saturday, October 21st: Kings AT Nuggets (Jokic! Fox!)
Sunday, October 22nd: Timberwolves AT Thunder
What are your thoughts on the NBA action through the first three nights? Let us know in the comments.