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The Rundown v102621 – Bulls, Jazz, and Warriors Remain Undefeated; Pistons, Thunder Winless

The Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors, and Utah Jazz are the NBA’s only remaining undefeated teams after the first week of the NBA’s 2021-22 season.

Detroit and Oklahoma City are the league’s last two winless teams.

Golden State, you expect, even without Klay Thompson. An example of home-grown teams with players staying where they were drafted and developing a championship mentality, the Warriors have survived thus far by the development of players like Jordan Poole, Kevon Looney, and Damion Lee. Also the steadiness of a player like Draymond Green. And then there’s that Steph Curry kid … yeah, he still looks like a kid.

I recall seeing Curry his first summer league and razzing him about being old enough to use a razor, much less be in the NBA. Today, he looks like he never found that razor, but the weight room instead. Yeah, he’s cut. You don’t make Paul George dare you to shoot from the logo, and then drain it as effortlessly as you do a free throw without a little muscle.

But what about Utah – how are they in the mix so far? Are we forgetting that this is the same group of guys that set a franchise record for the best start through 26 games at 21-5 just a year ago?

Again, Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic, Royce O’Neale, and then Jordan Clarkson coming off the bench – are you kidding me? Another recipe for success … keeping the same group of guys together with the same coach. It’s amazing how that works.

Then there’s the changed roster that is heads and shoulders above the rest of the league right now – the Chicago Bulls. Far removed from the dumpster fire that was Gar Forman and John Paxson (aka GarPax), the moves that Marc Eversley and Arturas Karnisovas have made to re-shape this roster have thus far proven to be nothing short of magnificent.

DeMar DeRozan. Lonzo Ball. Nikola Vucevic. Alex Caruso. And melding them in with Zach LaVine, Cody White, and Patrick Williams … we haven’t even the maxed potential of this squad yet, as they still work to assimilate lineups and personalities.

No one can argue Ball’s improvement. Thank God he has a hard-headed dad like Lavar Ball; he thinks his boys are the best because he pushes them to be the best. While other people are out farting around all summer, players like Lonzo Ball are working with shooting coaches to improve their range and release, so that they can torch their former team for five of six from downtown.

This wonderment of sports doesn’t last forever – everybody loses their first game. When will it be for Chicago, Golden State or Utah? For one of these teams, it could be as soon as the end of this month … or before.


New York Knicks Oklahoma City Denver
Utah Jazz Memphis @ Houston
@ Boston Oklahoma City @ Chicago
@ Philadelphia Charlotte @ Milwaukee
Philadelphia New Orleans Sacramento
Brooklyn Houston @ Atlanta
Dallas Atlanta @ Miami
@ Golden State Minnesota @ Orlando
@ L.A. Clippers Chicago Atlanta
@ L.A. Lakers @Charlotte Indiana

I firmly think that Chicago has the upper hand here, despite the Warriors’ easy schedule. That next 10 games for Golden State looks so soft, I thought it was an Alabama football schedule. But I don’t think the Bulls lose until they travel to the Bay Area. That puts the Bulls at 10-0, assuming they squeak past Boston and Philly on the road, and I’m only giving them those wins based on momentum.

That’s also where I think Golden State goes down – a game earlier when Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks come to the Chase Center. That’s a 9-0 start through a cake walk of a schedule. Charlotte might surprise them first.

And then there’s Utah, who goes down after the Denver and Houston games, and bites it in Chicago on the 30th of this month (aka this Saturday). Trick or treat indeed.

What are your picks? 

Let me know in the comments at the end of this article, or hit me up on Twitter at @RealTMoneyMedia.


