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The Rundown w/T-Money

The Rundown v11.24.22 – Happy TanksGiving

While we’re measuring to expectation, one might argue that Antonio Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers (sans LeBron James) had the best show out this week, winning three home games before succumbing to the Phoenix Suns in the second half of Tuesday night’s marquee match-up.

However, the Sacramento Kings are the NBA’s hottest team right now, riding a league-high seven game win streak with consecutive wins over Cleveland, L.A., Golden State, Brooklyn, San Antonio, Detroit, and Memphis.

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers went 3-0 in their outings this week.

Also undefeated in the past seven days were the Washington Wizards, who’ve moved ahead of the Atlanta Hawks in the Southeast Division. The Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Clippers, and the Sacramento Kings all went 2-0 in Week Five.

Winless teams included the Toronto Raptors, Miami Heat, Charlotte Hornets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trailblazers, San Antonio Spurs, and of course, the Houston Rockets.

The Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and Phoenix Suns own the NBA’s three best records 16-17 games into this season.

But who are the teams vying for the chance to court expected No. 1 pick Victor Wembanyana?

The six worst records to date in the league are (in order) the Houston Rockets, Detroit Pistons, Charlotte Hornets, Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, and San Antonio Spurs.

Far be it from me to suggest the Lakers are tanking, but with LeBron James only beating Father Time/Jason Momoa in fantasy ads on TV, it’s possible that L.A. could flourish with Wembanyana’s height and point guard-like talents.

Wouldn’t hurt for Charlotte, Orlando, and Houston to have some skin in the game, and it makes sense that the French product fits in well with Gregg Popovich and his penchant/history with international players flourishing in the NBA and for the Spurs specifically.

Keep your eyes on these teams, no matter how well they may be trying to camouflage their intentions. 

Happy Tanks-giving!!!

ATLANTIC 5 WEEKS IN
Celtics 

(56-26)

Celtics 

(13-4)

On the road this past week, the Celtics went 1-1, beating the New Orleans Pelicans, but then lost to the Chicago Bulls to end their nine-game win streak. Luka Doncic has tagged Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown as “the NBA’s best duo.”
Nets 

(54-28)

Sixers
(9-8)
The Sixers had impressive wins against the powerhouse Milwaukee Bucks and outplayed the Brooklyn Nets. But an underwhelming performance against the Minnesota Timberwolves kept them from being perfect this week sans James Harden and Tyrese Maxey. Center Joel Embiid is out for two games (sprained foot).
76ers 

(54-28)

Raptors
(9-8)
After a nice run-out the first four weeks of the season, the Raptors dropped their only contest this week, a two-point heartbreaker in Atlanta against the Hawks.
Raptors 

(44-38)

Knicks
(9-9)
The Knicks are keeping their boot on the collective neck of the Brooklyn Nets, despite finishing the week 1-2. A 10-point win over the Oklahoma City Thunder was a nice finish to a week that saw N.Y. lose to the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns on a swing out west.
Knicks 

(42-40)

Nets
(8-10)
The Nets beat the Memphis Grizzlies at home to start the week with an upswing, but fell to the Philadelphia 76ers in Philly, despite the Sixers being without James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, and Joel Embiid. In his return to Philadelphia, Ben Simmons went for 11 points, seven rebounds, and 11 assists in the loss.

SOUTHEAST 5 WEEKS IN
Heat 

(56-26)

Wizards
(10-7)
A nice week for the Wizards as they move ahead of the Atlanta Hawks in the Southeast Division by defeating the Miami Heat and Charlotte Hornets.
Hawks 

(51-31)

Hawks
(10-7)
A close win over the Toronto Raptors and loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on the road leave the Hawks in a virtual tie with the Washington Wizards atop the Southeast Division.
Wizards 

(47-35)

Heat
(7-11)
The Heat are lukewarm at best after dropping contests to the Washington Wizards, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Minnesota Timberwolves this week. 
Hornets 

(46-36)

Magic 

(5-13)

The Magic are beginning to look better than their downstate counterparts, after grabbing another win in as many weeks. An impressive one-point road win against the Chicago Bulls was offset by two back-to-back losses to the Indiana Pacers.
Magic 

(38-44)

Hornets 

(4-14)

Despite losing LaMelo Ball again to another ankle injury in Indiana, the Hornets made it a double overtime game before losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers on the road. They also fell to the Washington Wizards this week.

