Most Important Game of the Week
Cavs vs Rockets
8pm ET Thursday on TNT
It’s early yet, but at 5-6 the Cavs are in a three-way tie for the eighth seed, and are desperately in need of some wins. Isaiah Thomas is still out with a busted hip and now Tristan Thompson is out for about a month with a calf strain. On Thursday, they head to Houston to face James Harden and the Rockets, who are 8-3 atop the Western Conference despite the fact that Chris Paul hasn’t played since suffering a knee contusion in the opener. There’s obviously no such thing as a must-win game in November, but a victory in for the Cavs in Houston would be a huge boost to their pride and would put them at .500 for the first time since October 24.
Most Interesting Match Up
Lakers vs Celtics
8pm ET Wednesday on ESPN
The Celtics lost free agent star forward Gordon Hayward to a gruesome injury six minutes into the season opener before dropping their first two games. But, they haven’t lost since, making them the proud owners of the best record in the NBA at 9-2.
Kyrie Irving’s been his All-Star self while Coach Brad Stevens continues to demand hustle on defense and the glass with rookie Jayson Tatum and sophomore Jaylen Brown each averaging 14-6. The Lakers are nearing the final stages of rebuilding mode and though they stumbled out of the gate, they’ve won three of four games to bring their record to .500. Rookie Lonzo Ball has struggled, shooting just .299 from the field, but he’s averaging 6.9 apg and 6.4 rpg. We can give him a break, though — what were you doing two weeks after you’re 20th birthday? It would be great if Celtics vs. Lakers could, again, become a marquee match up, and Wednesday may prove to be a sneak peek of what’s ahead. Just for fun, here’s Gordon Hayward draining a 30-footer from a chair.
Biggest Off-Court Move
Eric Bledsoe traded to the Milwaukee Bucks
Bledsoe’s tenure in Phoenix was fraught with a lot of injuries and a lot of losing, though he did establish himself as a guard who can average 18-4-6 a night. Late last season, the Suns announced he had a sore knee and shut him down for the final 15 games – in reality, he was “100 percent healthy” and the Suns were simply tanking to improve their draft status. It worked as they went 2-13 and wound up with the fourth pick in the draft, which they used to take Josh Jackson out of Kansas. After starting 0-3, the Suns fired coach Earl Watson, news of which broke just an hour after Bledsoe tweeted “I don’t want to be here.” And so he’s been shipped off to Milwaukee to play alongside the league’s brightest young star, New York Times cover boy Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Los Angeles Lakers vs Boston Celtics
8pm ET on ESPN
Minnesota Timberwolves vs Golden State Warriors
10:30pm ET on ESPN
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Houston Rockets
8pm ET on TNT
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Denver Nuggets
10:30pm ET on TNT
Milwaukee Bucks vs San Antonio Spurs
9pm ET on ESPN