This was a great week for great basketball. Christmas Day gave us a couple of heavyweight matchups that lived up to the billing, and we also saw the Trail Blazers top the Clippers (and get beat short-handed but no-less-excellent Heat), the Thunder smash the Rockets and the Knicks and Raptors do battle for Atlantic Division supremacy (ha).
Because there are no ties in basketball, we often see great teams beat other great teams and can’t be sure what to make of it. Are the Blazers not truly elite because they lost to the LeBron-less Heat? Are the Spurs, who beat the Mavericks but lost to the Rockets (who subsequently lost to the Thunder), really the West’s best? It’s impossible to say at this point. All we can do is measure each win or loss on a scale of relativity. Losing to bad teams = bad. Losing to great teams = not as bad. Beating great teams = great.
But as noted time and time again, this is a long season. A bad loss now may just strengthen one team’s resolve, while a big win might just be due to a hot hand or a lucky bounce. As always, we’ll try to keep a level head.
As for the rest of the league?