Anyone still doubting the Black Mamba?
Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles Lakers’
Tags: Andrew Bynum, Chris Paul, Emeka Okafor, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans, New Orleans Hornets, Pau Gasol
Tags: 2011, Aaron Gray, Amare Stoudemire, Andrew Bynum, Atlanta Hawks, Carl Landry, Chauncey Billups, Chicago Bulls, Chris Bosh, Chris Paul, David West, Denver Nuggest, Dwayne Wade, Dwight Howard, Emeka Okafor, Indiana Pacers, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, NBA, New Orleans Hornets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Pau Gasol, Philadelphia 76ers, Playoffs, Ron Artest, San Antonio Spurs, Shocks, sixers, Surprises, Thaddeus Young
What a way to kick off the Playoffs. I have never seen, rather, the NBA has never witnessed this type of surprises.
For the first time in NBA Playoff history, the top 2 seeds of a conference lose their Game One’s. The Memphis Grizzlies lived up to their words, and beat the Spurs without Rudy Gay for a 101 – 98 thriller. What was not thrilling though was the loss of my beloved LA Lakers, which I still don’t understand how, but they somehow found a way to lose to the New Orleans Hornets, 109-100.
Anyway, let’s take a look at how, for a change, there was no game that was one sided:
Indiana Pacers  vs Chicago Bulls  (99-104)
Derrick Rose said that it wouldn’t be easy.
He was damn right.
With the critics and analysts saying that the Pacers’ record isn’t good enough to be in the playoffs, they proved otherwise. Putting up a challenge in the entire night, they just weren’t able to finish the game right as they started it. Derrick Rose showed why he should be the league’s MVP (39 points, 6 assists), leading the Bulls to end the game on a 16-1 run after trailing 98-88 with over 2 minutes left.
What to expect in Game 2: Expect Carlos Boozer to have a better game, and the rest of the Chicago Bulls to take the Pacers more seriously. Game Two should be Chicago’s.
Philadelphia 76ers  vs Miami Heat  (89 – 97)
As expected, the Heat beat the Sixers. Also, the Sixers didn’t give in easily. With a mediocre shooting game from LeBron James, and finally taking into the decoy role that he should have been doing all season in the last two minutes of the game, Dwayne Wade managed to score five of his 17 points in the last 2 minutes, securing the win for the Heat. The game kicked off with Philly leading 25-11, yet the Heat bounced back and managed to pull a 12 point lead in the fourth quarter, only for the Sixers to rally back one last time and cut the deficit to 1 point, yet Wade showed them who’s boss, ending the game in favor of the upper seed. Let’s not forget Chris Bosh putting on his A-game with those 25 points and 12 rebounds. The Sixers in general had a good game, but they simply can’t match up with the Heat.
What to expect in Game 2: Another Miami Heat victory unless the Sixers find a way to stop both LeBron and Dwayne at the same time.
New York Knicks  vs Boston Celtics  (85-87)
I had a feeling this series would be good. I just never thought the games would be this good.
As great as the rivalry was Game 1. Carmelo Anthony didn’t impress as much, Amar’e Stoudemire was awesome, and I’m worried about that Chauncey Billups injury. The New York trio weren’t good enough to beat the Celtics, where Ray Allen shone again with 24 points on 15 shots, including that late 3 that won them the game. It was an exciting game, yet the series took an unfortunate turn for the Knicks with Billups’ injury at the end of the game and is questionable for Game 2.
What to expect in Game 2: If the Knicks don’t feed the ball more to Stoudemire, and Billups not coming back (no offense to Toney Douglas), expect a Celtics victory again.
Atlanta Hawks  vs Orlando Magic  (103-93)
I haven’t seen a one man performance like Dwight Howard’s in a while. 31 points in the first half? One would think the Magic were dominating the game! *Annoying buzz* Wrong answer. Despite those 31 points, the Atlanta Hawks were outplaying the Orlando Magic.
Other than Dwight Howard’s 46 points and 19 rebounds, there was nothing really to see in the Magic. And they said that Jason Collins was going to bother Howard. Jameer Nelson had a slow start in the first half, but finished strong with 27 points. But that’s about it.
