The best games of the week in the NBA and NHL, presented here for your viewing pleasure:
Again, this is not an all-encompassing list of nationally televised games. Instead, I pick out the most intriguing match-ups for the benefit of the casual viewer.
Key NBA Games for Week of 11/6 to 11/12
Tuesday (11/7): Milwaukee Bucks at Cleveland Cavaliers (7:00 PM EST, NBATV)
Wednesday (11/8): Minnesota Timberwolves at Golden State Warriors (10:30 PM EST, ESPN)
Thursday (11/9): Cleveland Cavaliers at Houston Rockets (8:00 PM EST, TNT)
Friday (11/10): Milwaukee Bucks at San Antonio Spurs (9:00 PM EST, ESPN)
NBA Power Rankings
1. Golden State Warriors
– A 3-0 road swing coupled with Klay Thompson’s red hot start to the season are making the doubters rethink their stances. They are still the defending champs.
2. Houston Rockets
– Rockets are soaring now with the best records in the West. And this is without Chris Paul, guys. Guess it doesn’t hurt when James Harden is scoring 56 in games, though.
3. Boston Celtics
– Who would have thought they’d be this good without Hayward? Probably more people than you think because – newsflash! – Kyrie Irving is really good, fam. Defense has been a big part of their success so far; can they keep it up?
4. San Antonio Spurs
– The old dawgs keep chugging along. Aldridge is playing like he was back in Portland and this team is doing just enough to keep their heads above water until Parker and (more importantly) Kawhi return. Doesn’t hurt that they are coached by one of the greatest of all time, either.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves
– 5 straight for the T-Wolves. Always cool to see a team suck for years but finally start to show signs of breaking through. The Wolves aren’t just showing signs, they may already be there.
6. Washington Wizards
– They came at the king and they missed, with the proverbial Omar Little coming in the form of LeBron James and 56 points. Still, the Wizards are proving to be just as good as last year but they may need to temper the shit talk for now.
7. Toronto Raptors
– They may be falling behind the Celtics and the Wizards in the power struggle for the void left at the top of the East by Cleveland but this is still a good team. The question is, and has been for the past few years, are they good enough?
8. Memphis Grizzlies
– The Grizz may look a little bit different this year (No Z-Bo or Tony Allen) but “hustle” and “grit” are still watchwords for this team as they still bring the lunchpail to every game. Conley continues to be one of the more underappreciated players in the league while Marc Gasol is playing at perhaps the highest level of his career so far.
9. Los Angeles Clippers
– Speaking of new looks, here are your 2017-18 Los Angeles Clippers! Griffin and DeAndre are familiar faces but it’s still weird not seeing Paul in a the red and blue. With that said, the Clips have done a serviceable job at staying relevant in the post-Paul era, with Griffin hoping to keep them running with the pack in a stacked West.
10. Portland Trail Blazers
– Would it be unfair to the rest of the team to just put Damian Lillard at no. 10? This guy has been one of the top players in the league for years but always seems to get overshadowed in a guard-heavy conference by being stuck on average or poor Blazer teams. If the Blazers keep it up, maybe he’ll finally get the mainstream attention he richly deserves.
Key NHL Games for Week of 11/6 to 11/12
Another slow week in the NHL, TV-wise at least.
Friday (11/10): Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals (7:00 PM EST, NHLN)
Matty D’s NHL Power Rankings
1. Tampa Bay Lightning
– The Kucherov/Stamkos train is still steaming and rolling over almost anything in its path. The Bolts are tied for the league lead in goal differential at +17, they have to slow down soon… or do they?
2. St. Louis Blues
– Led by Jaden Schwartz, the best player in the league that doesn’t get a lot of press. Schwartz has 8 goals and 12 assists through 15 contests and seems to feel at home skating with new acquisition and old buddy, Brayden Schenn.
3. Los Angeles Kings
– The Kings look like the Kings of old playing gritty, tight checking hockey to the tune of 1st in the league in both goals against average and penalty kill. They have officially turned back the clocks to 2011.
4. New Jersey Devils
– Taylor Hall looks like the veteran leader amongst the jovial Devils.This is a team that I keep expecting to drop lower in the rankings but they keep trucking along. Keep an eye on them this week with tough match ups at STL and at home vs Edmonton. NJ has also dropped their last two.
5. Columbus Blue Jackets
– Seth Jones is looking to have a break through season. His 3 goals and 8 assists are good for his best start to his young career. The Jackets still have to be concerned with Panarin’s lonely goal, but his ten assists should help ease the pain.
6. Pittsburgh Penguins
– Good news for the Pens… their special teams have been outstanding with the 2nd PP% and 13th on the kill. Bad news for the Pens… they have only scored 8 goals in the last five games… better find some five on five offense soon.
7. Vegas Golden Knights
– The Knights are battling through goaltending issues the best they can. They are currently on their fourth net minder of the season, playing the next man up mentality. Maxime Legace has been less than stellar with a 4.43 GAA and .856 SV% while going 1-3-0 in that stretch.
8. New York Islanders
– The Islanders have looked explosive offensively as of late with scoring six goals in three of their last four contests. John Tavares has been a man amongst boys with twelve goals through fourteen games. Will goaltending catch up to the Isles? Or, will they continue to outscore everyone?
9. San Jose Sharks
– I like the way this team is headed. They are 2nd in the league in GAA and the penalty kill. They are on a four game winning streak. Enough said.
10. Dallas Stars
– The Stars are beginning to morph into a Ken Hitchcock led team. They are starting to play with a chip on their shoulder and scoring essentially a third of the time on the power play. I predict this will be the second best team in the grizzly Central division.