Only Detroitat 3-0 figures

Nov 8, 2005 3:46 AM

The NBA season is a week old, too soon for drawing any definitive conclusions. Still there have been some early signs that some teams expected to do well after key offseason moves may be in for a longer learning curve than expected.

Similarly, even in just a pair or three games, some teams have displayed good early form and might present some early season value over the next few weeks. Only four teams have started perfectly during the first week, each 3-0. It’s no real surprise that Detroit is one of those four, but it is that San Antonio, Dallas, Indiana and Miami are not among the other three.

Washington, Milwaukee and the Los Angeles Clippers are the others at 3-0. Of the trio, Milwaukee appears to be the most legitimate candidate to have the most successful season. Washington did make the playoffs in the East last season and the Clippers just missed in the West.

The balance of power in the NBA remains in the West, although the gap between the two conferences has closed dramatically. By the All Star break, the East might surpass the West,

Miami has been dealt an early blow with an injury to Shaquille O’Neal that will sideline him for several weeks. Shaq has been bothered by nagging injuries the past few seasons, but his early loss will enable the Heat to develop depth and allow star Dwyane Wade to involve even more of his teammates in the offense.

Underdogs, especially teams on the road, often make for attractive plays early in the season. Oddsmakers and handicappers of necessity rely on previous season results until form is established. The impact of offseason moves are speculative at best until the teams have played a half dozen or so games in a new season.

Here’s a look at three games this weekend.

Friday, Nov. 11:

Nets at Pacers: Both teams have started 2-1, with Indiana’s two wins coming on the road. Last season the team split the season series, each winning once home and on the road. The games got progressively closer throughout the season. Indiana was without Ron Artest for most of the season, while the Nets were minus Richard Jefferson most of the year. Even without these stars three of the four games exceeded the posted total. With both Artest and Jefferson back, along with Vince Carter having the benefit of a full preseason with the Nets, both offenses should have success. OVER.

Saturday, Nov. 12

Warriors at Suns: Golden State is a team on the uptick in the West with Baron Davis assuming leadership duties. Phoenix is still a talented team trying to deal with the loss to injury of star Amare Stoudemire. Shawn Marion and Steve Nash provide the bulk of the offense for the Suns, who are again expected to be a fast paced team. The teams split their four games last season when the Suns were clearly superior. The Warriors did cover three times and pushed on the other occasion. Golden State should be a decent sized underdog after hosting the Knicks on Friday night. Still, the Warriors have much upside. GOLDEN ST.

Sunday, Nov. 13

Rockets at Celtics: Both teams are expected to make the playoffs, with Houston being given a chance to contend for the Western Conference title. Houston is playing its third game in four days after having visited Miami and New Jersey. Boston has been at home for several games, but has dropped two of three including an OT loss at Charlotte. The lone win came in OT over the Knicks. Houston’s Yao Ming continues to improve as he gets accustomed to the NBA game. His presence gives the Rockets a huge edge in this contest. The teams each won on the road in last season’s two meetings. The Rockets have the confidence to play well here. HOUSTON.

Last week: 2-1

Season: 2-1