The big news in the NBA this week, among some other smaller stories, undoubtedly has to do with the fact that the Golden State Warriors are no longer undefeated. A 96% winning percentage through 25 games will have to do for their fans as GS dropped a contest on Saturday after playing back-to-back road games on back-to-back nights, often a recipe for failure for NBA teams. However, the Warriors remain 24-1, they have a 9.5-game lead in the Pacific, and they will be returning home shortly as we look around the Association.
The other division leaders out west include both San Antonio and Oklahoma City. The Spurs remain undefeated at home, and they have opened up a comfortable lead in the Southwest at 6.5 games over Dallas. While San Antonio have been fairly consistent through the whole season thus far, OKC only finally started to assert themselves as the best team in their division recently. The Thunder have won five straight now to open up a 5-game lead over second-place Utah in the Northwest.
In the Eastern Conference, everything is still close. The Toronto Raptors are winners of four straight, but they have just a 1.5-game lead over the Boston Celtics in the Atlantic. The Charlotte Bobcats are surprising division leaders in the Southeast, as Miami are a step back of the pace. Meanwhile the Cleveland Cavaliers, a team that might be well over-rated, are front-runners in the Central Division.
The Cavaliers were actually the pre-season betting favorites to win the NBA championship. However, that is a point that is long forgotten with the emergence of the Warriors. Lebron James is currently fifth in scoring in the NBA, and it’s considered a no-brainer now that Steph Curry is the best player in the league. Sekou Smith, for example, writing at NBA.com earlier this week, headlined his opinion on the matter: “On a planet of his own, Curry is light years ahead of peers” (December 11th, 2015). The season is longer than 25 games, much longer, but at this point, it is a no-brainer that Curry, averaging 32 points per game, is the front-runner for the MVP Award.
Other statistic leaders include Andre Drummond, Rajon Rondo, and Kyle Lowry. Drummond, the big rebounder for the Detroit Pistons, is pulling down 16.4 boards per game with his team still playing alright overall at 14-11. Rondo, who faced a suspension this week for remarks made toward an official, is averaging 11 assists per game for the Sacramento Kings, a team that is just 9-15. Meanwhile, Lowry leads the Association in steals as a part of the Toronto Raptors at 2.4 per game.
Mid-season games aren’t always the most interesting ones, and the end of the Golden State streak takes some of the NBA’s intrigue away at the moment. However, key games this week include Cleveland at Boston on Tuesday night at 7:30 pm ET (SportsNet). The Warriors still have a home winning streak active, and they be back in action on Wednesday at 10:30 pm ET when they host Phoenix (ESPN).