NBA season heads toward Christmas Day games
December 12, 2017 3:00 AM
by Andy Iskoe
VIP Bettin' on B-Ball | For the not-so-hard-core fan, interest in the NBA will begin to develop on Christmas Day when the league will present a quintuple-header to a national TV audience.
For the not-so-hard-core fan, interest in the NBA will begin to develop on Christmas Day when the league will present a quintuple-header to a national TV audience.
By then the season will be more than two months old with many different story lines than on Christmas Day 2016. Then again, there will be other story lines that are repetitive from a year earlier.
Defending Champion Golden State still sits atop the West but does not have the best record in the league. That honor goes to the Boston Celtics who stood 23-5 through Sunday.
Cleveland has overcome a sluggish start to stand 19-8, due largely to a 13 game winning streak that was snapped last Friday. Toronto is 17-7, trailing Boston by four games in the Atlantic Division.
That trio is starting to separate itself from the rest of the conference as the team with the fourth best record, Milwaukee, is 15-10 with Indiana right there at 16-11.
Washington, at 14-12, leads the Southeast Division and is the only team in that Division with a winning record. Golden State is dealing with the absence due to injury of Steph Curry but their roster is deep and his absence for a couple of weeks should not slow down the Warriors who entered this week on a six-game winning streak.
Houston has the best record in the West, 20-4 (the Warriors are 21-6) as the season nears the one third point. The Rockets are a fun team to watch and star James Harden is a more complete player this season, near the top of the league in assists (9.2 per game) while leading the NBA in scoring at 32.1 points per game.
The Pacific Division, in which Golden State plays, is very weak and the Warriors have already established a 10-game lead. The LA Clippers are having a very tough start to their season and the LA Lakers, at 10-15, are in second place.
The Warriors, after three straight trips to the NBA Finals (winning twice) are likely to coast through the regular season, picking their spots for efforts that are up to their potential, and suggesting there may be many opportunities to take generous points with their opponents.
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San Antonio at Houston (Friday): The top two teams in the Southwest Division meet for the first time this season. The Spurs eliminated Houston from the Playoffs last season in six games and took three of four regular season meetings. Houston leads the Division at 20-4 with the Spurs at 19-8 and they rank first and third in the West with Golden State sitting second. San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard was expected to make his season debut earlier this week and his presence will strengthen the Spurs at both ends of the court.
Both teams are rested but each play at home on Saturday against lesser foes although the Rockets will host a pretty good team, Milwaukee. The Rockets are still seeking to make believers of the doubters and will be looking at this game as an opportunity to send a message that last season’s lack of success against the Spurs will not be duplicated and Houston considers itself a legitimate contender. With Leonard still getting assimilated into the rotation the Spurs may need several games to regain peak form. HOUSTON