Ethan Sherwood Strauss joins me to try to figure out just how legitimate this start for the Portland Trail Blazers has been. What does it mean when we say the Blazers are "for real" during this 15-3 start to the season? Does it mean they are a title contender or just that they can get past the first round? How good is their offense and 3-point shooting? Is it something you can take away when you're scouting them throughout a seven-game series? Is there stuff you can take away from guys like Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews? Will they be able to defend well enough?
Then we switch conferences to start figuring out if the Indiana Pacers are the team to beat. Ethan believes that when you look at the Pacers right now, it's hard to imagine someone beating them four out of seven games. The Miami Heat are currently surging with a 10-game winning streak and are doing it with one of the lowest usage rates of Dwyane Wade's career. Are the Heat still the best team in the league? Should we be lauding them over the Pacers?
We discuss all of this, plus underhand free throws, Billy Crudup disguises, and James Harden in the All-Star Game.
You can follow Ethan Sherwood Strauss on Twitter at @sherwoodstrauss.