Giannis Antetokuonmpo – 30 points

Giannis Antetokuonmpo – 10 rebounds

Giannis Antetokuonmpo – 9 assists

Malcolm Brogdon – 25 points

Domantas Sabonis – 13 rebounds

Malcolm Brogdon – 7 assists

The Bucks continued their title defense last night on the road in Indianapolis, downing the Indiana Pacers despite having to go without Jrue Holiday, Bobby Portis, and Brook Lopez

Giannis Antetokuonmpo led the Bucks with 30 points, 10 rebounds, and nine rebounds. Khris Middleton added 27 points, five rebounds, and seven assists. Grayson Allen shot .455 and .444 from downtown for his 19 points, and Pat Connaughton finished with 13 points and seven rebounds.

The Pacers fell behind by four, five and six in each of the first three quarters to let the game slip away in front of their home fans. Former Buck Malcolm Brogdon led the Pacers with 25 points, four rebounds, and seven assists. Brogdon has been strong through all four of the Pacers’ games. Domantas Sabonis ended the night with 21 points and 13 rebounds, Chris Duarte had 18, Justin Holiday finished with 12, and Jeremy Lamb came in off the deep bench for 11 in vain.

Pacers at Raptors – Wednesday
Timberwolves at Bucks – Wednesday


Bradley Beal – 19 points

Kyle Kuzma – 13 rebounds

Spencer Dinwiddie – 6 assists

Kevin Durant – 25 points

Blake Griffin – 9 rebounds

James Harden – 9 assists

Bradley Beal returned to the Washington Wizards lineup and the team had their eye on a 3-0 start, but it was a 20 point first quarter to Brooklyn’s 38 points that left the mountain too tall of a hill to climb as they dropped their first game of the season.

Beal scored 19 points on .364 shooting to lead the Wizards, who played their most listless game yet. Daniel Gafford added 13, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Aaron Holiday finished with 11 points apiece. Spencer Dinwiddie and Montrezl Harrell both added 10 as the Wizards finally looked like a Washington Wizards team out there.

Brooklyn looked much better than their losses against the Milwaukee Bucks and Charlotte Hornets. While Kevin Durant has been constant – and was again last night, leading the team with 25 points, eight rebounds, and four assists, it was Patty Mills back in his shooting groove, hitting .571 from the field and .556 from downtown. Bruce Brown and James Harden hit for 14 apiece, while Joe Harris finished with 11 and eight. The team is still without Kyrie Irving and LaMarcus Aldridge sat out for rest.

Wizards at Celtics – Wednesday
Heat at Nets – Wednesday


Kelly Olynyk, Saddiq Bey – 21 points

Isaiah Stewart, Saddiq Bey – 7 rebounds

Isaiah Stewart – 5 assists

Trae Young – 32 points

Clint Capela – 8 rebounds

Trae Young – 9 assists

Trae Young and John Collins were on one last night, taking the Detroit Pistons to task and notching their second win of the season by 18 points last night on their home court.

Young led all scorers with 32 points and nine assists. Collins followed up with 22 points and seven rebounds. Cam Reddish added 17 points, while Bogdan Bogdanovic and Kevin Huerter added 14 points apiece. Gorgui Dieng had 12 rebounds off the bench. Atlanta held a 62-54 advantage at the half due to the Pistons scoring only 18 in the first quarter.

Detroit had all five starters in double figures, with Saddiq Bey and Kelly Olynyk leading the way with 21 points apiece. Bey had seven rebounds, and Olynyk had six. Josh Jackson finished with 18 points, six rebounds, and four assists, while Isaiah Stewart had 13, and Killian Hayes finished with 12.

Hawks at Pelicans – Wednesday
Pistons at Sixers – Thursday


Franz Wagner, Jalen Suggs – 15 points

Cole Anthony, Wendell Carter – 9 rebounds

Cole Anthony – 5 assists

Jimmy Butler – 36 points

Bam Adebayo – 13 rebounds

Tyler Herro – 9 rebounds

In the cross-state rivalry between the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic, the Heat pulled the magic carpet out from under Orlando in the season’s first matchup, despite the Magic feeling they might have a little momentum after their win over the New York Knicks.

