Way Out West- 12.10.18

By: Thomas Capo
Posted: December 11, 2018

All’s OK in OKC?

Yeah. It is. The Thunder are playing some D and they can get their points from people other than Russell Westbrook when teams sell out to stop him. They lead the association in defensive rating and steals per game, are third in rebounds per game, and are top five in net rating and second chance points. Paul George went off for 47 points against the Nets this week. Again, behold the possibilities of simply getting rid of Carmelo Anthony… They’re on top of the West standings for the moment, but will face a tough stretch with the Pelicans, Nuggets and Clippers over the next few nights.

Lookout West- Golden State heard y’all talking…

As if they heard the chattering of their conference after the Draymond Green/Kevin Durant kerfuffle, the kings of the West have asserted themselves again, reeling off four-straight wins, and seven of their last ten. They lead the league in assists, field goal percentage, three-point percentage and offensive rating. Steph Curry has hit over HALF of his three pointers thus far this season. If he keeps that up, forget about it. They’re also already second in the league in blocks…with the specter of Boogie Cousins lurking. I can’t say I know exactly how he’ll fit in when he returns later this year, but you can bet he’ll be a big part of neutralizing big men come playoff time. They’ll test their playoff bona fides tomorrow against the East leading Raptors.

Denver is Mile-High… I’m not even Jokic

That’s one Nikola Jokic pun. One. I’ll make at least 5-6 more of those before the season ends. They might get worse as the season goes on, but he’s getting better. The big man is improving his well-rounded game, on pace for points, rebounds and assists all above his career averages. The key to Denver’s success thus far has been a more balanced attack and better guard play away from him. They’ve gotten that from Jamal Murray, who leads the team in PPG, among others. They’ll have a rough week coming up, though, facing the leaders of both conferences in Toronto and OKC.

The Pelicans aren’t Soaring, yet

Anthony Davis may be a transcendent talent, but if he can’t stay on the court, it won’t matter much. He dinged up his hip against the Pistons, but the Pelicans still lead the league in second chance points and points in the paint. That front court is tough to cover, it doesn’t matter if Davis is paired with Mirotic or Julius Randle. At the end of the day, the Pelicans can only go as far as Davis takes them, but they’ll need to lock it down on defense, they rank 24th in the league in defensive efficiency.

Image Source: Getty

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