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Around the NBA in five minutes or less

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Analyzing what we’ve seen through the first eighth of the season

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA is simply the best professional sports league in the world (yes, I checked around), and unsurprisingly there’s quite a lot to cover lately - so while we’re mostly obsessed with the Detroit Pistons here, it never hurts to take a closer look at the competition. Here are some notes from around the NBA.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers beat the Pacers Friday night for their fourth straight victory. Ben Simmons is a human highlight reel and Joel Embiid keeps on putting up strong lines despite his high turnover numbers. I’m seeing more and more overt cockiness from this team as the wins pile up. Despite my adoration for Embiid’s game, I can’t stand him or the team, really. Say, DBB’ers, would you unite with me in hating the 76ers before they get really good? The December 2nd Pistons v. 76ers ‘round two’ should be a dandy.

Boston Celtics

As I write this, the Celtics have the best record in the NBA (after a big come from behind win against the Thunder on Friday, their seventh straight win) and Marcus Morris has just played in his first game for them. Seems he’s gotten off to a solid start:

Washington Wizards

After Bradley Beal and John Wall ran their mouths Friday that, among other things, the Wizards are the team to beat in the East, the very same day LeBron James puts them in their rightful place with a 57-point performance in a win in Washington DC.

Miami Heat

At 3-5, the Heat are obviously struggling, and they have five road games left on their six-game road trip (which by the way ends at Detroit on November, 12th). Though, at least some good news is that Hassan Whiteside has returned to the lineup after missing several games with a left knee bone bruise.

Yet, there’s more bad news from Friday night:

New York Knicks

I won’t go into a fake frenzy over the 4-4 Knicks, but they are kinda fun, in a way. It’s mostly just because Kristaps Porzingis is growing up before our very eyes. And, I guess, because they seem to be just a bit too good to be any good at this tanking thing. Sounds familiar.

Here’s Doug McDermott not being very much like Doug McDermott.

A closer look:

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Ricky Rubio

Ricky on Wednesday scored 30 points and dished out only one assist. That lone assist was to Donovan Mitchell.

Anyway, Ricky is playing the best ball of his career so far according to the stat sheet and the eye test. He’s still playing quality defense, too. Well Detroit, you maybe, probably, should have made that Rubio trade last season. Anyway, the Utah Jazz couldn’t be happier to have him.

Donovan Mitchell

This Donovan Mitchell guy isn’t shy about getting his shots up and now he’s getting a little better at getting those shots in. The last two games he’s scored 53 on 41 shots (7-for-17 from three). Pointzz Pleazze.

But it’s how he gets them:

Denver Nuggets

After a slow start, the Nuggs have picked it up some and are now over .500 (although could be short lived with the Warriors next on Saturday night). And what do you know, third-year guard Emmanuel Mudiay is showing signs of being something very productive in the league. His overall shooting numbers are still down for a guard, but compared to last season he’s turning the ball over less and scoring more efficiently closer to the basket. Plus, his frightful career shooting from deep has taken a huge jump, now over 45-percent (10-for-22), in fact.

Manu Ginobili

Manu is 40 years old and is looking pretty damn good. I can only hope when I’m 40 that I’m still able to stay awake late enough during Pistons games to troll around on DBB with the best of them. ;)

Steve Kerr

Awe. It’s like those cute puppy or kitten videos you forward to your mom. Just have to share it.

P.S. Hey, I finally got it! The reason the Warriors lost to the Pistons was because their rookie forward Jordan Bell was inactive. If there’s one given about Bell’s game, it’s that he always goes hard. And he’s pretty good too.

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Enjoy the NBA, folks!