As basketball is just starting to hit its stride, it appears that things are starting off in a different direction than we were expecting.
Though there are some things shaping the way we expected they would, one surprise is the play of the Cleveland Cavaliers. The reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors showed some shakiness in some early games but looks to be getting everything back on the right track. In the locker room of the Los Angeles Lakers, one surprise rookie is outshining and down right out playing the “star” rookie.
The Cleveland Cavaliers went on a four-game losing streak before the league’s best player went off for 57 points. They reverted back to the losing Cavaliers when they played the Atlanta Hawks Nov. 5. In a game they should have won by more than 15, the Cavaliers lost by two points to a team who only had one win prior to that game.
What’s going on with the Cavaliers? Are their woes coming from lineup issues, having to get comfortable playing with one another, horrible defense or is LeBron James really feeling the absence of Kyrie Irving?
During the Cavaliers losing streak, they lost to the Brooklyn Nets by five points, the New Orleans Pelicans by 22 points, the New York Knicks by 19 points, then the Indiana Pacers by 17 points.
James had never lost three games in a row by double digits in his career until now. He then put on a show against the Washington Wizards, but then allowed the one-win Hawks, who were on an eight-game losing streak, show them up at home.
It is still early in the season and they have a long way to go, but things are looking differently for the Cavaliers. If they expect to be the dominant team coming out the East, they will have to fix a lot because Irving and the Boston Celtics are rolling and looking like the team to beat.
While it appears that James and his supporting cast miss Irving, the Celtics seem to be clicking on all cylinders. The Celtics have won nine straight games and they have not done that since Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo were in the starting lineup.
On Nov. 6, when Boston took on the Hawks in Atlanta, Irving did what he does best. He took over the game in the fourth quarter, ultimately getting the Celtics the lead for the win. That was something James could not do the night before when the Cavaliers played the same team.
Not only are the Celtics looking better than the Cavaliers, but Irving is looking like he was the key piece that held that Cleveland team together. Then again, we still have a long way to go before the season comes to an end. I just hope it continue to be fueled by all the drama to make for an even more interesting season.
In the Western Conference, Golden State is still the team to beat. Quite frankly, the Warriors are still the team to beat in the entire league but like we expected, the Houston Rockets are adding something to the equation having already beat the Warriors in the season opener.
Both team have only lost three games so far and are looking pretty good doing it. It is looking like the Western Conference Finals match up will be the Rockets and the Warriors. That shoot out series will definitely be interesting to watch. I do not know if the Rockets will stay at the top and continue to be the main challenge for the Warriors but even though we have a lot more season to go, it is hard to dismiss them.
Also in the West are the Los Angeles Lakers. They stand at 5-5 right now and the rookie making the most noise on that team is not Lonzo Ball. Despite how loud his father is, Ball just has not lived up to the hype and his father only added to the pressure.
The rookie standing out for the Lakers is Kyle Kuzma. He is aggressive and does it all. The question then comes, why Ball isn’t being aggressive. Does he just need more time or is he just soft? He lacks the aggression we see in many other rookies.
Shaquita Newton is a sports blogger. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.