The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Week 1

Each week I will do a review of last week’s NBA games and a preview of the week ahead, focusing on things I found interesting, interesting less and plain disturbing.

 

 The Good

Houston Rockets

Best team of the week no doubt. 3 – 0 both ATS and SU Wise. 14.3 the margin of wins (biggest in the league for teams that played 3+ games). I’m not ready yet to go back on my prediction of Rockets poor season and their poor defense, but 5th in defensive efficiency, allowing 90, 93 and 90 points – things looking good in the first week for them.
One thing to point out though – they faced Utah, LA Lakers and Boston – three of the bottom 5 – 10 teams in the league. This week, after playing Sixers, they face Heat (on the road), Spurs and GS (at home) – this will be their big test.

Dallas Mavericks

3 – 0 ATS and 2 – 1 SU, losing by 1 points to the Spurs in SA.
Dallas didn’t need too much time to gel and you can already see, that this is a contender, as long as there won’t be any serious injuries.
Chandler is the Minister of defense – commanding the floor, being the leader of the team, together with Dirk.
Parsons was terrible against Spurs, but scored 20 and 21 points in the games afterwards and was pretty good.
Overall, Dallas looks just like their fans were hoping they will. Deep, filled with veterans, that know how to close out games and how to make comebacks in the final minutes (two comebacks in SA and in NO).
The team to be in the West at the moment imho.

Also, I can point out Minnesota, that are 3 – 0 ATS (1 – 2 SU though) – that are young, talented and ready to fight, Heat that didn’t face big challenges, but did their thing to go 2 – 0 in post LeBron era and Memphis that played three bad games, but managed to go 3 – 0 SU in three potential traps. Good teams need to know how to win, when they play badly and Memphis did just that in all 3 out of 3 games this week.

The Bad

I need to underline that this section won’t count the Sixers. They are the worst team in the league and they win this title by default in each week. If for some reason they weren’t the worst team of the week, I will point it out.
Basically, Sixers are the team I started the Ugly section. If there won’t be anything else to write about, I know I can always count on them.

LA Lakers – I will leave it to the ugly part – but worst team this week by far.

LA Clippers

It was a tough battle between them and Detroit, but in the end, Clippers won this one.
Why Clippers are bad in my opinion? Well, they are 2 – 0 SU, but they faced Thunder, without Durant and Westbrook and Lakers – both at home.
Still, they are 0 – 2 ATS, came close to losing both games and just played horrible. Worst in the league by far in rebounds with -9 rebound margin (second worst are Orlando with -6.7 – so it wasn’t even close) and in rebounds total, bottom 10 in field goal and three pointers percentage (when one of the two games was against the Lakers) and were just very bad.
If they played any decent team, they would have not just lost, but would have beaten heavily.
Will look to fade them, since good SU record and bad ATS record is the best situation in looking for teams to fade search.
We will see how well they play good teams, twice this week, when they will face Portland and Golden State (and the week after that, when they will face Spurs & Suns).

Detroit Pistons

I just love SVG and I predicted bright future for the Pistons, but for now, they are 0 – 3 ATS and SU, playing three tough, but winnable games and lost all of them.
I realize that Detroit are a mediocre team at best and playing on the road against Denver and Minnesota and at home against the Nets – they can lose all three, but not in the same week and not when you just started your season, new era, with new GM, new coach and lots of hopes.
Worst offense in the league with only 86.7 points average, fifth worst margin of loss in the league, despite playing equal opponents more or less.
It doesn’t end there. Second worst team in three point percentage (21.9%). Boston the only ones that shot the ball worst from three point line, with 19%, but while Boston ranked 9th in field goal percentage overall with 46.2%, Detroit ranked in the bottom 5 teams in that area as well with 40.2%.
Two points though:
1) Monroe, Detroit’s best player maybe (SVG doesn’t agree with me, since he benched him) came back against Brooklyn, after missing the first two games. He didn’t help against the Nets, but obviously, he is a huge boost for the Pistons.
2) Detroit gets no less than three days of rest till their next game and this week, they got three home games against Knicks, Bucks and Jazz. SVG will have the time to work out the problems of the team and prepare them for the three games ahead of them. I think there is a chance they will get back to 50% after this week with 3 – 3 or 2 – 4 as worst case scenario.
Will be looking to bet on them this week.

Orlando could easily be in this section as well, since also 0 – 3 ATS and SU, but Orlando, doesn’t have any expectation’ so they get a discount for this week (but they are on the radar).

