Who Made a Statement Opening Night?
It is nice to finally have the season underway. How could you not have been excited Tuesday night to watch LeBron and Pierce go at each other, followed by the much hyped Blazers taking a shot at the defending Western Conference Champions? Anyway, here are observations from the first few nights of the NBA Season:
– DId anybody really think KG, Pierce, and Ray Allen were going to lose their hunger after winning a NBA Title? After a flat first half, which was likely a result of the emotion surrounding the pre-game ring ceremony, the Celtics were in playoff form in the second half. Paul Pierce is playing like he wants to be mentioned in the same breath as LeBron and Kobe when people talk about the best player in the NBA. As long as Boston plays defense like they did in the second half of that game, they are going to be very tough to beat.
– In terms of Cleveland, I still like them alot. Mo Williams didn’t do anything special in his debut but he will be prove to be a key addition throughout the season. LeBron must work on being a better free throw shooter or the Cavs will never get past Boston. They also are going to need more from Daniel Gibson, since they are short on scoring options off the bench.
– Tuesday night was a harsh lesson for the Blazers who learned they are ways off from being on the Lakers level. Obviously, the main story is that Greg Oden is now out for 2-4 weeks after only playing 13 scoreless minutes. However, it was a tough debut for the entire team. Steve Blake and Brandon Roy were completely overmatched at guard, and Portland had absolutely no offensive rhythm.
– As a Knicks fan, I liked what I saw opening night. It was nice to see them win the game while Stephon Marbury and Eddy Curry watched from the bench. Mike D’Antoni did a good job forming his rotation and dividing up the minutes. Jamal Crawford is going to score alot of points this year, while Zach Randolph looks like he is going to be a solid 20-10 guy. More importantly, it appears Wilson Chandler and Nate Robinson are going to be dangerous weapons off the bench.
– Vince Carter was named captain by his teammates just before their opening night win in Washington. He responded by playing like one, leading the Nets with 21 points and showing leadership for his young team throughout the night. If Carter keeps his mind right and stays healthy, the Nets are going to be in the mix for a playoff spot in the East. The Wizards on the other hand looked flat, and like they are going to struggle replacing Brandon Haywood.
– Toronto had a nice debut, as Jermaine O’Neal and Chris Bosh are going to be a force to reckon with in the East. O’Neal’s knee looked fine as he put up 17 points and 8 rebounds in 34 minutes. However, Chris Bosh was the real story, putting up 27 and 11 in 42 minutes. Fortunately, people in Philly should be calm for the next few weeks thanks to their baseball team, since they looked like garbage against the Raptors.
– Good to see Greg Popovich have a sense of humor by wrapping up Shaq in the first minute of the game. Although I don’t know how he will be feeling when he realizes how thin the Spurs are this year.