By Albert Luna
As of now, it’s still around. Possibly it might not end until the new year, or it could be this week. I’m talking about the Golden State Warriors’ winning streak. It is currently at 22 games, and 25 games if you go back to last season. However, the Warriors making history is just one of the big storylines that have been dominating the NBA of late. Here are some other things you may like and dislike, plus power rankings.
Like: The San Antonio Spurs flying under the radar
The Spurs are 17-4, and are still somehow getting absolutely no attention at this point in the season. That is largely in part due to the Warriors simply leaving them in the dust with their historic win streak. But it’s OK, if anything the Warriors’ success has taken off any pressure of San Antonio to perform up to the level of what many believe is a championship team this year. Star LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard have officially become the two best players on a team that has three other hall of famers. The Spurs are transitioning, and it seems this era might be just as dominant as the past Tim Duncan-era.
Don’t Like: Excuses for the Cavs
The Cleveland Cavaliers are in the midst of a three-game losing streak, which is their first of the season by far. On Saturday night, the Cavs, just one day removed from a somewhat embarrassing defeat at the hands of the Pelicans, rested star LeBron James in his second return to the city of Miami since he left the Heat in 2014. This seemed like a poorly timed moment to rest James but a great time to see how Kevin Love, the third star on the team, would respond with #23 and Kyrie Irving both out. He scored only five points the whole night. As the Cavs sit at 13-7 and in second place in the conference, many are pointing out that this is a weak Cavs team. I beg to differ. In my opinion, this is a team that LeBron helped assemble, everyone there he wanted there, this is all on him. The biggest thing to remember is that these Cavs are the same that got the team to the playoffs earlier this calendar year.
Like: Charlotte Hornets
Not enough people are noticing this year’s Hornets. Who can blame them? After making the playoffs in 2014 and giving the Heat a somewhat competitive sweep, it seemed the Bobcats-turned-Hornets were ready to make the leap into being a solid, consistent playoff team. That did not transpire as they underachieved miserably and missed the playoffs last year. This year, however, (after getting rid of Lance Stephenson and Noah Vonleh and replacing them with Nicholas Batum and Jeremy Lin) they have picked up some solid wins this far. Although they may not be elite in the East, they have established themselves as a pleasant surprise of the early season.
- Golden State Warriors–22-0 is no joke. Even if they lose this entire week, they’ll still be the number one team next week, so there is really no threat here anytime soon.
- San Antonio Spurs–As noted above, the Spurs are 17-4 and still not getting any attention, and that’s just how this franchise likes it.
- Oklahoma City Thunder–Despite being 12-8, the Thunder are a team that looks like they officially have an on and off switch, meaning they play winning basketball and try 100 percent only when they want to. The next step is learning how to use it.
- Cleveland Cavaliers–Despite being behind the Heat in the standings, I’m giving the Cavs the benefit of the doubt here, as long as LeBron James can shake some sense into his disappointing bench.
- Miami Heat–The Heat are just a few hiccup games away from being an elite team in the league this year. All they need is Goran Dragic to regain the buzz that once surrounded him.
- Indiana Pacers–The Pacers wasted a career-high 48 points from Paul George this week as they lost to the Jazz. However, this team has been nothing short of spectacular offensively, but Monta Ellis’ poor start does draw some concern.
- Atlanta Hawks–The “Spurs of the East” have done a nice job getting production out of their starters, with the one exception being Kyle Korver not playing anywhere near the level he did a year ago, in which he made the all-star team.
- Chicago Bulls–Something about the Bulls just seems to throw me off. It could be the inconsistency on offense, but with a new head coach, it feels like nothing has really changed. They still sit alone at third place in the conference in standings.
- Memphis Grizzlies– Just the third team from the West to make it on here. I think that speaks more about the East this year than anything else, but the Grizzlies’ bench is slowly improving.
- Charlotte Hornets–As written above, the Hornets are a nice surprise at this point in the season. A few road wins would propel them possibly higher in this list.
Be sure to check back next week, same time, for the latest installment of the NBA column.
Albert Luna may be reached at ALuna32@NMSU.edu
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