Another Week, Another Win
October 29, 2015
The Carolina Panthers remained unbeaten last week as they disposed of visiting Philadelphia by a 27-16 count.
The Panthers relied on their formula of solid defense and an opportunistic offense that takes advantages of opportunities.
Cam Newton scored a touchdown on the ground and threw for another score while completing 14 of 24 passes for 197 yards. Carolina relied heavily on its running game as Jonathan Stewart rushed for 125 yards on 24 carries.
Defensively, the Panthers were led by linebackers Thomas Davis (11 tackles), Luke Kuechly (eight tackles), and Josh Norman. The underrated Norman has quietly become one of the top five cornerbacks in the league. Always drawing the opposing team’s top receiver, Norman is winning the battles and he did again last week as only one ball was thrown his way Sunday and it covered three yards.
With the win, the Panthers maintain their half-game lead over the Falcons (6-1) in the NFC South. Carolina won’t face Atlanta until Week 14 and then see them again two weeks later. But they will be unbeaten when they next take the field in November.
NBA Season Is Here
The NBA season began Tuesday and there is a sense of excitement out there after a memorable 2014-15 season. Here are some of the things I will be looking for and enjoying this upcoming season.
I am interested in how the Cleveland Cavaliers will react to not winning the title last season. LeBron and the Cavs have to feel like they are owed a title after losing Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving to injury during their playoff run. They are talking about cutting down on James’ playing time. If that really does happen, this team may not find its way until playoff time. Especially since Irving will not suit up until late November at the earliest. Actually, Cleveland may develop some depth, which was an issue last year. You have to believe the Cavaliers will be in the Finals again this season.
Can Golden State repeat? The Warriors started last season as a young team with talent. They ended the season with a title. Behind MVP Stephen Curry, Golden State won 67 games in the ridiculously loaded NBA West. The team is intact so there is no reason to believe they can’t make another deep playoff run.
Will Anthony Davis take another step toward being the best player in the game? Last season was Davis’ NBA coming-out party. Now it is time for him to lead his New Orleans Pelicans team deep into the playoffs. I know it sounds absurd when you consider how many great players there are in the league. But this guy could eventually earn the tag.
Does San Antonio have one more run in them? The Spurs added the most sought after free agent in LaMarcus Aldridge. He commands the ball which means the threesome of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker will become role players now that they are late in their careers. Will it work?
Will this be the season that Oklahoma City wins the title they were supposed to win years ago? The Thunder have two of the top five players in the game with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Lately, it seems one of them is always hurt. Durant becomes a free agent after this season so the window may be closing fast on OKC.
Can the “Beard” (James Harden) lead his team, the Houston Rockets, to a title? His peers thought he should have been the MVP last season. But I remember his fading away in big playoff games. You would think a team with Harden and Dwight Howard could reach a Finals.
Porzingis & Grant of the Knicks
I wonder if the New York Knicks can put a competitive team on the floor this season? Phil Jackson has been there awhile now and the franchise is still not getting anywhere. They have some new names to go along with Carmello Anthony. Two rookies to watch for the Knicks this season are Jerian Grant and Kristaps Porzingis.
Another team who has not put a competitive squad on the floor of late is the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe Bryant is still there but tell me if you know any of these other guys? Lou Williams, Brandon Bass, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Rangle, Roy Hibbert, and D’Angelo Russell. This roster cannot compete in the West.
My picks are Oklahoma City out of the West and Cleveland out of the East. Surprise teams are the Los Angeles Clippers and the Milwaukee Bucks.
Enjoy the season.