Somebody forgot to tell the rest of the NBA that we’re supposed to be waiting for a fourth straight Golden State Warriors-Cleveland Cavaliers Finals.
In the West, the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers are rocking rims and raising eyebrows. In the East, the Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic are killing, while doormats are giving the Cavs’ new-and-not-improved roster the business. Yeah, we know the Dubs are laying in the cut after a draining preseason trip to China. We know, at some point, LeBron’s gonna LeBron. But a big chunk of the NBA is living by the words of this site’s favorite inspirational author and refusing to be defeated, despite the overwhelming talent and aura of these two historically dominant teams.
As we wait for the whole superteam concept to kick in this season, here’s what we’d like to pretend the NBA’s up-and-comers are tweeting at the Cavs (3-4 record, including four losses to non-playoff teams) and Golden State (5-3):
DETROIT PISTONS, 5-3, Second in Eastern Conference
You like dressing up for , @Warriors? We ain’t scared.
REAL TALK: First the Pistons came from behind to beat the undefeated Clippers in Los Angeles, then they knocked off the Warriors in Oakland, California. Stephen Curry rode into the arena dressed as Billy the Puppet from the Saw horror films — but the Dubs’ 26 turnovers were the real horror show. The Pistons lost to the young Lakers on Tuesday night, but they are still one of the Association’s biggest surprises.
ORLANDO MAGIC, 5-2, tied for Eastern Conference lead
REAL TALK: Orlando’s red-hot offense powered the Magic to a 21-point win over the LeBrons in Cleveland. Aaron Gordon is rising above mere dunks to become a legit Most Improved Player candidate. The Magic could actually make the playoffs for the first time since 2012, when Dwight Howard turned from Superman back into Clark Kent.
MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES, 5-2, first in the Western Conference
111-101 W vs @Warriors 🤔
98-90 W vs @HoustonRockets
103-89 W vs @HoustonRockets
REAL TALK: What vat of barbecue sauce did Memphis find Jarell Martin in? What about this other starter named James Ennis III? Where has Andrew Harrison been hiding since losing two NCAA titles at Kentucky? It doesn’t matter who plays for the Grizz as long as they have Mike Conley and Marc Gasol.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS, 4-2, second in the Western Conference
REAL TALK: OK, they got blown out by the Warriors on Monday night in the Dubs’ bounce-back game from the Detroit debacle. But the Clippers are defying predictions of a collapse after the exit of
cancerous control freak All-Star point guard Chris Paul. The team belongs to Blake Griffin now. And not only is BG splashing game-winning 3s, he’s back to being THAT Blake Griffin.