Thursday , Nov , 13 , 2003 C.Y. Ellis

Another NBA Week

More headlines, more upsets, Lebron getting some wins, Lakers getting some losses and Ronald Murray making the NBA stand up and take notice. Ronald Murray a 2nd year player from Shaw, was given a chance to start with the ankle injury to Ray Allen, and Murray has taken full advantage of the opportunity, scoring 20+ in all 6 Sonics games so far helping Seattle get off to a league best 5-1 start. Murray was part of the Gary Payton for Allen deal; a player the Bucks threw in after picking him in last year’s draft. He sat on the bench for the most part in Milwaukee and Seattle before getting his shot this season. In Minnesota, Murray, showed the kind of nerves he has going at one of the better defenders in the league (Latrell Sprewell) and burying the game-winning shot as time expired. Helping Murray with the scoring is the leagues second leading scorer, Rashard Lewis, who has already a 50-point effort earlier this year in a win over the Clippers. When Allen gets back, if this Seattle team can hold up things up front with an underrated crew of Vladimir Radmanovic, Jerome James, and Reggie Evans and continue to get good point play from Brent Barry the Sonics should be able to hang at the top of the Pacific all season long.

Another NBA Week

Staying out west, the Lakers completed a road trip by dropping the last two games in New Orleans and Memphis. While the Hornets and Grizzlies (surprisingly) are not pushovers this year, these are the type of games if the Lakers look past, in the end will hurt them in the hunt for home court advantage. In case anyone noticed the Houston Rockets are 5-1 sitting atop their division with Jeff Van Gundy doing another marvelous coaching job, getting Steve Francis to defer a little more to Yao and let the big man dominate the flow of the game more. With Yao down low, shooters like Francis and Cuttino Mobley, and great veterans like Jimmy Jackson and Moochie Norris coming off the bench, Houston along with Seattle is making allot of noise in the west.

In the east things are still the same .500 seems good enough in the Atlantic right now, with Philly and Boston on top, New Jersey looking awful getting beaten (AGAIN) by San Antonio and starting off 1-3 at home, ouch. Lebron James after getting beaten by Carmelo Anthony and the Nuggets, has been a big part of the Cavs two game win streak against Washington and New York, of course that was short lived as the Cavs quickly returned to being the Cavs getting beat by Miami, the Heat’s first win of the year (1-7). Joining the Heat at the bottom are 1-7 companions the Orlando Magic, who after winning their first game have dropped 7 straight. Doc Rivers better start polishing up that resume because sooner or later the blame will fall on him, though the front office has given him nothing to work with. Other than McGrady the Magic have nobody who can score, putting all the attention and pressure on one guy is not a formula for success in the NBA.

Indiana continues to thrive under coach Carlisle, Ron Artest has been under control and torching teams with his usual defensive pressure but also with a much improved scoring repertoire, as witnessed by his 30 point effort in beating Philly. Pacers remain the team to beat in the central but New Orleans has showed some sting of their own beating LA and showing that maybe Tim Floyd’s horrendous record in Chicago was more a product of no talent rather than poor coaching. Baron Davis being healthy of course helps; Davis has been a 3-point machine shooting better from beyond the arc (44%) then from within (43%).

Other notes from around the NBA

— Mo Taylor (Hou) has been fined and suspended 10 games for breaking the drug policy.

— Los Angeles leads the league in points per game, but it’s not who you think it’s the CLIPPERS.

— Quentin Richardson’s 32 point 16 rebounding game was very impressive since 16 boards for a guy 6’5″ is unheard of.

–A rare Darko Milicic sighting in Detroit, he played in the first quarter against Milwaukee, and missed both his shots.

— Ron Artest on if he gets more fired up playing against Carmelo Anthony and other big names. “I get up for everyone,” he said. “I played my kid in the driveway today. I got up for him.”

— How is Denver 4-4 despite being one of the worst teams in shooting and turnovers? They get to the foul line allot (27 times per game) and are one of the better rebounding teams (47 per game), another reason Camby is so important.