Pascal Siakam will be an Eastern Conference All-Star this season.
There were many takeaways from The NBA’s opening night. For one, 2018-2019’s Most Improved Player was dominant before fouling out in the Raptors’ 130-122 victory. He scored 34 points, added 18 rebounds, and chipped in 5 assists. He became the first Raptor to record a 30-10-5 stat line since Vince Carter all the way back on December 7th of 2001. Siakam will grab a ton of rebounds and start the break on his own this year. Nick Nurse, the head coach of the Raptors, is giving his best player a ton of freedom within the offense. This kind of production will be impossible to sustain over the course of 82, but last night was a sign of things to come for the 25 year-old Pascal Siakam.
The New Orleans Pelicans will be a Western Conference force for years to come.
The Pelicans, minus Zion Williamson, nearly squeaked out a victory against the NBA champs. This team is not ready to compete in the Western Conference yet, but they are so exciting to watch. With some good performances across the board for the Pels, I was most impressed with the fluidity of Brandon Ingram’s game. I believe he was misused last year by Luke Walton when he spent the final stretch of the year playing point guard. He’s a 6’8 rangy forward, not a playmaker. He poured in 22 points yesterday, and for the most part, his mid-range game as well as his slashing looked elite. You should be watching this team, even while they are without Zion, because they are just a joy to watch for any basketball fan.
The battle of LA has arrived, and it is real!
The energy in the Staples Center last night was just electric. There was so much hype heading into the game. It was a home game for the Clippers but it did not feel that way throughout. As the reigning finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard stepped to the line for the home team, he was showered with boos. Yup, that’s right, boos in his hometown. He remained calm and collected as he usually does, and guided the Clippers to victory. Many may have believed that the Lakers held the advantage due to the absence of Paul George. The Clippers’ depth reigned supreme with strong contributions from Kawhi with 30, Lou Williams with 21 as well as Montrezl Harrell who chipped in 17 points and 7 boards. I can’t understate the importance of the always disruptive Patrick Beverley who at 6’1 grabbed 10 rebounds.
Kawhi Leonard is healthy and poised for another deep postseason run.
Last postseason, Kawhi was battling a knee injury throughout the Eastern Conference Finals and the Finals. He was playing exceptional basketball but he needed his teammates to step up, and they did. Leonard now resides in LA and has two healthy knees. He soared for a slam dunk last night with 6:30 remaining in the first half, you could tell his elevation was exceptional. Leonard, not known for his exceptional leaping ability, got way up on that left-handed slam.
Last night’s dominance.
He was dominant and efficient throughout the entirety of the game. His scoring was incredible as usual, he scored 30 points on 10/19 from the field. His rebounding is great as he grabbed 6 boards. The one part of his game that left something to be desired was his playmaking. After last night, he looks to have taken yet another leap by dishing out 5 assists, way above his career average of 2.4. It’s only game 1 of 82, but Kawhi Leonard is looking like the King of LA for the foreseeable future.
This upcoming regular season could be the most exciting one ever.
Just 2 games into the year, I cannot contain my excitement. There are at least 6 legitimate title threats, and the regular season will finally have some parity. The obvious favourites are either the Clippers or the Lakers, but it is not as clear-cut as you think. The Rockets, Nuggets, Sixers, Bucks, Blazers, Jazz, and to a certain extent the Celtics and the Warriors can all do something special this year. The reason for this is that there are no super-teams. The dominance of the Golden State Warriors over the last 5 seasons has robbed us of an exciting regular season. That will not be the case this year. Teams will not have the luxury of resting their players in the West unless they are okay with sliding a few spots in the standings.
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