Jimmy Butler broke out his biggest game this season with a 36 point, five steal effort. Bam Adebayo and Markieff Morris finished with 16 points apiece; Adebayo also had 13 rebounds. Tyler Herro finished with a quieter 13 points, but dished out nine dimes on the night, while Duncan Robinson dropped 10 points.

Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs each led Orlando with 15 point nights. Cole Anthony and R.J. Hampton each dug up 12 points, and Mo Bamba only had 11. Terence Ross, who led the Magic in the win against the Knicks, was nowhere to be found last night, goose eggs in 21 minutes of play. Orlando started off with a meager 15 point first quarter and were outscored by the Heat the rest of the way, 80-75

Hornets at Magic – Wednesday
Heat at Nets – Wednesday


Jayson Tatum – 41 points

Robert Williams – 16 rebounds

Dennis Schroder, Jayson Tatum – 8 assists

LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridges – 25 points

Mason Plumlee – 11 rebounds

LaMelo Ball – 9 assists

The Charlotte Hornets were on their way to a 4-0 start, but the Boston Celtics wiped out a 12 point fourth quarter advantage to push the game to overtime. That’s when Dennis Schroder took over, scoring nine of the Celtics’ 18 points in the overtime period to give Boston its second win in as many nights.

Jayson Tatum scored a league high 41 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists, while Jaylen Brown returned to add 30 and nine. Schroder dropped 23 points, six rebounds, and eight assists in his best game as a Celtic. Jabari Parker finished with 13 points, while Robert Williams ended the night with 12 points and 16 rebounds.

LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges combined for 50 points at 25 apiece, with Bridges shooting .500 while Ball had a tougher night at .368, but shot .500 from downtown. Bridges also had 10 rebounds, while Ball added five rebounds and nine assists before fouling out. Kelly Oubre, Jr. had 19 and nine, Gordon Hayward 15 points and six rebounds, Jalen McDaniels added 13 points, Mason Plumlee had 12 points and 11 rebounds. Ish Smith finished with 10 in the loss.

Hornets at Magic – Wednesday
Wizards at Celtics – Wednesday


DeMar DeRozan – 26 points

Nikola Vucevic – 8 rebounds

DeMar DeRozan – 6 assists

O.G. Anunoby – 22 points

Precious Achiuwa – 11 rebounds

Fred VanVleet – 17 assists

I said from the get-go that the Chicago Bulls might be the scariest team in the league this year, and they’ve yet to prove me wrong. Somebody upstairs in the Bulls’ front offices finally got it right.

DeMar DeRozan topped all players with 26 points, four rebounds, and six assists. Zach LaVine certainly has to love having the pressure taken off his shoulders with the team’s new additions, scoring 22 points. Nikola Vucevic finished with 17 points and eight rebounds, Lonzo Ball finished with 15 and five assists, while Troy Brown rounded things out with 11 points.

The Raptors kept it within striking distance, outscoring the Bulls 57-50 in the second half. But it was a 10 point deficit in the second quarter. O.G Anunoby led the team with 22 points, eight rebounds, and five assists, while Gary Trent, Jr. finished with 18 points and five rebounds. Fred VanVleet scored 15 points and had 17 assists, Scottie Barnes added 13, and it was 11 points apiece from Precious Achiuwa and Khem Birch. Achiuwa also had 11 rebounds. 

Pacers at Raptors – Wednesday
Knicks at Bulls – Thursday


Brandon Ingram – 27 points

Jonas Valanciunas – 23 rebounds

Devonte’ Graham – 7 assists

Karl-Anthony Towns – 32 points

Karl-Anthony Towns – 14 rebounds

Karl-Anthony Towns – 7 assists

The New Orleans Pelicans finally squashed that goose egg, getting their first win and handing the Minnesota Timberwolves their first loss off the season behind Herculean efforts from both Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas.

