Welcome to The Rundown! Today, we take a look at the top stories from around the league, pick our Player of the Night and make predictions for tonight’s action.
LeBron and the Cavs come on top in New York
Nick Billion: This game drew some extra attention last night as the Knicks felt they had something to prove after LeBron spoke about how the Knicks should’ve drafted Dennis Smith Jr. over Frank Ntilikina. Throughout the game it looked as if the Knicks made their statement, but the Cavs got the last laugh as they escaped with the win. Cavs showing they are capable of coming back and closing out games, which is why they will likely bounce back from a rough start to the season.
Craig Brallier: I know LeBron said his remarks weren’t meant to insult Ntilikina, but if I’m the young guard, it’s hard to see it that way. I loved the way the Knicks were playing last night, playing well on the defensive end, and taking advantage of Cleveland’s poor defense. In the end, LeBron went full “Heel” and ended up having yet another memorable night at The Garden.
Big games from Teague, Butler and Towns propel Wolves over Jazz
NB: Without Gobert, I expected to see the Jazz struggle on defense, and that seemed to be the case last night as Jeff Teague, Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns had themselves a night. This team has great potential and with Wiggins always being a threat as well, watch out for the Timberwolves. They are looking to make the playoffs, a goal that is very likely for this group.
CB: With Butler and Towns, we know they’re capable of big games, so that is no surprise, but for Teague, I feel like people forget he’s a former All-Star. Without Rudy Gobert, the lane was wide open, and they didn’t have anyone to match on offense, so the outcome was expected. For Minnesota to live up to its full potential, they need Jeff Teague to be effective, so I like that he had a chance to have a big game and build up his confidence.
Clarkson leads Lakers
NB: We’ve covered the Lakers multiple times on The Rundown this season with the focus being on Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma. I think it’s time to add another name to the list, as Jordan Clarkson had a huge game in the victory in the victory over the Suns last night, dropping 25 points in 26 minutes off of the bench. Averaging just over 15 points this season, I think Clarkson is a player who shouldn’t get overlooked on this team.
CB: Jordan Clarkson is really fun to watch. A steal a few years ago in the second round of the draft, Clarkson has Russell Westbrook-like qualities, with his ruthless ability to attack the basket, and his jump shot that seems to improve every year, he has a lot of qualities that could make him a star. I don’t think it’ll take too long before someone sees his star quality and makes him a starter on another team.
Warriors win without Steph Curry
NB: The Warriors are on a seven game win streak after beating the Magic last night, a win that was done without Stephen Curry. With Thompson, Durant and Green you’d expect this team to still be able to win, and they did. Credit Shaun Livingston who got the start and ended with 16 points. Livingston is always a solid player off of the bench for this team, and he was able to bring that effectiveness to the starting lineup.
CB: I’ve loved Shaun Livingston’s game since he made his triumphant return to the Nets five or so years ago. His mid range jumper always seems to go in, and he’s really crafty with the basketball. But, this is a team that can win games no matter who is out on any given night, and even if Curry were to stub his toe on the coffee table, I’d give him the night off. He makes this team, and there’s no question about that, and I would take no risks with him and give no chances to hurt himself further, so it’s awesome to know you have a guy like Livingston when you need him.
Young Sixers have big games
NB: This team is full of young potential, which is clear to see. Names like Embiid and Simmons come to mind. Future All-Stars in the making. Adding Robert Covington to the conversation and all three had a huge night in the narrow win over the Clippers last night. The Process is looking bright for this team, and I have to say, I like where they’re going. Simmons looks as if he might be a league leader sooner than later. This team likely has a playoff run in the their future.
CB: Before this season, I was constantly talking the 76ers up to Nick, telling him that they’ve got next. A lot of people told me I’m crazy. But without seeing Ben Simmons play a single NBA game, and Joel Embiid only playing 30 or so, I knew what they’d bring to the table. I also ejoyed Robert Covington in the past few years in Philly and when all three of these guys have big games they’ll be tough to beat, as the Clippers learned last night. Can you imagine what they’re going to be like when they finally get Markelle Fultz?
Player of the Night
NB: Joel Embiid – 32 PTS, 16 REB, 55% from the field in win VS Clippers
CB: Giannis Antetokounmpo – 27 PTS, 9 REB, 7 AST in win VS Grizzlies
Predictions for tonight
That’ll do it for today’s Rundown! Come back tomorrow for the top stories from around The Association.