A busy Monday night of NBA basketball was highlighted by the elite getting better and the bad getting worse.
— Indiana remains the NBA’s only unbeaten after dropping Memphis in a decisive manner. That 95-79 score is indicative as to how dominant the Pacers have been to open the season. Not that anybody should be surprised, but they’re just getting started. **looks at Bill Simmons’ preseason predictions**
— Utah lost. Again. They don’t lack for talent (as Gordon Haywood, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter can attest to), but this whole lose-by-design thing would appear to be working, as they haven’t won a game yet. Denver handed them loss number eight, 100-81, and JJ Hickson fed Marvin Williams some yams:
— Chicago beat Cleveland – who need to learn that there are, in fact, offenses more complex than isolations and pick-and-rolls – 96-81, but lost Derrick Rose in the fourth quarter to a hamstring injury. Not that I’m a doctor, but considering that Rose spent the last year rehabbing his leg, it makes sense that a pulled hammy would arise from logging heavy minutes. Not that 31 minutes per game is heavy for a star, but Rose is clearly not returning to form as quickly as Bulls fans had hoped (only 14 points per game thus far).
— The Houston/Toronto game was the most peculiar of the night. Not only did Jeremy Lin go for 31, Dwight Howard for 18 points and 24 rebounds and James Harden for 26 points and 10 assists and not only did Houston claw back to win 110-104 in double overtime. No, Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozen went a combined 17-62. Yes, you read that right, 17-62. As in they missed 45 of their 62 field goal attempts.
— The Los Angeles Clippers topped the Minnesota Timberwolves, 109-107, in a matchup of teams that are going to have a large role in how the Western Conference puzzle is put together. Which is pretty cool, when you consider that the franchises in question are the Los Angeles Clippers and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Side-note: Are Lakers fans claiming the Clippers from here on out? My time in LA had me surrounded by some thorough Lakers fans, but I definitely met enough bandwagon jumpers to have doubts about the SoCal loyalty.