NBA week 8 recap: End of an era, normalcy returning and more

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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(Photo By Christopher Evans/Digital First Media/Boston Herald via Getty Images)
(Photo By Christopher Evans/Digital First Media/Boston Herald via Getty Images) /

Normalcy being restored to the NBA

The hype machine and constant news cycle that is the NBA produces hot takes and overreactions to any change in performance. This has been the norm for years. It generates buzz and interest in the league, but the beginning of this regular season seemed to be an outlier for these takes given the performance of two of the top teams for the first month.

The Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors were the favorites to represent their respective conferences in the NBA Finals. Boston was a game away from reaching the Finals last season without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, as they watched their young players and depth almost will them past LeBron James. Golden State won its second straight title and added DeMarcus Cousins.

Their collision course got off to a rocky start. Boston was 10-10 on Nov. 24 with Hayward struggling to get in rhythm as Brad Stevens tried to figure out a rotation to balance the players that were vital last year and reintegrate Kyrie and Hayward. They’ve now won six games in a row (with an easier schedule, but good teams take care of lesser teams) and have a rotation that seems to keep everybody engaged and put in their best positions to succeed.

Marcus Morris and Marcus Smart bring energy to the starting lineup with Jaylen Brown and Hayward providing scoring prowess off the bench. This is working for the time being, and puts Brown and Hayward in positions to be aggressive instead of passive to Kyrie and Jayson Tatum.

The Celtics’ issues were how to balance their personnel, whereas the Warriors had the infamous Kevin DurantDraymond Green fiasco on top of injuries to Green and Stephen Curry. KD and Klay Thompson were tasked with carrying a team lacking depth and did okay by Warriors standards. Insert Curry to the lineup and they’ve won four of five games and have the most wins in the Western Conference again.

Normalcy in the NBA has a way of evening itself out. Injuries, internal strife and simply missing shots play a role in teams going through the ups and downs. The Orlando Magic always start hot, but are 3-7 in their last 10 games. The Portland Trail Blazers and Memphis Grizzlies are both 4-6 in their last 10 games. Golden State and Boston were favorites for a reason, and they’re starting to exert that dominance once more.