CENTRAL 5 WEEKS IN
Cavaliers 

(55-27)

Bucks 

(12-4)

Home court at FiServ Forum must have felt pretty sweet after losing on the road to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Bucks bounced back with a win at the expense of the Portland Trailblazers to close out the week 1-1.
Bucks 

(54-28)

Cavaliers
(11-6)
The Cavaliers looked like the best team in the league this past week, with quality wins over the Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat, and Atlanta Hawks.
Pistons 

(43-39)

Pacers 

(10-6)

The Pacers are also picking up steam, also going 3-0 this week as they handled Houston Rockets once and the Orlando Magic twice in two home games in Indianapolis. They are currently on a five-game run.
Bulls 

(42-40)

Bulls
(7-10)
A 1-1 performance this week saw the Bulls lose to the lowly Orlando Magic, but put a screeching halt to the Boston Celtics’ nine-game tear through November. DeMar DeRozan had 28 in the win over Boston.
Pacers 

(30-52)

Pistons
(4-15)
The Pistons won their fourth game in five weeks, defeating the Denver Nuggets on the road by a deuce. They lost to the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings earlier in the week.

NORTHWEST 5 WEEKS IN
Timberwolves 

(56-26)

Jazz
(12-7)
Utah bounced back from a horrid week in Week 4 to two wins against the Phoenix Suns and Portland Trailblazers, before falling to the Los Angeles Clippers Monday night. Lauri Markkanen scored a career high 38 points against the Suns.
Nuggets 

(55-27)

Trailblazers
(10-7)
The Blazers went winless this past week against the Utah Jazz and Milwaukee Bucks. They played the Cleveland Cavaliers in Cleveland last night. 
Trailblazers 

(44-38)

Nuggets
(10-7)
The Nuggets’ lone win this week came at the expense of the Dallas Mavericks, who Denver split a back-to-back with. Their other loss was at home against the Detroit Pistons.
Jazz 

(36-46)

Timberwolves
(9-8)
The Timberwolves looked clean with two wins versus the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat. New center Rudy Gobert is telling fans to “stay home” if they can’t back the team during tough times … and I can’t help but agree.
Thunder 

(36-46)

Thunder
(7-10)
The Thunder can’t quite breach .500, falling in both games this past week at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies in Memphis and the New York Knicks at home.

SOUTHWEST 5 WEEKS IN
Grizzlies 

(60-22)

Pelicans
(10-7)
The Pelicans fell to the Boston Celtics at home, but bounced back to a convincing win over what was basically the Golden State Warriors’ G League lineup to split the week.
Mavericks 

(58-24)

Mavericks
(9-7)
The Mavericks split a back-to-back series in Dallas with the Denver Nuggets.
Pelicans 

(48-34)

Grizzlies
(10-8)
The Grizzlies dropped a pair of contests to both the Brooklyn Nets and the Sacramento Kings, despite starting Week 5 with a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Spurs 

(40-42)

Spurs
(6-12)
Winless in games against both of the L.A. teams, the Spurs have slid back into contention for Victor Wembanyana. Are we being rope-a-doped by head coach Gregg Popovich?
Rockets 

(39-43)

Rockets
(3-14)
The Rockets also went winless this week, losing to the blue and gold Indiana Pacers and Golden State Warriors.

(Courtesy of ClutchPoints)

PACIFIC 5 WEEKS IN
Warriors 

(64-18)

Suns
(11-6)
The Suns opened the week losing to the Utah Jazz, but came back and blistered both the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers to get back on the winning track.
Suns 

(59-23)

Kings
(10-6)
Head coach Mike Brown is getting in the heads of these young kids in Sacramento, throwing up two more wins, this week – these against the Detroit Pistons and even more impressive, taking down the Memphis Grizzlies on the road. The Kings are in the midst of a seven-game win streak. De’Aaron Fox dropped 32 on the Grizzlies, nearly matching Ja Morant’s 34 point effort.
Clippers 

(56-26)

Clippers
(11-7)
Slow and steady wins the race, and the Clippers have ripped off three in a row over the Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, and the upstart Utah Jazz
Lakers 

(55-27)

Warriors
(8-10)
Golden State continues to claw their way back into contention with expected wins over the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets, but gave their starters a rest against the New Orleans Pelicans in a 45 point ass whoopin’
Kings 

(41-41)

Lakers
(5-11)
In an impressive run for Anthony Davis, the Lakers followed up an embarrassing loss to the Sacramento Kings, with three straight wins against the Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons, and San Antonio Spurs. They also played well against the Phoenix Suns last night, even leading 55-53 at the half. But they would fall nonetheless. Patrick Beverley was ejected after bodychecking and bowling over the Suns’ Deandre Ayton in that game. The Spurs are up next in back-to-back games at AT&T Center, and Indiana is on deck as well.

********************

Tracy Graven is the Senior NBA Analyst for BackSportsPage.com.
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, NBARadioShow.com, 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.
He also enjoys covering G League and The Basketball League, and provides content for the Owensboro (Ky.) Thoroughbreds.

A corporate trainer by day, he currently resides in SEC Country near Knoxville, Tennessee.
Reach him on Twitter at @RealTMoneyMedia  

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