NBA scores 2017: The Celtics are so easy to root for, and 6 more things from Wednesday night
The Boston Celtics deserve to be fun as hell. After the tragic Gordon Hayward injury on opening night, and two losses to open the season, Boston has rattled off 10 straight victories. It has propelled them to the leagueâs best record, 10-2, while receiving huge contributions from a rookie and a second-year player. Itâs all great fun.
Kyrie Irving is the one who brings this roster together, though. It wasnât his best game on Wednesday, but his 19 points included enough highlight plays to remain true to the player he is. How can you not enjoy a player doing this?!
Cheat code activated pic.twitter.com/HTMeIvE8vhâ" Boston Celtics (@celtics) November 9, 2017
Boston is historically unlikable for a long list of reasons, especially their long list of success. But SB Nationâs Charlotte Wilder, a Boston native, is just one of many people invested in the Celtics who has gone through this roller coaster over the past three weeks. Haywardâs injury means that Boston isnât exactly the team that we all envisioned they would be, but theyâve quickly proven that theyâre just as interesting to watch.
It was so enjoyable to watch these guys jam. They were turning basketball into the graceful dance it becomes when players are so in step with each other that it looks like theyâre moving to music only they can hear.
What Iâm trying to say is: There was hope.
Boston won on Wednesday despite Al Horfordâs abse nce with a concussion, and despite Jayson Tatum missing the second half with a minor ankle injury. This team, at least for now, has transcended the usual Boston hate and become legitimately fun to root for and watch. I sure think so, anyway.
Whatâs a realistic outcome for Boston this season?
Boston is 10-2, but they almost certainly wonât finish with the NBAâs best record. That will be the Golden State Warriors, who handled the temporarily absence of Kevin Durant on Wednesday night gracefully, blowing out Minnesota all the same. The Warriors are only one game back of Boston, and they wonât slip up.
Thereâs no reason to think the Celtics wonât be the best team in the Eastern Conference, though. There are concerns: health, a rookie wall for Tatum (and perhaps something similar for Jaylen Brown), and their lack of big man depth catching up to them. Those will eventually rear their head. But Boston can feast against a weaker Eastern Conference.
Clevelandâs situation is complicated, but I simply cannot doubt LeBron James. Boston can take the top seed in the East, but especially without Hayward, itâs still clear that Jamesâ team is the heavy favorite to make it to the Finals. Thatâs OK â" Boston is built for the future, and the rest of this is just icing.
The Eastâs two surprise teams won again
Detroit is now 8-3. Orlando, right behind them, are 7-4. While they werenât playing premiere competition, but had impressive wins on Wednesday. Both teams clearly look like theyâre here to stay.
Elfrid Payton is back, and he had a steady 11-point, 11-assist, six-rebound evening. Aaron Gordonâs three-point stroke still looks great â" he hit 4-of-6 on Wednesday. Thereâs a lot to like with this Magic roster.
As for the Pistons, their 114-97 was filled with great games â" and one unfortunate omen. You know how Andre Drummond suddenly became a good free throw shooter this season? He was 0- of-7 on Wednesday, even with a free throw form that actually looks much better. Yikes.
Do the Warriors even need Kevin Durant?
Wednesday was another reminder that KD on the Warriors is the ultimate cherry-on-top of any basketball team ever. They need him, kind of. If he went out for the season tomorrow, though, the Warriors still might be title favorites. The margins would just be slimmer.
Anyway, Durant missed Wednesdayâs game against Minnesota with a minor injury and Golden State looked bad for all of one quarter, where they scored only 22 points. After that, they outscored the Timberwolves by 24 points the rest of the way. It makes sense â" Minnesota may have been 7-3 coming into this game, but they had won too many close games for that pace to be sustainable barring real improvements in their play. Iâm still slightly concerned about them. Their offensive spacing, for one, still isnât all that great.
Steve Kerr: great coach, better m edia man
I always remind people that Kerr worked in the media for a few years as a broadcaster when he manages to have great moments like this.
One play from Wednesday that I loved
No mercy from Hassan Whiteside, including an all-time stare down. (Despite this misstep, though, I think Suns rookie Mike James is solid.)
.@youngwhiteside lets that one sink in... pic.twitter.com/EUv2yuiVmUâ" NBA TV (@NBATV) November 9, 2017
One play from Wednesday that I did not love
This might be the worst jump ball of all time?
Wednesdayâs final scores
Pistons 114, Pacers 97 (Detroit Bad Boys recap | Indy Cornrows recap)
Magic 112, Knicks 99 (Orlando Pinstriped Post recap | Posting & Toasting recap)
Celtics 107, Lakers 96 (Celtics Blog recap | Silver Screen & Roll recap)
Heat 126, Suns 115 (Hot Hot Hoops recap | Bright Side of the Sun recap)
Warriors 125, Timberwolves 101 (Golden State of Mind recap | Canis Hoopus recap)
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