Joe Johnson, Jamal Crawford and co. put on a strong game, and seem to be confident about themselves given they won the season series 3-1. Why not? They played big after a not-so-good first quarter.
What to expect: The Defensive Player of the Year for the third year in a row can’t go any bigger than those 46 points, but his teammates assumingly would step up their game. Orlando tie the series.
Memphis Grizzlies  vs San Antonio Spurs  (101-98)
Memphis rested their starters for the last 4 games to make sure they are ready AND end up with the Spurs in a playoff matchup. They could’ve went up to sixth and played the Dallas Mavericks, who they owned in the regular season. Yet they chose to stay 8th.
They lived up to it. Big time.
Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol put on a show, and despite the game taking lead changes at the end, the Grizzlies were able to get their first playoff win for the franchise. As an eighth seeded team against the best team in the West. Now that’s good.
Yet no need to worry, I still think that, despite my hatred for the Spurs, they’ll still win this series in six games.
What to expect: San Antonio bouncing back like they always do. Spurs win. Very hard for the Grizzlies to pull off another stunner at the AT&T Center.
New Orleans Hornets  vs Los Angeles Lakers  (109-100)
I watched the game the other night, and I still couldn’t understand. Why would Pau Gasol play so horribly like that? Kobe Bryant was the man for LA with those 34 points and those amazing shots, and Ron Artest put up a decent game with that double-double, but seriously Pau Gasol, WTF?! 2 from 9, 6 rebounds?! And you wonder why championship-less center Stoudemire calls you soft? Get your act together! Andrew Bynum had 13 points and 9 rebounds, but wasn’t as good as he was in the streak. Kobe couldn’t pull it off by himself this time. And LA’s defense sucked big time.
Chris Paul, the player who came second to Kobe in MVP voting back in 08, scored 33 points, had 14 assists, 7 rebounds and 4 steals and played around the Lakers defense at free will. The way the Hornets were knocking down those one handed layups was as if they were playing alone. THE LAKERS SHOULD HAVE DOMINATED THE DAMN GAME! The Hornets don’t have David West. Emeka Okafor had a bad game with more fouls than points. Aaron Gray and Carl Landry outplay Pau Gasol???!!! IN WHAT WORLD?!
It’s a good thing Kobe called out Gasol today. He seriously has to start playing like a 2 time champ.
What to expect: I still think the Lakers are going to win this series in 5. So expect a Lakers win.
Portland Trail Blazers  vs Dallas Mavericks  (81-89)
It felt so good to see the Mavs win. They got such a good team that I’ll never understand why they just can’t win in the playoffs and play the way they play the regular season. Everyone undermines Dirk Nowitzki and thinks he chokes in the playoffs. Really? He’s one of 4 guys in NBA history to average 25 points and 10 rebounds in the playoffs. Don’t forget those performances against the Suns and Spurs back in the day. And whoever tells me that he choked in the 06 Finals, we all know what happened then. So enough about that.
I enjoyed more than anything my favorite non-Laker player being the X-Factor of the game. That’s right, 38-year old Jason Kidd had 24 points, including 6 3-pointers, and with Nowitzki’s 27 points, the Mavs were finally able to quiet those who are foreseeing an upset in this series and pull off a well deserved win.
What to expect: This series is puzzling, and I’m not expecting Kidd to have another 24 point game. But I still think the Mavs are going to win both at home. So another Mavs win.
Denver Nuggets  vs Oklahoma City Thunder  (103-107)
This could easily be the most exciting series in the playoffs. Why not? The youngest and most athletic players in the NBA going at each other? The leading scorer? The team that the Ewing Theory seems to work perfectly on? Yeah, I want this series.
Kevin Durant (41 points) and Russell Westbrook (31 points) combined for one of the best guard performances so far and were able to overcome the winningest team since the All Star break.
Kendrick Perkins had 4 points, but 2 of them gave the Thunder the lead for good.
