Welcome to The Rundown! Today, we talk about the top stories from over the holiday weekend and make our predictions for tonight’s NBA action.
Celtics streak ends
Nick Billion: While we here on The Rundown were enjoying our holiday, the Celtics were faced with another game that they would have to come back from in order to keep their impressive streak going. However, Miami wasn’t going to let the Celtics bring this one back, as the Heat put an end to their streak. This loss only seemed to motivate the Celtics more, as they are back on the winning side with a two game win streak.
Craig Brallier: In the world of sports today, we love streaks and great teams that seem unbeatable. That’s why we love Alabama football, UCONN women’s basketball, the New England Patriots, etc. So of course everyone was rooting for the Celtics to never lose again, but that just wasn’t likely. Eventually, someone was going to get the job done. But let’s not scream that the sky is falling, this Celtics team is still very good from top to bottom. With Kyrie Irving on the floor, this is team is still very dangerous to the rest of the league.
OKC 4-6 over their last 10
NB: The OKC Thunder are on a two game losing streak, winning only four of their last 10, and currently sit at tenth in the Western Conference, including a loss to the struggling Mavericks. This brings up the question, can the Thunder be a contender this year? My answer is yes. This Thunder team is still trying to figure some things out. It’s still early enough in the season that you expect some struggles. I predict, like the Cavs did, that this team will get to it’s winning ways again. However, I do have a suggestion. Bench Andre Roberson. I feel this team is more effective with Russ, PG, Melo, Patterson and Adams as starters. Roberson just isn’t providing much with scoring and it could be useful if one or more of the big 3 are having an off night.
CB: Super teams are always going to be a toss up. We saw the way things can work out with LeBron and the Heat, and the polar opposite with Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash in Los Angeles. Sometimes the chemistry just isn’t there. That said, I do think this team has potential to succeed, they just need to figure out how to coexist without one player being cancelled out by the other two. They all need to be consistent, because their bench isn’t great. They showed us how good they can be when they blew out the Thunder, but they’ve also had some bad losses. Whether or not they can contend remains to be seen, but they need to figure something out soon.
Raptors quietly having a solid season
NB: Seems like every season this team kind of just sneaks their way into the talk for a top five seed. We have been focusing on the red hot Celtics, Cavs and the young 76ers. That really draws attention away from some of the other teams, but Toronto may have something to say about that. Don’t get me wrong, DeRozan and Lowry make a great pair, so I never count them out, but this team seems to be off to a pretty good start. In their last 10 they’ve managed a 7-3 record and are currently 12-7 on the season. I think this team is worth keeping an eye on because they could slip into a top 3 spot, but likely will be around the 5th seed in the playoffs.
CB: I think we tend to forget about the Raptors because of their inability to get the job done. Ever since they became an elite team, they have yet to prove that they can get over the hump. DeRozan is an excellent scoring guard and Lowry is playing at a high level, but I don’t see these guys being a legit threat come playoff time.
Simmons vs. LeBron part one
NB: Ben Simmons and LeBron James face off for the first time tonight as the Sixers matchup against the Cavs. I think Craig will agree that Simmons is the future of this league so it’ll be interesting to see how he matches up against King James. I anticipate a back and forth between these two. It will be a fun game to keep an eye on. I say to anyone that has a chance, make sure you catch this game.
CB: No question I think Simmons is the future. This is one of the more exciting games for me this season, as we see LeBron James take on Ben Simmons, who is almost a carbon copy of himself. I fully expect them to guard each other and I expect a hell of a game. This is also a great opportunity for the Sixers to see exactly where they stand in the Eastern conference. I think they have an excellent shot to make some waves this season, so I’m going to be watching the role players and Joel Embiid as much as I’m watching Simmons vs. LeBron.
That’ll do it for today’s Rundown! Come back tomorrow where we’ll discuss the top stories from around The Association.