As expected, NBA’s first week provides more questions than answers
As it often does, the first week of the NBA season left fans with more questions than answers heading into the rest of the year.
From wondering if the Los Angeles Lakers have re-tooled properly for another title run or have the LA Clippers done enough to upend their neighbors across the hall.
In the eastern conference, how does the Milwaukee Bucks respond to being bounced in the second round of the playoffs while fans were gifted with seeing healthy all stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant on the court for the Brooklyn Nets.
Lakers’ latest acquisitions getting acclimated to new team
After opening the season with a heartfelt ring ceremony which presented future Hall-of-Famer LeBron James with his fourth championship ring while all star forward Anthony Davis was awarded his first.
Subsequently, the Lakers proceeded to sleepwalk through their season-opening loss to the Clippers, 116-109, after falling behind 39-19 after the first quarter.
James scored 22 points while pulling in five rebounds and handing out five assists in 28 minutes, his lowest in a season-opening game.
Davis scored 18 points in 31 minutes of action.
Newcomers Dennis Schroeder and Montrezl Harrell combined to score 31 points on 11-of-26 shooting from the field.
The duo also pulled in 22 total rebounds and dished out 11 total assists.
The defending champions bounced back to win back-to-back games against the Dallas Mavericks by 23 points and the Minnesota Timberwolves by 36 points.
Most recently, the team came up short against the Portland Trail Blazers, 115-107.
Two sets of Clipper teams presented in season’s first week
The Clippers are off to a 3-1 start and have looked both terrific and terrible all inside of the season’s first week.
Los Angeles opened the year 2-0 after spoiling ring night for the Lakers on opening night and following that with a 13-point win over the Denver Nuggets.
Forward Paul George scored 56 points on 21-of-32 from the field through the first two games including going 10-of-17 from three-point range.
He also hauled in 11 rebounds and tallied 12 assists in the team’s first two games.
Forward Kawhi Leonard suffered a mouth laceration after taking an elbow from teammate Serge Ibaka against the Nuggets.
He scored 33 and 23 points in the two games to start the year.
Leonard missed the team’s third game of the year against Dallas.
The Clippers proceeded to set the NBA-record for largest deficit at halftime being down 50 points to the Mavericks.
It ended in a franchise-record 51-point loss that George said after the game was “on [him].”
George scored 15 points on 4-of-13 shooting.
The team returned to its winning ways with a 23-point win over Minnesota with seven players scoring in double figures.
Wounded Warriors enter season looking rocky
The Golden State Warriors opened it’s 2020-21 campaign setting the record for the worst point differential (-47) through the first two games of the year by teams who’ve made an NBA Finals previously.
However, the next five teams on the list all made the playoffs with two teams going on to win it all.
Golden State opened the year with a 125-99 loss to Brooklyn on opening night and followed that with a 138-99 loss to Milwaukee on Christmas Day.
Former MVP Steph Curry was held to 20 points and 19 points in both of those games.
Since then, the Warriors have responded with back-to-back wins over the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons despite needing a game-winner from guard Damion Lee in the former game.
Curry found his rhythm, scoring 36 points and 31 points against the Bulls and Pistons making it the first time since February 2019 that he’s scored 30 points in back-to-back regular season games.
Fellow backcourt mate Klay Thompson is out for the season with a torn achilles.
Brooklyn enjoying a healthy Durant, Irving
After waiting patiently for an entire year, former MVP and scoring champion Kevin Durant returned last week from a torn achilles that sidelined him for all of last season.
He has played in three of the team’s first four games of the year, averaging 26.7 points per game scoring 29 points twice.
Brooklyn opened the year 2-0 with wins over Golden State and Boston.
However, the Nets lost back-to-back games to the Charlotte Hornets by two points and to the Memphis Grizzlies by five points in overtime.
The Grizzlies also lost guard Ja Morant in that game to a severe sprained ankle.
Former NBA Champion Kyrie Irving exits the first week of the season as the team’s leading scorer with 29.3 ppg.
He scored a season-high 37 points on the road against the Celtics.
Guards Caris LeVert and Chris Chiozza along with forwards Joe Harris and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot are all averaging in double figures to start the season.
Bucks led by MVP, DPOY ready to give it another whirl
The reigning Eastern Conference champions lost on opening night to the Boston Celtics by a point on a game-winning three pointer by forward Jayson Tatum.
That game-winning shot that sailed over the head of the reigning MVP and Defensive Player of the Year was banked in with just 0.4 seconds left in regulation.
Similar to the Clippers, the Bucks have shown to be a team that can play on both sides of the spectrum.
Milwaukee beat Golden State on Christmas day by 39 points and later in the week came away with a 144-97 win over the Miami Heat.
In that win over the Heat, the Bucks set the NBA-record for most made three-pointers in a game with 29.
Miami beat Milwaukee in five games in the second round of the playoffs this past season.
However, there was a 20-point loss to the New York Knicks wedged between those games for the Bucks.
Celtics sitting at .500, awaiting return of all-star guard
After the first week of NBA action, the Boston Celtics are 2-2 after starting the year .500 with a win over Milwaukee and loss to Brooklyn.
Boston lost to Indiana, 108-107, after forward Domantas Sabonis converted a late and-one to give the Pacers the advantage and the win.
Both teams shot 50 percent from the field in that game.
However, the Celtics rebounded with a 116-11 win over the Pacers two days later.
All-star guard Kemba Walker has yet to play this season after getting an injection in his right knee.
He is expected to be out through the first week of January.
Forward Jayson Tatum is averaging 25.5 ppg on 44 percent shooting from the field including 39 percent from three-point range.
He is also averaging a career-high 9.3 rebounds per game. His previous career-high was 7.0 rpg last year.
Forward Jaylen Brown is averaging 24.5 ppg on 52 percent from the field but is shooting 27 percent from long distance while averaging two steals a game.