It’s basketball season. And soon enough, it’s going to be basketball-and-nothing-else season, so you best get used to these morning-after roundups looking like this. Not a basketball fan? Cherish that football you have left, is all I can say. Because today, we’re going all hoops all the time. Let’s get this train rollin’.
Your daily Lakers update.
Well, it was better than their other losses this season, but following a couple wins over mediocre competition, the Lakers fell to the Spurs last night, 84-82. L.A.’s much-maligned early-season defensive performance improved (the Spurs shot 39 percent and needed 90 field goal attempts to score those 84 points), but on this night, the offense was nowhere to be found (well, except from Kobe, who scored 28). Safe to say, there were more than a few Laker fans who watched last night’s offensive output and thought to themselves, “D’Antoni can’t get here fast enough.”
Around the Association…
The Knicks beat the Magic. They’re 5-0. Knicks fans are undoubtedly celebrating this strong start with realistic expectations for the rest of the year. New York’s other team isn’t doing too badly either – the Nets beat the Cavs 114-101 despite the game of Anderson Varejao’s life (35 points, 18 rebounds) to move to 4-2. Both squads have a chance to be significantly better than they were last year. And speaking of improved teams – the Bobcats are a .500 ballclub for the moment, having easily dispatched the winless Wizards 92-76 last night. They have now won almost half as many games as they did last season. (Sorry for reminding you of last season, ‘Cats fans.)
In other action, the Raptors held on for dear life to beat the Pacers by a score that almost hurts my eyes just looking at it: 74-72. The Raptors scored 5 – FIVE – fourth-quarter points. And they won. The teams scored 19 combined points in the final period. Is there any way fans who watched can get their money back? Jose Calderon had a triple-double, though, so good for him, I suppose. Finally, the Blazers beat the hapless Kings, 103-86. Damian Lillard, who had 22 points and nine assists, is still damned impressive. Eight games do not a season make, but wow: the guy can play.
College basketball upset watch:
A little more happening on this front last night. Sure, most top 25 teams are still playing gimme games, but Tuesday evening also featured two matchups between top-25 teams… and the lower-ranked team prevailed in both. Granted, these are top-25 teams, so it’s hard to say any game is that much of an upset, but No. 21 Michigan State getting the better of No. 7 Kansas 67-64 has to register something on the Upset Richter. No. 9 Duke beating No. 3 Kentucky, 75-68? Not so much. Kentucky’s full of freshmen, and they barely beat Maryland the other night. They’ll peak later in the year. Good win for Coach K’s crew, though.
Hard to say the same, though, for No. 13 UCLA, which needed overtime to beat UC Irvine by a point. Yeah, it’s early, and an ugly win’s better than a loss, but safe to say Ben Howland’s squad has some work to do. And on the women’s side of things, the “lower-ranked top 25 team beats higher-ranked top 25 team” thing didn’t quite hold. No. 1 Baylor took on No. 6 Kentucky… and the Bears prevailed 85-51. The Wildcats shot 27 percent. Brittney Griner had 27 points, eight boards, and five blocks in 29 minutes. Good luck beating Baylor, rest of country.
Photos via Getty