It’s a slow week in the NBA, with just one night of nationally televised games, as the league takes a backseat in a crowded sports schedule. But both games feature high profile homecomings — sort of — as Kyrie Irving’s Brooklyn Nets face the Boston Celtics, and Anthony Davis heads back to New Orleans.
Wednesday, Nov. 27
Brooklyn Nets (9-8) vs Boston Celtics (12-4)
7pm ET on ESPN
Sadly, Kyrie Irving will not be suiting up for the Nets’ visit to Boston (he missed last night’s game in Cleveland, too — coward) as he’s nursing a shoulder injury. Brooklyn will have to look elsewhere for 28.5 ppg and 7.2 apg. On Sunday it was Spencer Dinwiddie who filled the void, pouring in 30 points with four rebounds and four assists in the Nets’ 103-101 victory over the Knicks. On Monday, Jarrett Allen came up big with 22 points, 21 rebounds, two steals and two blocks, but it was Dinwiddie who sealed the deal with a 22-foot jumper with 1.8 seconds remaining for a 108-106 win over Cleveland. At 9-8, the Nets are currently #7 seed in the East.
Irving’s former teammates back in Beantown, meanwhile, are tied for the second-best record in the East at 12-4 despite again losing the services of Gordon Hayward, who broke his hand running into LaMarcus Aldridge, though he should be back by Christmas. The Celtics also got a scare on Saturday when Kemba Walker suffered a neck sprain after crashing into teammate Semi Ojeleye and falling to the ground with concussion-like symptoms in the second quarter. Boston would go on to lose that game, 96-92, despite Jaylen Brown’s 22-10-4 effort. On Monday the Celtics withstood a 41-point barrage from Buddy Hield to win 103-102 as Marcus Smart drove the lane for a layup with 31 seconds to play. Whether or not Walker will be ready for the game against the Nets remains to be seen.
Los Angeles Lakers (15-2) vs New Orleans Pelicans (6-11)
9:30pm ET on ESPN
LeBron James’ reincarnation as a point guard is continuing to enjoy success, as the Lakers at 15-2 are off to the best start of any team in his career and have the best record in the league. For those of us who had some doubts about this latest iteration of the Lakers, well, we can go kick rocks. On Monday, James scored 33 points to go along with 14 assists in the Lakers’ 114-104 defeat of the Spurs. It was the 13th time this year that James has gone double-double with points and assists. James’s sidekick, Anthony Davis, managed to go 19-12-6 despite nursing a sore shoulder, with Tuesday night off, he should be OK to suit up.
In year one of the Pelicans’ post-AD Era, the team has, predictably, struggled. On Sunday they fell 134-109 to the Clippers on a night they got outrebounded 56-45, made 10 of 18 free throw attempts and sent the Clippers to the line 33 times — they’re young. Of course the major issue exacerbating things is the continued absence of Zion Williams, who was the centerpiece of the Davis trade and hailed as a generational talent coming out of college. Then he went and tore his meniscus, which required surgery before the season started and will keep him sidelined until mid-December. On a brighter note, Brandon Ingram, the second big prize in the AD trade, has blossomed, averaging 26.1 ppg, 7.2 rpg and 4.2 apg — all career highs — while shooting 45.9 percent from three. If Williams comes back to play like he did in the pre-season (23.3 points, 6.5 rebounds per game), the Pels could be as much fun as everyone had hoped.
Stats through Monday, courtesy Basketball-Reference