Ingram led the Pelicans with 27 points on .524 shooting from the field and .571 from downtown, to go along with nine rebounds. Valanciunas had a monster night with 22 points and 23 boards, Devonte’ Graham with his best game as a Pelican with 23 points, three rebounds, and seven assists. Nickeal Alexander-Walker has been consistent this season and last night was no different with 17 points and seven rebounds.

Minnesota was all Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards … and that’s about it. Towns finished with 32 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists. Edwards had 28 points, nine rebounds, and three assists. Patrick Beverley came off the bench for 13 points as the only other Minnesota player with double digits. The Timberwolves couldn’t crack 45 by halftime. 

Hawks at Pelicans – Wednesday
Timberwolves at Bucks – Wednesday


Kevin Love – 22 points

Jarrett Allen – 16 rebounds

Darius Garland – 7 assists

Nikola Jokic – 24 points

Nikola Jokic – 19 rebounds

Monte Morris – 6 assists

Watch out, J.B. Bickerstaff has the Cleveland Cavaliers on a roll, scoring their second win in as many games in Bickerstaff’s hometown. The Denver born and raised, East High graduate and son of former Nuggets head coach Bernie Bickerstaff (1994-96) has taken this motley crew of castaways and molded them into a viable force, to have taken down the Nuggets for their first loss.

They may have said what they wanted about Kevin Love and the Olympic basketball team, but Love clapped back with his play in leading Cleveland last night with 22 points and six rebounds. Jarrett Allen finished the night with 21 points and 16 rebounds, Collin Sexton added 14, Lauri Markkanen had 12, and Evan Mobley ended the evening with 10 points and eight assists.

The Nuggets were led by their MVP, Nikola Jokic, who hit for 24 points and 19 rebounds, while Aaron Gordon and Will Barton mustered 12 points apiece. Michael Porter, Jr. was the only other Denver player with double figures, as he scored 11 in the loss. 

Nuggets at Jazz – Tonight
Cavaliers at Clippers – Wednesday


C.J. McCollum – 20 points

Jusuf Nurkic – 10 rebounds

C.J. McCollum – 4 assists

Luke Kennard – 23 points

Ivica Zubac – 8 rebounds

Eric Bledsoe – 7 assists

Portland took a pounding in the first and third quarters of last night’s game in L.A., getting outscored by 14 in the first and then 16 in the third, to hand the Los Angeles Clippers their first win of the season. It was all but over – 91-61 – after three quarters, and the Blazers simply played the fourth quarter because they were required to, both teams playing to a 25-25 wash.

The assault was a well-rounded attack from the Clippers, led mostly by the L.A. bench, as Luke Kennard hit for 23 points, Reggie Jackson had 18, and Paul George finished with a moderate 16 points, five assists, and an aggressive eight steals. Terance Mann had 13 points, five rebounds, five assists, and four steals, while Ivica Zubac finished the night with 10, eight, and four.

C.J. McCollum continues to be the catalyst for the Trailblazers, leaving the door ever so slightly ajar for Damian Lillard to at least peek through as his unhappiness grows. C.J. Mac finished with 20 points, it was a dozen apiece for Lillard and Anfernee Simons, while Nassir Little ended the night with 10 and four. 

Portland shot 38 percent and 21 percent from downtown, while L.A. used home court advantage to net 46 percent from the field in their win.

Grizzlies at Trailblazers – Wednesday
Cavaliers at Clippers – Wednesday


Tracy Graven is the Senior NBA Analyst for
He has written the NBA, done NBA Radio, and appeared as a guest for the last 21+ years for HoopsWorld, Swish Magazine, HoopsHype, the Coach Scott Fields Show,, and is also tackling the NFL, NCAA, and will be pinch-hitting on some Major League Baseball coverage for BackSportsPage.
He’s spent 21 years in locker rooms in Orlando, Boise (CBA, G League), San Antonio, Phoenix, Denver, Oklahoma City, and Atlanta.
A corporate trainer by day, he currently resides in SEC Country near Knoxville, Tennessee.
Reach him on Twitter at @RealTMoneyMedia  

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