We’re going to break down the night of October 30th in the NBA. There was a lot going on so check in these four notes to see what happened. We’ll cover everything from Steph Curry’s injury to the fight between Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns, and much more.
- Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns fight – Watch:Embiid and Towns Brawl
“The Brawl on Broadway” is what this is being called. In the 3rd quarter, Embiid and Towns were both ejected for fighting in what turned out to be quite the scuffle. Late in the 3rd quarter, Embiid drove on Towns and hit him hard in the chest going for a layup. Finishing through contact, Embiid began to talk trash and flex on Towns as the Timberwolves inbounded the ball. On the next possession Ben Simmons was guarding Towns who got the ball slightly outside the post. Embiid came down for a double team to help his teammate and forced an errant pass from Towns. Immediately the two get tangled up and begin flailing their arms. That led to some shoving and eventually a takedown. There were no full on punches thrown. Highlight of the bawl for me: Simmons put Towns in a headlock and seemingly made him tap out :13 in on this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRl3k4P4Gok What happens post brawl will be interesting. Embiid and Towns were both thrown out of the game and seem due for multi-game suspensions. My prediction is that both will get 5 games. I wonder if anyone else will get a suspension, maybe Simmons for putting Towns in a headlock. Beyond that I am expecting minor fines and warnings.
- Steph Curry breaks his left hand
The Warriors star point guard broke his left hand against the Phoenix Suns in a 121-110 loss on Wednesday night. With the loss, the Warriors fell to 1-3, with all 3 losses coming by double digits. I knew this would not be the Warriors of years past where they are competing for championships, but without Steph it gets a lot harder to make the playoffs. They are going to have to rely on free-agent acquisition D’Angelo Russell to make a jump from his all-star birth last year. He and Draymond Green will have to guide the team in Steph’s absence. For Steph’s injury I expect him to miss 4-6 weeks. That would cause him to miss 20 games, with a possible return around December 10th. Over the next month they play the Lakers, Trail Blazers, Rockets, Jazz, and Celtics – all playoff teams. Each game the Warriors play will be tough, as they have a target on their back from recent championships. My prediction is the Warriors will go 6-14 without Curry, putting their record at 7-17. AT that point, the focus might turn to developing players and planning for next year. They will need to start thinking about what they will do with their lottery pick. If they can pair a top pick with a healthy Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, D’Angelo Russell, and Draymond Green they could be dangerous again in 2020-2021 season. This current season looks bleak, but the Warriors title window could re-open next year.
- Kawhi Leonard had his first load management game as a Clipper
Four games into the NBA season and Clippers F Kawhi Leonard missed his first game due to load management against the Jazz. The NBA has told teams about the repercussions of load management for nationally-televised games so they Clippers may face a fine or two given the game was on ESPN. The Clippers lost this game by double digits which brings the question to mind. How will the Clippers handle Kawhi’s load management regimen? In the offseason, all involved parties said Kawhi will have no restrictions. Yet, for the first back-to-back of the season Kawhi is already missing time. Last year in Toronto, the Raptors went 17-5 when Kawhi did not play. The Eastern conference is a bit easier though, and the Raptors could better plan out his rest. Leonard sitting against the Jazz, who could win 55 games in the tough Western Conference, is not an ideal time to sit. With not as many bad teams in the West, could Kawhi sit 15 games and cost the Clippers home-court in the first round of the playoffs? I’m curious to see how this plays out, but my prediction is Kawhi misses 15 games this year, and the Clippers go 8-7 without him, getting the 4th seed in the West.
- Mike Conley Regains form
Mike Conley was acquired by the Jazz from the Grizzlies in an off-season trade. Mentioned in the paragraph above, Conley was thrust into a Jazz team with 55 win expectations to go along with success in the playoffs. The newly acquired point guard had struggled from the field in his first 4 games, going 9-45 from the field, including 3-20 from 3-point range. There were concerns that Conley had lost a bit off his game in the offseason given the fact he recently turned 32. He was averaging 7.8 points, which is historically bad given his 21 PPG last season. The media, including myself, were wondering if the pressure had gotten to his head a bit. Well, he broke out tonight. Conley reminded us that it’s an 82 game season, as he broke out for 29 points, 11-17 from the field including 5-8 from 3-point land. If this type of game from Conley can consistently show up throughout the season, there’s no reason to think they cannot win the Western conference. He adds so much to this team and I look forward to him complimenting what they have already built there. I am predicting the Jazz to go 55-27, and secure the 3rd seed in the Western Conference.