Welcome to The Rundown! Today, we discuss the top stories from around The Association, pick our Player of the Night and make our predictions for tonight’s action.
Andre Drummond’s big night against the Celtics
Nick Billion: Any time you can knock off the Celtics this season, it’s worth talking about, as the Celtics have been on fire to start off the season, making last night’s matchup between Boston and Detroit a fun one. The Pistons got the win backed by 26 points, 22 rebounds and 4 steals from their big man Andre Drummond. This is the Drummond that you want to see, as he was dominating last night. Not only was he scoring, but he was creating shots for others, as he had 6 assists. Also, a great night for Tobias Harris, who had 31 points.
Craig Brallier: Andre Drummond is a lot like Dwight Howard in my book. You can’t expect him to lead your team night in and night out, but every once in a while he has a monster game like this one, and proves that post up players are still relevant. Beating Boston is a huge win for these guys, as they look to continue riding their momentum as long as they possibly can, in hopes that they don’t have the expected fall-off in a few months. But big games from Harris and Drummond will continue to keep them alive.
King James prevails in first matchup against Simmons/76ers
NB: LeBron vs. Simmons, a matchup that was highly anticipated ended with the King on top. James scored 30 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and tallied 6 assists in the win over Philly. On the other side, Simmons had just 10 points. The King may won this round, but if I were the Cavs, I wouldn’t look past this Sixers team. They are coming for the top.
CB: The Cavs did an awesome job of keeping Simmons away from the basket, and making sure he didn’t get to the line. This is really the first time this season we’ve seen Simmons’ one weakness: His lack of a jump shot. Can you imagine how hard it would be to guard the guy if he could shoot the ball well? I assure you it would lead to even more buckets in the paint, but until then, he’s just going to have to figure out how to cope with it. LeBron, as usual, was awesome, refusing to hand over the crown to the up and coming rookie. This Cavs team continues to try and work their way back to the top of the East.
Warriors lose a tight one to the Kings
NB: On a night where both Curry and Durant are out, you’d expect any team to come out on top, or at least bring the fire. That’s exactly what the Kings did last night. This young, struggling team was able to pull out a win against the Warriors, but credit Golden State’s role players and bench who hung in there and almost got the win. Of course, in these situations you’d like to see your other two All-Stars Thompson and Green step up just a little bit more to close out these types of games. Great effort from the Kings who took it to the champs.
CB: Credit the Golden State front office and coaching staff for building a culture and system that can almost beat any team, even when your two top 10 players are out. Don’t get me wrong, the Kings played some of their best basketball of the season, but I’m way more impressed with how well the Warriors played without Curry and Durant.
Is Victor Oladipo for real?
NB: Oladipo continues to have great games for the Pacers, and it raises the question, is he the real deal? My answer is that he has to be. For this Pacers team who decided to move on from Paul George needs a new leader and leading scorer. While it seems Myles Turner is their franchise player, Oladipo has been great for this team and I think he finally found a place where he can be effective. So is he the real deal? He’s what the Pacers NEED to help support their young big man.
CB: We got flashes of how good Oladipo could be during his time in Orlando, but last season in OKC, he was not at all as helpful to the Thunder as they would’ve hoped. But when he gets the ball in his hand, there is no question that he knows what to do with it. He’s great at getting to the basket and as a defender, he’s very tough to deal with. If I’m in the Pacers front office, I’m putting the future on Victor Oladipo’s back.
Player of the Night
Unanimous: Lou Williams – 42 PTS, 14-14 on free throws, 57% FG in win VS. Lakers
That’ll do it for today’s Rundown! Come back tomorrow, where we’ll discuss the top stories from around the NBA.