Timberwolves

Top 10 Tidbits in the NBA: Celtics Still Contending for No. 1?

There is plenty to learn from a busy week of basketball and a wealth of storylines to draw from. As for the home team, the Timberwolves seemed to have found a rhythm on offense, while the defense has slowly but surely come along. This is the what, who and why to watch this week in basketball.

Timberwolves Schedule

  • Nov. 20 – @ Charlotte
  • Nov. 22 – vs. Orlando
  • Nov. 24 – vs. Miami
  • Nov. 26 – vs. Phoenix

Timberwolves making the extra pass. Most of the team has done this, but Jeff Teague and Jimmy Butler are the top offenders of keeping the motion alive in their last three games. When they feel pressure on a possession to produce points, they try to take the shot playing isolation.

The Timberwolves offense always looks better making that third or fourth pass to get the shooter wide open. Winning as a team, with plenty of assists is what the team has to come back to in crisis.

Look for Jeff Teague to get hot. Teague has always been able to play the Charlotte Hornets well, posting three seasons in which he shot for over 50 percent from three against the team. After three points in the Detroit game, Teague can use a matchup he relishes against the Hornets to re-spark his hot hand from deep.

Timberwolves finding revenge. After an embarrassing loss to the Suns, the Timberwolves should be extra motivated in trying to crush the visiting team from the desert.

The Timberwolves have plenty of reasons to go out and run up the score on this bad roster, with a fire leader like Butler to head the charge. Yet again, it is a game that is a win on paper, but a game last season’s Timberwolves struggle with and lose. Proving the growth of the team in home wins like this is important.

The Joel Embiid show. Embiid became the first player in NBA history to drop 46 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists along with seven blocks. On top of that, the 76ers took a 22-point lead on the Golden State Warriors in the first half of their clash. They eventually fell to the defending champs, but their fight to get a big lead was impressive nonetheless.

Whether they play Houston, the Warriors or either Los Angeles team, the 76ers are must-watch TV. Rookie Ben Simmons is a stunning passer and rim threat while Embiid is turning into the NBA’s next great superstar. Do not miss the show, because they are in every game.

Jaylen Brown is really good. Speaking of young talent, watch Boston’s Brown.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipj88tTnKoU

Is Boston still a top seed contender? After a 110-99 victory over Atlanta, the Celtics winning streak moved to 15 games, the fifth best streak in franchise history. Following the injury to Gordon Hayward, the assumption was that the Celtics would have to grab the best seed left over from Washington, Cleveland and Toronto.

However, the Celtics have had young stars move to the forefront and shine. Brown, Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart have all contributed in big ways. But it has not just been the youth on the Celtics; wily veterans Al Horford and Marcus Morris have been key to the roster as well. Of course new All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving has also given this offense another gear. But still, the question remains: How far can they take the streak?

Can Kyrie be enough? This will be the last Celtics storyline. After the Hayward injury, the biggest question was how Irving would respond when receiving the full weight oh his team. After declaring that he wanted to free himself from the shadow of LeBron James, he has thrived in Boston.

Irving may still have a reputation as a defensive liability, and has yet to really destroy a team with jaw dropping numbers in an offensive performance, but he is a big reason they are 15-2. His offensive prowess and smooth, silky ball handling is a joy to watch. He is controlling the offense, perfectly comfortable with the responsibility of it running through him. He is averaging 20.9 points and 5.3 assists, while adding 1.7 steals to his defense. Irving is proving that he has a big enough chip on his shoulder to carry the lead the Celtics to a top seed.

 

Game to watch: Portland vs. Washington Nov. 25. The Portland Trail Blazers backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum is a three point barrage that can strike with speed. On the other side, the Washington Wizards duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal may be one of the best one two punch scoring backcourts in basketball. Scoring will not be an issue.

Game to watch: Golden State vs. Oklahoma City Nov. 22. The Oklahoma City Thunder are starting to find a rhythm in their All-Star trio of Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook. Time to put it to the test hosting the reigning champions.

Best Play of the Week: Pascal Siakam.¬†Kyle Lowry may have been furious he didn’t get a call on his drive, but his young teammate was there to clean it up.


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