Welcome to The Rundown! Today, we discuss the top stories from around the NBA, pick our Player of the Night and make our predictions for tonight’s action.
Durant steps up in Curry’s absence
Nick Billion: As said earlier in the week, the Warriors should be just fine without Curry as he deals with injuries. The Warriors were also without Draymond Green, but it didn’t seem to matter as Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant stepped up. Thompson scored 22 points and Durant got a triple double, dropping 35 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists on the night. The Warriors are going to be just fine wile Curry recovers.
Craig Brallier: No surprise at all. Curry is the most important piece on this Golden State squad, but Durant is still incredible. He put up big numbers his entire career in OKC so there is no doubt that he can step up when he needs to. That’s why this team is so great. Some of the worst teams in the league couldn’t even beat this team’s bench. Like Nick said, they’re going to be just fine and they’ll give Curry plenty of time to get healthy.
DeMarcus Cousins goes off on the Nuggets
NB: A huge game for Cousins as he drops 40 points and grabs 22 rebounds in a win over the Nuggets. He also blocked 4 shots, adding to his monster night. This is the type of game you want from your big men in NOLA. Effective on both ends of the court. Big statement from Cousins last night and you can probably expect to see more of it.
CB: Cousins is having an awesome season, his first full season in New Orleans. Currently 5th in the league in scoring, Cousins continues to have big games with Anthony Davis absent. His play is no surprise though. Boogie has been one of the leagues best centers since entering the league, and has continued to evolve his game to adapt to the pace and space way of today’s NBA. Currently sitting in 8th in the West, the Pelicans could make a big splash when Davis returns.
Cavs’ streak extends to 13
NB: Anytime you go on a 13 game win streak it’s something special, or in the Cavs case, is it? Take for example their last three games. Wins against the Grizzles, Bulls and Kings. All three teams are struggling this season, so should we be impressed? The answer is yes and no. It seems the Cavs have figured out how to work together, which they desperately needed early in the season, however the strength of schedule during this run could come into question. Even on this run, I can’t quite buy into this team. I just don’t see how this team can compete with the Warriors and Rockets.
CB: Nick is right, the strength of schedule is questionable for this streak. The wins in this streak have came against the Mavs, Knicks, Hornets, Clippers, Pistons, Nets, Hornets (again), Clippers, 76ers, Heat, Hawk, Grizzlies,Bulls and Kings. Now the Pistons and 76ers are definitely quality wins, especially in the East, but other than that, not a lot of impressive wins. Only five of those wins have been double-digit wins. That all being said, it is still 13 straight wins, which is hard to do no matter who you play. Remember a few years ago when the up and coming Bucks beat the undefeated Warriors? Any team can beat you, and you know each team you play is going to bring their best, as the Kings did last night. The Cavs are also playing really well, sitting at 4th in the league in FG%, 11th in AST, 4th in PPG and they’re taking care of the ball, sitting 17th in the league in TOV. And they’re doing it without Tristan Thompson and Derrick Rose. So there is something to be said for the streak, it’s just the quality of the wins that come off as unimpressive.
Sixers send Okafor to Brooklyn for Trevor Booker
CB: The Philadelphia 76ers have finally cut ties with the No. 3 overall pick of the 2015 draft, Jahlil Okafor, sending him to the Nets along with Nik Stauskas and a second round pick. Brooklyn sends forward Trevor Booker in return. I’m a big fan of this deal. Okafor finally gets out of the painfully awful situation he was in in Philly, as he barely got any playing time, as the team decided Joel Embiid would be their star center, and I’m a big fan of Stauskas, so I’m glad he will go to a team like the Nets who could use his sharpshooting abilities. And of course the Sixers get a decent role player in Booker who can come off the bench and rebound the ball effectively, and be a key contributor on the second unit. I definitely think both teams came out better after this trade.
Player of the Night
Kevin Durant – 35 PTS, 11 REB, 10 AST in win VS Hornets
That’ll do it for today’s Rundown! Come back tomorrow where we’ll discuss the top stories from around The Association.