Player of the Week Honors
Timeline: Nov. 24-Nov.30
Eastern Conference: SF/PF LeBron James, Cleveland Cavilers
Western Conference: PF/C Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
Coach of November
If there are honors for Players of the Week or Players of the Month, you can be assured that there are honors for coaches as well. For the month of November, the NBA awarded Coach of the Month to Dwane Casey of the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Eastern Conference and Dave Joerger of the Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA Western Conference.
In November, Dwane Casey guided the Toronto Raptors to a 13-4 record, the best record in the entire Eastern Conference for the month. This included two 5+ game winning streaks. The first winning streak was a 5-game streak going from November 4 to November 11. During that stretch of games, the Raptors’ average point differential in was 14.0 points per game. The second one winning streak was a 6-game streak from November 15 to November 26. In that stretch of games the Raptors’ average point differential went up to 16.0 points per game.
In the Western Conference, Dave Joerger guided the Memphis Grizzlies to an impressive 15-2 start. The Grizzlies’ 15-2 record was the best not only in just the Western Conference but the entire NBA. Under Joerger’s watch, the Grizzlies went undefeated at home (8-0) as well as undefeated against conference opponents (11-0) in the month of November. They also held opponents to an average of 92.4 points per game, 1st in the NBA in that category, and the average point differential in the Grizzlies losses were -2.5 (a 93-92 loss against the Milwaukee Bucks on November 8th and a 96-92 loss to the Toronto Raptors on November 19).
Even though that the NBA season is an 82-game marathon, sometimes starting off hot is just as important as finishing hot. But with the way that both the Toronto Raptors and Memphis Grizzlies started off the 2014-15 under their respective head coaches, you can bet they’ll have their playoff tickets punched by the end of regular season.
76ers Avoid Embarrassing Fate
They say that whatever you do will forever be recorded in the annuals of history. Sometimes you’ll be remembered for great achievements while other times you’ll be remembered for great blunders. Last Wednesday, the Philadelphia 76ers played their 18th game of the season. Why is that so significant? Because going into the game, they were 0-17 and were one loss away for tying the NBA record for most consecutive losses to start an NBA season.
The current holder of that record is the 2009-2010 New Jersey Nets (the former incarnations of the Brooklyn Nets). That squad started the season 0-18 before recording their first win against the Charlotte Bobcats 97-91. However they went to go finish the season with an abysmal record of 12-70. Fast forward to present day now. The 76ers’ went 0-17 in their first 17 games before Wednesday night match up with the banged up Minnesota Timberwolves. For a brief moment, it seemed like the basketball gods pitied the 76ers and allowed them to walk away with an 85-77 victory.
However, things do not look pretty for them. Currently the 76ers are sporting an abysmal 2-18 (They won in OT on Saturday 108-101 against the equally pitiful Detroit Pistons). They’ve averaged just 92.0 points per game (30th in the NBA), allowed opponents to score 104.1 points per game (25th in the NBA), and have a point differential of -12.1 (30th in the NBA). At the rate they are playing, this 76ers squad could match the 1972-73 squad for fewest games won in an 82-game regular season (9-73). Still with that victory on Wednesday night, the team avoided an embarrassing date with NBA history. Instead they produced this little gem that just shows that even in victory, the 76ers are still the butt of all jokes.
Rose Makes a Statement
In today’s modern day world of sports, more and more athletes are trying to chime in on current events. Most recently we saw many NBA athletes post tweets about their opinions about the Mike Brown case (almost all were in support of the deceased). Early this week, there was another controversial decision where a NY police officer was found not guilty in the killing of Eric Garner back in early July this year.
In a Saturday night home game against the Golden State Warriors, oft-injured Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose was seen in pregame warm-ups wearing a black shirt. On it said the phrase “I Can’t Breathe,” the last words Eric Garner gasped as he was choked to death during an encounter with the NYPD.
Rose has already gotten support for his decision to wear the shirt. Teammate Joakhim Noah gave his thoughts on the matter: “I respect Derrick a lot. He definitely is making a statement by wearing it. That's my guy.” Former Chicago Bulls player and current ESPN Analyst Jalen Rose sent out a tweet that said, “I respect Derrick Rose for rocking the 'I Can't Breathe' tee for warmup's.” There are also reports that NBA superstar and Cleveland Cavaliers small forward LeBron James is trying to get a hold of one of those shirts as well.
But with all the buzz around Rose’s decision to wear that shirt, he could face some backlash for it. The NBA requires all players to wear apparel of Adidas, the league’s official outfitter for clothes, shoes, and apparel. By wearing that shirt, Rose could face a penalty (mostly a substantial fine). But sometimes in order to make a statement, you will have to break the rules first.
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