What We Learned from Warriors-Suns This Week

On Tuesday night, the Phoenix Suns extended their winning streak to 17 games, beating the Golden State Warriors 104-98 and in the process ending the Warriors’ seven-game stretch of success. After Phoenix disposed of Detroit to run that winning streak to 18, they headed up to San Francisco…and lost 118-96 to at last drop their fourth game of the season and end up at 19-4. In so doing, the Suns ended up in second place in the Western Conference, behind that 19-3 Golden State squad that now leads them by half a game in the standings once more. That’s right. …

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Breaking Down the 2022 Eastern Conference Free-For-All

The NBA’s Eastern Conference standings are proof that when you take your eye off the league for even one minute, let alone an entire week, much like a momentarily neglected toddler with a distracted parent, those 15 teams get into all kinds of trouble. As of Thanksgiving Day, just three games separated the tied-for-second-place Miami Heat and Washington Wizards and the 12th-place Toronto Raptors with nearly a quarter of the season in the books. Things both did and did not shake out a bit over the weekend thus far. Miami beat Chicago and Washington beat Dallas on Saturday night, bringing …

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Montrezl Harrell is the 2022 NBA MVP So Far

The Washington Wizards are a rather inexplicable 10-5 to start the 2022 season, fourth in the East. And leading the team in WS/48 and VORP by a country mile? Montrezl Harrell, the 2020 Sixth Man of the Year, a guy who may not look like a superstar in a traditional sense out on the floor but who racks up counting and advanced stats seemingly effortlessly whenever he’s in the game. Harrell is sitting on .323 WS/48 in 15 games and 430 minutes this season. He’s posting a 7.0 Box Plus/Minus and 1.0 VORP, that last projecting over 82 games to …

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Brooklyn Nets…Or Broken Nets?

The Brooklyn Nets are 10-5 so far through games of November 16, having been clobbered 117-99 on their home floor by the Golden State Warriors Tuesday night. Their five losses have been against Milwaukee, Charlotte, Miami, Chicago, and the aforementioned Warriors, and the closest of those losses was by 13 points. That’s your defending NBA champions and three teams regarded as contenders, along with the ultimate wildcard of a Hornets team. And while Brooklyn is still third in the East and just a game behind surprising Washington for the top record in the conference, questions surround the Nets and whether …

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Golden State Warriors: 11 Wins, 2 Losses, 1 Enigma

The Golden State Warriors have two losses in 13 games so far in the 2021-22 season, and they’re the kind of losses that, when set against a team’s wins, tend to indicate a team that’s as good as their early-season surge. That is to say, after losing at Charlotte Sunday to drop to 11-2, the Dubs’ combined margin of defeat in the two losses is just seven, while 10 of their 11 wins were by at least seven points and eight were by double digits. Before the Hornets game—which, it should be noted, was the second game of a back-to-back …

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Jordan Nwora: Best Saved for TV?

So far this season, I’ve had the pleasure of watching Jordan Nwora of the Milwaukee Bucks on television twice, both times on TNT, both times in Bucks wins—first over Brooklyn on opening night, the second time Tuesday night against Philadelphia. In those two games, he has shot 10-of-19 (52.6 percent) from the field, 3-of-8 (37.5 percent) from long range, recorded a combined plus-8 while on the floor in his 41 minutes, all while turning the ball over just once. If you saw a guy like that, you’d think “he’s pretty good. At age 23, he might grow into one of …

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2022 Charlotte Hornets: The NBA’s Most Entertaining Team

The 2021-22 Charlotte Hornets started the season 5-1, but after losing 140-110 to Sacramento, they are now 5-5. But in those ten games, the Hornets have emerged as far and away the most entertaining team in the league to watch. Mind you, I’m not talking about entertainment value if you’re, say, a Hornets fan who wants to watch your team win. Despite the hot start, these guys are legitimately awful, not as good as their .500 record, and they’re probably headed for the play-in tournament as the 9 or 10 seed. I’m talking about entertainment value if you don’t give …

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Stop Trying to Make the New Orleans Pelicans Happen, TNT and ESPN

The New Orleans Pelicans, since drafting Zion Williamson in 2019, have gone 62-90, finishing 13th in the Western Conference in 2020 and 11th in 2021. So far in 2021-22, they’re 1-7, dead last in the entire league. But every year, TNT and ESPN insist on cramming the Pelicans down our throats, giving them national media exposure and trying to make Zion into the next LeBron James. It made a measure of sense in Zion’s rookie year. Williamson came into the league with a Hall of Fame ceiling. Everyone loves watching a hotshot rookie, even on a bad team. But Zion …

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Examining the NBA’s One-Loss October Teams

Through games of October 31, six NBA teams stand at 5-1. The Knicks, Wizards, Bulls, and Heat have recorded that mark in the East. In the West, the Jazz and Warriors hold the honors. The big question becomes one of which of those six teams, if any, has put up the statistical profile to suggest they’ll be able to sustain a winning clip through 82 games—an .833 winning percentage works out to 68-14 in an 82-game season. I wouldn’t bet on any of them winning 68 games, but high 50s/low 60s and the top seed? That’s the kind of goal …

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So Are the 4-1 Miami Heat For Real?

The Miami Heat never seem to play a close game. Their four wins have all been decisive, none more so than the 137-95 thrashing they gave the Milwaukee Bucks in their opener on October 21. The double-digit loss on their record may look on the surface like they got smacked around, but that Pacers game went to overtime. Coming into the Charlotte game, the Heat held a plus-14.8 Net Rating, second behind only the red-hot Utah Jazz (plus-18.2 after demolishing Houston to go to 4-0 on Thursday night.) Miami brought a 92.3 Defensive Rating into the contest. After a 114-99 …

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