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Monday, November 30, 2015

Things We've Learned From The First Full Month Of The NBA #NBA #Cavs #Basketball

Things We've Learned From The First Full Month Of The NBA #NBA #Cavs #Basketball

All Pictures Courtesy of the NBA and its teams and affiliates unless otherwise noted.

Surprise! Here some of you regular readers probably thought my last post for the month of National Blog Posting would be on blog posting or my NaNoWriMo progress. While I thought about both of those, I couldn't in good conscience do that knowing that I still had work to do on my book, and write my last post about completing the challenge felt too meta and like a cheat (yes, I could write previous post on NaBloPoMo but not the last one. So, I focus on another topic I'd like to discuss, the NBA.

Through to the afternoon of November 30th, the NBA has already given us a few crazy stories to follow, each dominating in their own right. Since we're on the topic of dominating, I'd be remiss if I didn't start with the biggest story the Golden State Warriors.

Having opened their season on a perfect 18-0 run, they stand just 15 games away from matching the '72 Lakers win streak of 33. With a mix of opponents both weak and strong, they still have yet to truly face their toughest tests in San Antonio and Oklahoma City in the West as well as the Cavs in the East (a Christmas Day matchup all NBA fans can't miss). However, that doesn't discount their run which includes more 30, 40 and 50-point games from their star Steph Curry than the Philadelpia 76sers have even won (their win count is at zero, by the way). The crazy trick shots and ease of stroke for Curry has put him squarely in the driver's seat for the debate of best player in the game. Of course there is this other guy in Cleveland that may have something to say about that. 

Leading the Eastern Conference Standings, Cleveland sits atop with 13 wins out of seventeen games. Not bad for the injury-riddled team but not up to Lebron and Lebron's mustache's standards. Though their star point guard as well as their first string defensive stopper Iman Shumpert are both out for at least another few weeks, and players JR Smith as well as Timofey Mozgov have also sat out a few early season games, that hasn't stopped Lebron from riding guys for lack of effort and chip-on-the-shoulder play. Seeing his finals' opponent blowing teams out by as much as 50 hasn't sat well with the king, causing him to take a deeper look at the character of the third most winningest team currently in the NBA.

Speaking of wins, it seemed as if the Houston Rockets couldn't buy one in the first few weeks of the season. Coming off of a conference finals appearance in the '14-15 season, expectations for the also-ran team were high to either duplicate or surpass such heights of success. But with a Kryptonite-ailed Superman and a switch in team chemistry from last year (cough Ty Lawson cough), the team has yet to sniff at a playoff spot in a volatile west where teams clutter at the highest win totals possible. This led to the unceremonious (and wrong in my eyes) firing of Kevin McHale as head coach. A band-aid for a much deeper locker room problem, they won the game without their coach only to resume losing a few games later.

One Of Us Is Leaving By The End Of This Season

Speaking of poor chemistry, DeMarcus Cousins and George Karl have continued their feud from last season with rumors of the owner coming down to the locker room and asking if he should fire Karl, and rumors that they discussed a possible trade with Boston. Unfortunately, every time these rumors surface, Cousins play increases exponentially the next game, making it hard for the owner to pull the lever on any potential trade or firing.

Porzingis About To Take Flight. Kris Humphries Please Remain In The Seated Position

Not the only big man that can beast, questionable (at the time) Knicks' draft pick Porzingis (not going to try spelling that first name) has been such a pleasant surprise to NY faithful that both he and his play have overshadowed the return of the previously injured All-Star Carmelo Anthony. Not only are the Knicks not trying to lose but will finish the month almost at .500 and a trade away from a playoff spot. They're still another superstar or good role player away from grabbing a piece of a championship, however.

Speaking of face-of-the-franchise superstars, many of them around the league have been a little disappointing through the first month. Taking away the stars on Golden State and Cleveland, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have not grabbed the headlines nor the wins as most expected they would in Kevin's contract season. While they are in the top 4 in the west, the Warriors domination of the Mississippi that-a way has overshadowed the ho-hum Allstar-level play as the two have proven they can play together to analyst... finally! LaMarcus Aldridge has willingly reduced his role from superstar to cog in the winning machine that is the Spurs, helping to power them to the number two spot behind the Warriors.

In the east, Derrick Rose has all but disappeared behind his plastic mask as the Bulls have taken losses to a few teams they shouldn't have, looking like a playoff team but not a real contender to take down the Cavs. The same can be said for the Miami Heat where D. Wade and Bosh have led their team to a respectable third place while continuing to try sculpting their own identity post-Lebron. Probably the biggest disappointment in the east comes from the nation's capital. Yes, what's happening on Capitol Hill in politics always induces eye rolls, but I'm talking about the Wizards. A team that handily defeated the Raptors last season in the playoffs and looked posed to defeat the Hawks on the way to a conference finals berth, have now slipped well below the playoff line and are struggling to find wins against all opponents.

I Made A Three, One Less Number Than The Amount Of Wins We Have

Probably the angriest fanbase in the NBA right now resides in Louisiana. The playoff-bound Pelicans of last year have floundered so much, that they are in the lower four teams of the NBA and have yet to accumulate five wins in 17 games. To clarify, it's a start slightly better than the Lakers at two wins and the 76ers at zero. The problem? Those two teams are trying to lose games for better draft positioning.

From Draft Day

The biggest breaking story came just yesterday when the completely expected news that Kobe Bryant is retiring after this season came from the man himself. After a month of playing like the Monsters from Space Jam came back and sucked his basketball powers away, he's decided to continue this farewell tour and collect that massive paycheck afforded to him for being the best player for so long. While I may make fun of Kobe, he will be extremely missed in the league. I salute you, black mamba. Five championships! Nobody can argue with that.

To Champion! 

What do you think? Have you been following your favorite NBA team or are you still locked into the NFL season? When do you think the Warriors win-streak will end? Do you think they can beat or match the Bulls 72-10 record? What do you think about Kobe Bryant announcing his retirement? Will you miss seeing him as a competitor or is it good riddance. Let me know in the comments below (hint: click the no comments button if you see no comments).

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Until next time, "I'm announcing that, uh... I'm gonna be retiring from NBA basketball to play professional baseball."
"Uh... Why?"
"Because Nike told me to Just Do It!

P.S. Do I even have to add anything to that? I'll think of a better sign-off next time... maybe.

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