Wednesday, November 20th will go down as one of the most monumental days of this NBA season. On this one night, the newest Portland Trail Blazer’s Small Forward Carmelo Anthony made his return to the NBA since being cut by the Rockets over a year ago, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard share the court for the first time against the Celtics, who are first in the East, and last and also least the Warriors’ demise has officially begun.
Carmelo his season off similar to how his last one ended, always shooting and not always making. The Blazers showed their faith in Melo by throwing him in the starting lineup and statisically speaking, he did not repay them. His plus/minus was -20 in his 24 minutes of action, he turned the ball over 5 times, and he shot 4-for-14 from the field in the Blazers loss to the Pelicans. However, he obviously is shaking off the rust and the fact he is in the starting lineup shows the trust that they have in him. Hopefully, the former all-star and scoring champion can prove to be worth the risk the Blazers took on him.
The Warriors picked up where last year’s disappointing finish ended, well disappointing. With no sighting of the Splash Brothers for the remainder of the season and losing Kevin Durant in free agency, that leaves the team in the hands of D’Angelo Russell, who was playing really well until he got injured on Saturday and will be out for at least two weeks, and Draymond Green to steer the ship under Head Coach Steve Kerr. Currently, after their 142-94 loss to Dallas (yes, that is almost a 50 point loss to a team that has lost twice this year to the Knicks) the Warriors are sitting at a pitiful 3-13 and are dead last in the Western Conference. The have the worst defensive rating in the league and are only 21st in offensive rating, when last year they were first. Although this season is looking brutal, there are two reasons for hope if you are a Warriors fan:
- Eric Paschall. He has been PHENOMENAL and has been at times the best active player on this team. His 17.1 points per game and his 4.9 rebounds per game has built a very strong case for himself as the NBA Rookie of the Year as a SECOND ROUND PICK, which he would only be the second in league history.
- Going into next season if everything remains basically the same, the Warriors will have the Splash Brothers (Steph Curry and Klay Thompson), D’Angelo Russell, Draymond Green, Eric Paschall, and a draft pick anywhere between 1-5 (the pick would have been traded to the Nets if it fell outside of the top 20, which it will not.) That pick could potentially be James Wiseman, Lamelo Ball, or Cole Anthony which would bring them right back in contention to win the Western Conference.
Last and this time far from least, the Celtics and Clippers squared off in what was easily the marquee matchup of the night and it did not disappoint. The Celtics came into this game 11-2, 1st in the East and the Clippers were 9-5 and 4th in the West, but were featuring Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the same lineup for the first time all season. In what most are calling the most competitive game of the season thus far, the Clippers pulled this on out in overtime. Jayson Tatum had the moment of the game where his game-tying, ankle breaking, step back three pointer over Paul George (7:48 in video) with 13 seconds left on the clock gave the Celtics all the momentum going into overtime, but the Clippers responded and prevailed 107-104.
Paul George led the way for the Clippers with 25 points and 8 assists, followed by Leonard’s 17 points and 3 assists. Leonard also had 3 steals and 2 blocks as well. Lou Williams chipped in with 27 points of his own with 2 assists. Jayson Tatum played very well shooting 50% from the field and scoring 30 points and snagging 6 rebounds. This game showcased how competitive the NBA is this year, that the NBA Finals are no longer a seemingly foregone conclusion between the Cavaliers and the Warriors. This game could have very well served as a NBA Finals preview or neither team can make it. If every time NBA Finals contending teams in the league meet and battle like this, we are all in store for an excellent NBA season.
Here is the extended highlights from the Celtics vs. Clippers game: