It's a little more than a week into the regular season, but there are already teams surprising with their performances.
Surprising in a good way are the New York Knicks: After Wednesday night's action, 29 of 30 teams in the league have lost one of their first few games, the lone outlier are the Knicks, who are undefeated at 3-0. The Knicks were expected to contend, but they've looked downright phenomenal in the early going, crushing the NBA champion Miami Heat on opening night, 104-84, and following that up with a pair of double-figure wins over the Philadelphia 76ers. The defense is the league's best in the early going, and the ball isn't sticking in Carmelo Anthony's hands on offense Some argue that their early success is based on unsustainable three-point shooting -- the team has set an NBA record by making 43 threes in their first three games -- but the team is filled with good shooters, and the looks have been open thanks to ball movement out of doubles by Anthony.
Also impressing with strong play in the early going are the Chicago Bulls, 3-1 despite not being expected to play well without Derrick Rose, and the 4-1 Dallas Mavericks, who were similarly counted out without Dirk Nowitzki. The Mavs and Knicks will meet Friday night.
On the flip side, the Los Angeles Lakers have struggled early, with the only win in their first five games coming against the 0-5 Detroit Pistons. The Lakers were expected to be a title contender with Dwight Howard and Steve Nash coming to LA, but there have been growing pains with the new Princeton offense, and Nash has been hurt. However, the much ballyhooed new offense might just be masking the real problem: a defense that's allowing less-than-contenders to put up 100 points per game with regularity.
Along with the Pistons, the Washington Wizards at 0-3 remain winless.
Here's a look at the full NBA standings thus far this season:
|New York Knicks||3||3-0||1.000|
|San Antonio Spurs||5||4-1||.800|
|Golden State Warriors||5||3-2||.600|
|Los Angeles Clippers||5||3-2||.600|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||4||2-2||.500|
|Portland Trail Blazers||4||2-2||.500|
|New Orleans Hornets||4||2-2||.500|
|Los Angeles Lakers||5||1-4||.200|