Celtics Thrive, Cavs Dive: Your Early NBA Season Update

David Minster, Senior Sports Editor

Within the span of one week, the star-studded Cleveland Cavaliers lost to both the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets. Who could have predicted that King James and the Kyrie Irving-less Cavs would struggle this much right out of the gate? After an eventful offseason in which the Cavaliers acquired Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose, the team sits under .500 and is out of the playoff picture (even though it is still early in the season). A struggling Cavaliers squad is a dream come true for the rest of the league, but until Isaiah Thomas returns from his hip injury, we cannot look too deep into the Cavaliers’ recent woes. Although we expect more of LeBron James and the 2016 NBA Champs, nothing during the regular season matters because Lebron always takes over come playoff time.

Even though regular season-Lebron and playoff-Lebron are basically two different people, Lebron will have a tougher route to the Finals, especially with the new-look Celtics dominating the East. Sitting atop the conference, the Celtics look poised for a championship run. The Celtics have won nine straight games for the first time since 2010, when Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo made the team perennial contenders. The 2017-2018 Celtics have the perfect balance of crafty veterans, like Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, and talented youngsters, like Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Will the East just be another Cavaliers-Celtics battle? Or can another team, like the Toronto Raptors or Washington Wizards, shake up the conference? The Cavaliers’ slow start shows that they have their flaws; it’s just whether or not the rest of the East can exploit them.

In the West, the Golden State Warriors still run the conference, but it is the revamped Houston Rockets, Minnesota Timberwolves and Oklahoma City Thunder grabbing headlines. The Rockets look like a viable competitor to both the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs. After losing Chris Paul to a knee bruise in his first game with the team, the Rockets continue to win behind James Harden, who put up an absurd 56 points and 13 assists the other night against the Utah Jazz. The young Minnesota Timberwolves are also making a name for themselves in the West, led by Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins. After acquiring All-Star Jimmy Butler, Jamal Crawford and Jeff Teague, the Wolves are trying to make some noise this season. While they might not win the conference this year, the Timberwolves could be a top seed in the near future. Unlike the Timberwolves and the Rockets, the Oklahoma City Thunder have not found their groove yet. With a trio of 2017 NBA MVP Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George, the Thunder have yet to mesh. On paper, this team is dangerous, but will these three All-Stars find a way to efficiently play together? Only time will tell, but even if Russ, Melo and PG-13 learn to play together, will it be enough to dethrone the Golden State Warriors?  It’s unlikely that the

Oklahoma Thunder will surpass the Golden State Warriors even with their new additions because Golden State has more All-Stars than the Thunder. The beginning to the 2017-2018 NBA season has been action-packed and hopefully this momentum continues throughout the rest of the year.

Contact David Minster at [email protected].