The Ugly

LA Lakers

This is my favorite team, so it really hurts to write, but Lakers were the ugliest team in the league by far this week.
I will start with bad luck for them and that’s Randle’s injury in the first game of the season, that will cause him to miss the rest of the season (broke his tibia).
Randle was selected 7th in this year’s draft and was considered by many, the best player in the draft, draft that was one of the best (on paper of course) in the last decade.
He was suppose to be the future of the team and instead of using this season, where the Lakers will go nowhere, to try and develop, he will miss it entirely.
The only good news are that this is not the kind of injury that will hurt him in his career, once the broken tibia is healed.
It adds to the recent injury curse that retired Nash, after three seasons with the Lakers, where he played 65 games combined (less than 22 games per season average), Kobe’s two injuries, Dwight’s injury and tons of other injuries to every possible player in every possible way.
Just sad and bad.
Back to the ugly. Lakers finished this week bottom last in points allowed, allowing the average of 118 points in the 4 games they played this week (just to compare, second worst was Utah with 105 points allowed). Not surprisingly, they also third from the bottom in percentage of three pointers allowed and last in the league in percentage of shots from the field made (50.5%!!!). When your rival scores more than his every second shot, you are in very big trouble.
Scott is the worst possible coach for them. Worst defense in the league, coached by a coach that is focused on defense and believes that defense wins games.
Instead of focusing on team’s strengths and trying to hide team’s weaknesses, he actually does the reverse.
Kobe is frustrated to say the least and already had two technical fouls in four games, trying to win games, while trying to move up in the scorer of all times list.
Scott wants a team that doesn’t shoot any three pointers, but it appears that Kobe getting sick of this strategy already. He shot one three pointers in the first game, going up to 4 in the second game, going for 5 three pointers in the third game and you can guess what happened in the fourth game… 6 three point attempts (one succeeded). I hope it won’t continue to increase with every game, because there are 82 games in one season…
Bottom line is they carry the entire league on their back with 0 – 4 record (the only team in the league that played 4 games so far and one of the only four teams that are still winless).

Since it’s my favorite team, I would like a chance to defend them, by saying that they played much better in the last two games, almost beating the Clippers and being close to the Warriors in the first three quarters.
Kobe appears at times like the old Kobe, other Lakers players have glimpses of talent and who knows, maybe they will improve this season (they can’t play any worst – that’s for sure).
Another point of hope is that it all may be part of a master plan. Lakers draft pick this season was given to the Suns, but it’s Top 5 picks protected. If lottery system stays the same, it’s possible that Lakers would rather finish in the bottom 3 places, to get a good draft pick, instead of finishing in places 6 – 10 from the bottom and have no draft pick and even darker future than they alreay have.

Also, I would like to point out two ugly games that I had to witness (was very unlucky to watch):

Sacramento – Golden State was a very sloppy game with no less than 48 turnovers (yes, it’s 1 turnover per minute and it felt like there were much more turnovers than this).

Charlotte – Memphis was a game that made me almost quit watching basketball all together. 36.2% was the average field goal percentage by both teams and we can add to that, 28% from three point line average and 74.5% free throws percentage. 33 assists combined against 38 turnovers and just very ugly game to watch.
I swear I was 1 – 2 missed open jump shots from quitting watching basketball.

The week ahead

I already mentioned some of the schedules that the teams on my list will face.
I will also write recommended games to watch in each day (if there is a game worth watching on it at all):

Monday: Memphis – New Orleans

New Orleans poor fourth quarter against Dallas, when they lost at home, caused them to miss this week’s “The Good” list and Dallas climb in instead. Having said that, Hornets still have the most exciting player in the league, Davis and very good roster that is pretty fun to watch.
Memphis were without a doubt, the least fun team to watch this week, playing terrible basketball, but still winning all three games (and that shows how well the rivals have played).
Two teams that already not in the Western Elite, but won’t to get there. Should be great to watch.

Tuesday: Portland – Cleveland

Portland gave Miami very hard time, with LeBron there. Now, LeBron is in Cleveland and every game Cleveland play, draws tons of attention and tons of analyze.
Portland started the season well, Cleveland lost to the Knicks at home, but won in Chicago, in amazing game.
Should be really interesting to watch.

Wednesday: Golden State – LA Clippers

Last time the two teams met, it was Game 7 of Round 1 in Western Conference playoffs.
Golden State and LA have kind of a rivalry trying to join the Western contenders list and don’t like each other.
Should be fun to watch.

Thursday: Houston – San Antonio

Two good teams, Texas derby – always fun to watch, even when T-Mac isn’t there to score 13 points in the final 35 seconds of the game, to win, from 8 points behind, it’s still a game that shouldn’t be missed.

Friday: NY Knicks – Brooklyn Nets

From Texan derby to the Big Apple derby. Both teams struggle, but both teams want to be in the playoffs and both want to rule the city (obviously Nets have very long road before they can try and claim to have most fans in NY).
The Knicks in Jackson era, Nets under Hollins – defensive guru – a game worth watching, though can’t promise it would be a fun game to watch.

Saturday: LA Clippers – Portland

As I said already, Clippers have some tests this week and I personally really curious to see how well will they do.

Sunday: Dallas – Miami

In the last decade, the two teams played each other twice in the NBA finals (three matchups repeated themselves in NBA Finals in the last decade, Lakers – Celtics, Heat – Spurs, Mavericks – Heat and all three ended in a split with every team winning once).
Dallas looking like a contender again, while Miami try to rebuild, after LeBron’s departure.
Should be interesting to watch, how the teams that had the most changes this summer, will play this heated game.

For those that are interested in my picks this week, can read the details here

For questions, replies, thoughts and suggestions regarding the weekly article, please write to:
bmanidv@gmail.com

Best of luck everybody!!! 

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