Way Out West- 12.18.18

Is Houston off the mat?

Honestly, I’m not sure. A sound thrashing of the Jazz aside, Houston has looked uneven at best thus far. For a team that put Golden State’s back to the wall last season, it hasn’t been a pretty start. Sure, they’ve won four-straight to get above .500, but they’re still losing more than they’ve won on the road, and Harden trails both KD and LeBron in the scoring race thus far. A stout 47 points against the Jazz helped his cause, but I’m not sure they’re getting enough from other dudes to make a run like they did last year. This team was built to take a shot at the champs, and last year, they did. The question is can they stay with them.  They’re still hitting the most threes per game, but they aren’t in the top five percentage-wise. That type of inefficiency won’t keep their heads above water for an entire season.

Curry hits a big 3, and a big number

As the Warriors gapped Memphis 100-93, Steph Curry and crew kept pace with Denver. In typical nonchalant Curry fashion, he hit a looooong three off the dribble without missing a beat, becoming the fifth Warrior to score 15,000 pts. He’s done it quickly, too. Only one person has made it to that milestone faster in a Dubs uni. That player’s name: Wilt Chamberlain. So, there’s that.

Durant passes Larry Legend

Not to be outdone, Kevin Durant hit a milestone of his own against the Grizzlies, scoring 23 points to pass a childhood hero, Boston’s Larry Bird. It’s a bit of a downer from a numerological standpoint, because it means that number 33 is no longer the league’s # 33 all-time scorer, but 34 th ain’t bad either. When he was told that he had surpassed one of the all-time greats, Durant had this to say:

“I grew up watching Larry Bird — well not really, he’s older, but you know what I mean? Knowing the legend of Larry Legend, to be amongst the greats, that’s all you really want to do. That’s a great accomplishment, but I got to keep going.”

Way to twist the knife there, KD. Gotta bump his spot AND call him old in the same breath? Harsh. Durant will climb the ranks a bit more, as he’s likely to catch Gary Payton for 32 nd any day now.

The Battle for L.A. is back on

I’m not saying it’s over. It’s not, not by a long shot. But the Lakers, despite a 128-110 road loss to the Wizards last night, are sitting six games over .500 and in case you’ve missed it…they have LeBron. The Clippers have enjoyed some unaccustomed popularity the past few years, and they’re certainly still in the mix, but after dropping four-straight, they are, yet again, the worst basketball team that plays in Tinsel Town. It’s going to be interesting to see who can make it through the grind, but both are undefeated in the Pacific Division and well above .500 in the tough Western Conference. There’s a good chance both teams make the playoffs, and the basketball god just HAVE to give us that series, right? It might not matter in the end, though. With LeBron in the purple and gold, the battle for the hearts and minds of the people of Southern California might be a foregone conclusion.

Image Source: USA Today

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