Kicking off the NBA season with an assortment of surprises, week one showcased the good and the bad out of the media’s most anticipated teams. Whether it be newly acquired Kawhi Leonard’s successful debut in a Clippers uniform or the chemistry between LeBron James and Anthony Davis giving fans hope, the regular season is here and it has brought joy as well as worry.
Starting with perhaps the NBA’s most anticipated team, the Los Angeles Clippers-led by Leonard and a surprising bench performance, shut down many doubts fans had on the team. Despite not having shooting guard Paul George on the floor, the Clippers had no problem handling top teams. Facing the Lakers on opening night, the Clippers’ defense as well as offense was operating on all cylinders, as Lou Williams went 8/14 and Leonard 10/19 from the field. Point guard Patrick Beverley alongside power forward Montrezl Harrell were able to control the Lakers’ offense, which ultimately led to the Clippers first win. Moving to Oakland, the Clippers then took care of the Warriors in a 19-point blowout. All was going well until the Clippers came up short against the Phoenix Suns, resulting in the Clippers’ week one standing being 2-1.
Shifting over to a different side of LA, the Lakers achieved the same record despite their initial loss. Taking on the Utah Jazz at home, LeBron and Davis scored a combined total of 53 points resulting in a 9-point win. Upon hosting the Charlotte Hornets in their next game, Davis blew up with 29 points on top of 14 rebounds. Looking like the “Superman” fans came to miss, center Dwight Howard was able to add 16 points in addition to ten boards and four blocked shots. This led to the Lakers beating the Hornets 120-101.
Taking place in the city of Houston, the Rockets’ offense, mainly handled by point guard Russel Westbrook and shooting guard James Harden, showed promise even though the two performed best when separated. In regards to their matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Rockets received their first loss after the “Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo dropped a triple-double on Westbrook’s debut. Even though Antetokounmpo was ejected from the game with more than five minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Bucks had no problem containing the Rockets’ offense. In Houston’s second game, they achieved their first win as Harden dropped 29 points and Westbrook 28 points.
The Not so good
The Brooklyn Nets had a rough week one as the team came up short just by one point in two of the three games they played. In a record-setting Nets debut, Kyrie astonished fans of Brooklyn with 50 points. However, in overtime, he lost his balance and missed a potential game-winning shot, allowing the Minnesota Timberwolves to pull away with a close win. Going against New York’s second team, Kyrie was able to trifle a late lead held by the Knicks with a breathtaking step-back three-pointer to give the Nets their first win. In their third game of the week against the Memphis Grizzlies, Brooklyn suffered another tough loss when Grizzlies’ power forward Jae Crowder hit a rushed three as time expired in overtime. The two losses the Nets have suffered is raising a serious question: is taking over while Kevin Durant is out too much for Kyrie?
Heading over to Oakland, the Golden State Warriors were reminded of the man that put them away in last year’s finals with a blowout loss in Oakland Arena’s first game: Kawhi Leonard. Due to Beverley and Harell upsetting the Warriors’ offense, Stephen Curry was held to only 23 points. Going into their second game of the week, surely the Warriors could handle the Oklahoma City Thunder without George and Westbrook, right? Wrong. The Warriors lost 120-92 against an offense led by point guard Dennis Schroder who scored 22 points and point guard Chris Paul. In a postgame conference where Warriors’ power forward Draymond Green was asked about the team’s struggles, Green replied, “We f—— suck right now… hopefully, we’ll get better.” The Warriors left week one with a record of 0-2.
Approaching week two, the Warriors and Nets will go into their next games hungry to bring a win to their cities. Otherwise, it might be smooth sailing for the Clippers and Lakers as they both play against the 1-2 Hornets in the upcoming week.