Thanksgiving week in the NBA was eventful as many teams began to find their legs in the regular season. There seems to be no clear favourite this year with 9-10 teams with the potential to win it all. Below are some of the biggest storylines from the past week, including a list of the top teams thus far.
Lebron First to 39,000 Points
Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James extended his record for the most points in NBA history, reaching yet another milestone in his legendary career on Tuesday night. He became the first player to score 39,000 career points.
The moment occurred during the first quarter of the Lakers’ 131-99 win against the Utah Jazz at home. Lebron hit a three-pointer to bring up the milestone. James had previously broken the all-time mark of 38,387 which had been held for years by Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. If Lebron continues at his current pace he should reach 40,000 points by the end of the season.
With Lebron’s historic night the Lakers were also able to seal their place in the in-season tournament. They are 4-0 in in-season tournament qualifiers and are currently at the top of the West A Group.
Popovich Goes Off On San Antonio Fans
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich scolded his home fans for booing ex-Spurs star Kawhi Leonard on Wednesday night. Leonard, who is now a Los Angeles Clipper, was booed by his old fans while shooting free throws.
Popovich walked up to the courtside microphone and announced to the whole arena, saying “Excuse me for a second. Can we stop all the booing and let these guys play? It’s got no class. It’s not who we are. Knock off the booing.”
Leonard had previously won a championship with the Spurs in 2014 but had left the team in 2018. Despite Popovich’s comments to fans the hostility towards Leonard continued throughout the evening.
In the end the Spurs lost the game, their 10th in a row, 109-102. Leonard was the game’s leading scorer with 26 points to go along with four rebounds and four assists.
After the game Popovich had the following comment in the post-game interview, “Anybody who knows anything about sports knows you don’t poke the bear,”
San Antonio fell to 3-12 on the season, while the Clippers won their third straight game to move to 6-7.
Warriors Continue to Struggle
The Golden State Warriors have lost 8 of their last 10 games. This seems almost impossible with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green all healthy and available for action. Many believed Golden State would be one of the leaders in the West entering the season.
Unfortunately at 7-9, the Warriors currently sit in 11th place in the Western Conference. It’s still early for the Warriors but with the pedigree that they currently possess on the team it must be worrying that they haven’t clicked yet.
The team will likely need to tighten up on the defensive end to have success. The Warriors however have one of the oldest and smallest teams in the NBA currently, different to top teams in the West right now who are bigger, younger and more explosive.
The way back for Golden State seems to be their shooting. WIth some of the greatest shooters of all-time in your ranks there is always the chance to put up big numbers if they get hot.
Timberwolves Surprising Surge
The Minnesota TImberwolves have been the biggest surprise of the season, with a 11-3 record to lead the West. Much of the team’s success can be attributed to Rudy Gobert’s excellent play on the defensive end. He has been able to turn back time to once again become a dynamic, one-man defense which puts fear in those who attempt to enter the paint.
Anthony Edwards is also looking like an All-NBA player with Karl-Anthony Towns dropping a team-leading 25.4 points while shooting 50.0 percent from three over his past eight games.