Tonight is night three of the inaugural NBA Cup In Season Tournament. So far I have yet to decide if I am liking this concept as a way to draw attention to the game. One thing for is sure though: I do not like the fact that there is not a way to see a compilation of stats from these games without doing a lot of digging and possibly even calculating the stats on your own. On that note, let’s take a look at the games that I will be watching closely tonight.
Dallas Mavericks vs. New Orleans Pelicans
Last Friday the Pelicans lost to the Houston Rockets while the Mavericks smoked the Los Angeles Clippers. Tonight they will face off with the Mavericks holding a 1-1 record in the tournament and the Pelicans being 0-1. It would appear that Dallas will be 2-1 in the tournament following tonights game based on the regular season records for both of these teams so far and the Mavericks ‘unselfish’ offense led by Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic as noted in this article by Sports Illustrated. Especially considering this will be their second game in three days with both happening in New Orleans. However, we might be surprised tonight and see both teams at 1-1 in the tournament .
Golden State Warriors vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
These two teams also just played each other on Sunday, in San Francisco. They are both 1-0 in tournament play. They are playing in the Bay again tonight. However, the Timberwolves who won Sunday are the better team so far this season and Steph Curry is out tonight with knee soreness. As a result, it would appear we will see the Warriors 1-1 and the Timberwolves 2-0 in tournament play after tonight.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Memphis Grizzlies
The Lakers go into tonight 1-0 in tournament play and .500 on the season. The Grizzlies are 0-2 in tournament play and 2-8 on the season. It would appear this game will go to the Lakers. However, LeBron is out tonight dealing with the shin injury he suffered on Friday against the Phoenix Suns. As a result, this could lead to another surprise where we see the Lakers end the night 1-1 in tournament play and the Grizzlies 1-2.
Here are are a couple quick notes on things I am not liking about the tournament…
- While I understand the league is trying to limit travel. I think they can do a better job of having teams playing consecutive games with an off day in between and not travel. For instance, they could have it be home and home where one of the teams is finishing up a home stand while the other is finishing up a road trip. That way each teams home fans get to see a tournament game in the first round.
- Group play should not be so few games split up over the entire month. Instead, there should not be games on back-to-back nights for any team and the group play should be done within three weeks with the knockout rounds occurring the last week of the month.
With that… it is almost time for tip-off in New Orleans.
If you cannot play with the, root for them.