As we passed the quarter pole of the 2018-19 season, some disappointing teams started to find their footing.
A week ago, the Boston Celtics were 10-10, struggling to find a lineup that would work and/or some consistency on offense. Suddenly, the Celtics have won three straight games, their best offensive stretch of the season.
The Houston Rockets went from the best record in the league last season to 9-11 through their first 20 games in 2018-19, unable to defend at nearly the same level. But they got Chris Paul back over the weekend and are now 11-6 with him in the lineup.
The Philadelphia 76ers, 9-7 after their first game with Jimmy Butler, have won eight of their last nine. And the Minnesota Timberwolves have put themselves in the Western Conference playoff race with a 7-3 mark since the trade.
The teams that have surprised us early in the season — the Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, LA Clippers and Sacramento Kings — have yet to really fall off. So, while we’re supposed to know who’s good and who’s not by now, things seem more in flux than they usually are, making December a critical month for most of the league.