As I swing my way through the Orange Roundball League’s Western Conference, the magnificent Golden State Warriors (9-3) and Houston Rockets (9-3) will be lathered with love. In fact, all of the love. But just for a week. Why not? The Dubs and Rockets are currently manipulating the hardwood in their own stratosphere at the moment. Lurking just below, the Minnesota Timberwolves (7-4), Denver Nuggets (7-5) and San Antonio Spurs (7-5) are the most formidable threats to these high-flyers.
A good place to start is the Rockets and James “The Bearded Wonder” Harden’s otherworldly night against the Utah Jazz a week ago. Harden delivered a bearded-superhero performance, hitting high notes with a career-record 56 points and 13 assists in a 137-110 Jazz-ercism of Utah at the Toyota Center in Houston. How about 19 of 25 from the floor while going seven-of-eight from the land of plenty in just 35 minutes of playing time? Yes, he did that. I’m praying that Harden doesn’t spontaneously combust. He’s highly flammable! And Houston is still waiting for the return of Chris Paul from a knee injury that was suffered in the preseason. The combination of CP3 and Harden in the backcourt is Halloween scary. Without Paul, the Rockets still find themselves atop the West standings with that 9-3 mark. Golden State is 9-3 as well, but remember that Houston took one from the Warriors on Opening and Championship Ring Night at Oracle Arena, 122-121. That head-to-head victory gives them the slight edge out West.
Does anyone recall the Warriors’ slow start? After going 1-2 in their first three games of the 2017-18 NBA regular-season, Golden State is alert and oriented times two with an 8-1 burst as they chase the Rockets down. Should the rest of the league be worried? Absolutely — here comes the juggernaut! The Splash Brothers are heating up, there has been a JaVale McGee sighting, and Nick Young & Co. are straight slaughtering dudes off the bench. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are as dangerous as a grease fire in the Warrior backcourt right now. The two All-World guards are a duet that dreams are made off. These guys set an NBA record in their win over the Timberwolves the other night. With both studs pouring in 20-plus points in the contest, it was the 144th time dating back to the 2012-13 season that the Splash Bros. have accomplished this great feat.
Mr. McGee is playing like a human slinky in the low post. He’s throwing down a huge rim-rattling party that everyone’s invited to. This is the definition of a balanced B-ball offensive attack.
Without further ado, here are my Western Conference power rankings.
- Golden State Warriors
- Houston Rockets
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- Denver Nuggets
- San Antonio Spurs
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Portland Trail Blazers
- New Orleans Pelicans
That’s the swing through the West for this week, ladies and gentlemen. See Y’all next week.