A third of the season has finished and we have Christmas Day games to look forward to, what a wonderful time of the year. But before we get a day full of games, we must look back at the past week of NBA action.
1) Craig Sager passes away
In sad news, Craig Sager passed away last Thursday. He will be forever remembered, not only in the basketball community, but the sporting community as a whole. Whether it be the outlandish suits, the sideline interviews with Coach Pop, or his interactions with players, we will never forget you Craig, rest in peace.
2) Tentative agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement
This is amazing news, but it doesn’t come as a huge surprise. The league is flush with cash, and both players and owners are making a lot of money. This is a major win for NBA fans, we don’t have to miss any games in the upcoming season, and the possibility of a lockout is gone.
3) Tim Duncan’s jersey retirement
Usually a team will wait at least one season to retire a player’s jersey, but in Tim Duncan’s case this decision makes sense. 5 championships, and arguably the best power forward of all time, Timmy D’s number 21 deserved to be in the rafters as soon as possible. The best part about his ceremony? Other than seeing Pop getting emotional, Duncan was a complete class act. He actually wore a suit, which he made a joke about, and he commended his teammates for everything they had done for him. The league will miss you, nobody will ever be as good at the fundamentals as you were.
4) Eastern Conference standings are a toss up
Currently the 3rd seed in the East with 16 wins, the Boston Celtics. Currently the 12th seed in the East with 13 wins, the Orlando Magic. Yes, 3 wins separate the 3rd and 12th seed, the standings are constantly changing every day. Eventually the teams outside of the playoff race will drop off, but for now the East is incredibly open and entertaining.
5) DeMarcus Cousins antics
First, Cousins is an incredible talent, he’s a monster offensively and now that he can stretch the floor he’s an amazing asset. However, I still can’t stand this man. He is childish, whiny, and needs to grow up. When playing against the Portland Trailblazers, Cousins went off for 55 points, 1 short of his career high, and his team ended up with the win. Now that’s a great headline, however that doesn’t tell the whole story. The real story behind this game was when DeMarcus Cousins spat his mouthguard at the Portland bench. For this incident he was given a technical foul, his second of the game, and in turn was ejected from the game. However, the referees convened after Cousins had a temper-tantrum while running off the floor, and reversed the technical foul. Cousins was allowed to return in one of the strangest incidents the NBA has ever seen. The worst part? Cousins in a post-game interview said that his mouthguard fell out. And of course, a video from behind the Portland bench came out shortly afterwards, which shows him clearly spitting it out. Maybe one day Cousins will get traded to a better situation and will turn it around, but as of now I’m happy that they continue to lose.
6) Malcolm Brogdon posterizes Lebron and Kyrie
Slamming it down over Kyrie Irving doesn’t sound all that impressive, but Brogdon’s reverse slam over LeBron James is something that Bucks rookie Brogdon will be telling his grandchildren about one day.
7) LeBron James moves to 8th on the NBA’s All Time Scoring List
Even though LeBron did get put on a poster by a rookie, in the same game he passed the great Moses Malone to become the 8th best scorer in NBA history. At age 31 he has a ton left in the tank, and we’ll have to watch and see where he ends up in the pantheon of NBA scoring.
8) Russell Westbrook career high 22 assists
Yes, it came against an awful Phoenix Suns team, but this is still incredibly impressive. With Victor Oladipo out, Russ still managed to find his teammates 22 times for the score. Oh, and he still finished with a triple double; 26 points, 22 assists, and 11 rebounds.
9) Nerlens Noel drama
I just wrote last week about Noel returning being a great thing for Philadelphia and their fans, but apparently I was wrong. His poor attitude regarding the big man situation in Philly has left him on the outside of the rotation looking in, and his trade value has never been lower. On the bright side, the fans gave him a standing ovation when he got his first minutes of the game in the third quarter.
10) Joel Embiid career high 33 points
My list wouldn’t be complete without bringing up The Process. His career high 33 points on the Brooklyn Nets (yes it came against Brooklyn, so what) lead the 76ers to 1 point win. Here are the stats: 33 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 70% shooting from the field. Seriously guys, if you aren’t fully hyped on The Dream 2.0, you must be under a rock.