7 Takeaways from Saturday Night's NBA Action

Joe Flynn@@ChinaJoeFlynnContributor INovember 3, 2013

7 Takeaways from Saturday Night's NBA Action

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    The 76ers will never lose again. Ever.

    Philadelphia held on for yet another shocking upset, this time over Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls. Rose and the Bulls struggled yet again, and Chicago and Indiana are heading in opposite directions leading up to next week's division showdown.

    Out West, the Rockets dug themselves a first-half hole before storming back to stay perfect, and Portland handed the Spurs their first loss of the year. 

    It was yet another wild night of unlikely players putting together eye-popping stat lines. Who had the best line of the night? You be the judge.

Rookie of the Year? How About MVP!

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    So how was your first week in The Show, youngblood?

    Michael Carter-Williams, the 11th pick in this summer's NBA draft, took down three No. 1s this week: LeBron James and the Heat, John Wall and the Wizards and Derrick Rose and the Bulls. Along the way, he averaged 20.7 points, 9.0 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 4.3 steals per game. 

    It's hard to pick Carter-Williams' performance of the week: his near quadruple-double and Game 1 against the Heat (22 points, 12 assists, seven rebounds, nine steals) or Saturday night's 26-point, 10-assist masterpiece against Chicago.

    Yes, that's a pair of 20-point, 10-assist games in his first week.

    The Sixers are now 3-0 on the season. Keep in mind: There were people who thought this team wouldn't win 10 games!

    Tanking? What's that?

Derrick Rose's Struggles Continue

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    Many in the NBA world proclaimed the Bulls' star point guard to be "back" after his game-winning shot to beat the Knicks on Thursday.

    Well Bulls fans are hoping Rose still has a lot of "back" left in him after tonight's dispiriting performance against the 76ers. Worse than his finishing line—4-for-14 shooting, six assists, eight turnovers—was how overwhelmed he looked at the end. He did sink one three-pointer in the last few minutes, but he also threw a pass into the seventh row and failed on numerous possessions down the stretch. 

    Now Rose's game-winner is the only reason the Bulls are not 0-3 to start the season. 

The Pacers Need to Step Up in Weight Class

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    While their division rivals in Chicago have struggled against tougher competition, the Indiana Pacers have excelled against some of the league's lightweights.

    The Pacers are now 3-0 after beating the Cleveland Cavaliers, 89-74. Both Paul George and Lance Stephenson have looked like world-beaters to start the season.

    But the Pacers have only faced Orlando, New Orleans and Cleveland. They need to face a tougher test before they (and the league) know what they are.

    Well good news, everyone: That test could be right around the corner. The Pacers will host the struggling Chicago Bulls next Wednesday.

The Cavaliers Strike out on the Road

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    Any team that wants to make the playoffs must do three things:

    1. Take care of home court.
    2. Beat lesser teams on the road.
    3. Try to steal a few tough road games.

    Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers took care of the first item when they upset the Brooklyn Nets at home on opening night. But they failed to take a game of Friday and Saturday's road back-to-back.

    Friday night's game against the Bobcats was probably their best chance for a win, but the Cavs stumbled to a 90-84 loss. Saturday, on the second night of the back-to-back, the Cavs looked sluggish against a superior Indiana team.

    Now, after that inspiring Wednesday night win, the Cavs are under .500. If this team wants to compete for a playoff spot, it'll have to learn how to win on the road.

Anthony Davis Does a Bit of Everything in New Orleans Win

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    The New Orleans Pelicans notched their first victory in the Bird Mascot era Saturday night with a convincing 105-84 victory over the Bobcats. 

    The star of the game was clearly Anthony Davis. The former first-overall pick put together the stat-sheet-shattering line of 25 points, eight rebounds, four assists, six steals and six blocks. 

    The Pelicans made a lot of noise this offseason in assembling their three-headed monster backcourt of Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans, but after three games it seems clear that the team will go only as far Davis will take it.

A Big Halftime Deficit Is No Problem for the Houston Rockets

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    The Rockets came out extremely flat in Utah, and the Jazz punished them to the tune of a 16-point halftime deficit.

    Did Houston panic? Not quite.

    The Rockets stormed out of the gate in the second half, erasing the lead in just a few minutes. After the dust had settled, the Rockets remained undefeated with a 104-93 victory.

    Houston buried the Jazz with a balanced attack: Three players had 20 points. Chandler Parsons led the team with 24, James Harden had 23, and Jeremy Lin had 20.

Nicolas Batum's Triple-Double Sparks the Blazers

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    The Portland Trail Blazers knocked San Antonio from the ranks of the unbeaten Saturday night, beating the Spurs 115-105 and spoiling a vintage 24-point night from Tim Duncan.

    Duncan's throwback performance was no match for Portland, which had three players score more than 20.

    Leading the way for the Blazers was forward Nicolas Batum, who notched a triple-double with 11 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. Batum got those last two points at the buzzer, something he immediately regretted, according Sean Meagher of the Oregonian:

    As the clock neared double zeros and the win was in hand, Batum headed down the court with 12 rebounds, 11 assists and eight points. But before the buzzer sounded signaling the end of the game, Batum nonchalantly hurled the ball at the hoop. The horn went off, the streamers dropped and so did Batum's three-pointer, earning him the triple-double.

    “It went in — I was like, ‘Oh, no,” Batum told reporters after the game. “I didn’t mean to disrespect this team. This is the San Antonio Spurs, the best team from the last 15 years in the NBA. I’ve never disrespected this team. I love this team. I have a lot of friends on this team.”

    So congratulations to all of you who had Batum in your "first triple-double of the 2013-14 season" office pool!