Denver had a good game, and despite dominating the NBA since the Carmelo Anthony trade, they just can’t seem to beat the Thunder. What I like about Denver is that they had eight players with at least 8 points, led by Nene Hilario’s 22, which makes them a threat given you can’t tell who is going to dominate the game at any given night.
What to expect: I honestly don’t know. This is one of the series where any team can win on any given night because they are so young. I’ll go with the Thunder on this one, although the Nuggets are going to give them hell again.
Tags: 2011, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, matchups, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, NBA, New Orleans Hornets, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Playoffs, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, schedule
As you all know, the NBA regular season concluded its games last night. With the San Antonio Spurs holding on to the top record all season, they will remain the #1 West seed but will have to settle for #2 overall after losing last night to the Phoenix Suns. The overall #1 seed went to the Chicago Bulls, who put on their best season since the Michael Jordan days with a 62 win season. If the Spurs won last night, there would have been a tie between both leading teams, and a rare feat would have happened, as all tiebreakers would have been useless and there would have been a random draw to determine who holds home court advantage all the way. But, that won’t happen anymore due to the Spurs loss last night, who will end up playing eighth seeded Memphis Grizzlies.
Back to the topic, after the Eastern conference was decided as early as Monday night, the Western conference was decided in the final seconds of last night with the Los Angeles Lakers playing what could be the last game in Sacramento vs. the Sacramento Kings, as the Kings may be moving to Anaheim. The Lakers won the game in OT, and claimed 2nd seed to face the New Orleans Hornets, who lost to the Dallas Mavericks last night, hence the Mavs claiming the third seed and will face the sixth-seeded Portland TrailBlazers. The final matchup of the Western conference may be one for the ages, which will feature two of the most athletic and versatile young teams in the league, fourth seeded Oklahoma City Thunder against the Denver Nuggets.
The playoff schedule will be as follows:
Saturday, April 16
Indiana Pacers at Chicago Bulls Game 1, 10 AM PT/1 PM ET, ESPN/ESPN3D
Philadelphia 76ers at Miami Heat Game 1, 12:30 PM PT/3:30 PM ET, ABC
Atlanta Hawks at Orlando Magic Game 1, 4 PM PT/7 PM ET, ESPN
Portland Trail Blazers at Dallas Mavericks Game 1, 6:30 PM PT/9:30 PM ET, ESPN
Sunday, April 17
Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs Game 1, 10 AM PT/1 PM ET, TNT
New Orleans Hornets at L.A. Lakers Game 1, 12:30 PM PT/3:30 PM ET, ABC
New York Knicks at Boston Celtics Game 1, 4 PM PT/7 PM ET, TNT
Denver Nuggets at Oklahoma City Thunder Game 1, 6:30 PM PT/9:30 PM ET, TNT
Monday, April 18
Philadelphia 76ers at Miami Heat Game 2, 4 PM PT/7 PM ET, TNT
Indiana Pacers at Chicago Bulls Game 2, 6:30 PM PT/9:30 PM ET, TNT
Tuesday, April 19
New York Knicks at Boston Celtics Game 2, 4 PM PT/7 PM ET, TNT
Atlanta Hawks at Orlando Magic Game 2, 4:30 PM PT/7:30 PM ET, NBA TV
Portland Trail Blazers at Dallas Mavericks Game 2, 6:30 PM PT/9:30 PM ET, TNT
Wednesday, April 20
Denver Nuggets at Oklahoma City Thunder Game 2, 5 PM PT/7:30 PM ET, TNT
Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs Game 2, 5:30 PM PT/8:30 PM ET, NBA TV
New Orleans Hornets at L.A. Lakers Game 2, 7:30 PM PT/10:30 PM ET, TNT
Thursday, April 21
Chicago Bulls at Indiana Pacers Game 3, 4 PM PT/7 PM ET, NBA TV
Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers Game 3, 5 PM PT/8 PM ET, TNT
Dallas Mavericks at Portland Trail Blazers Game 3, 7:30 PM PT/10:30 PM ET, TNT
Friday, April 22
Boston Celtics at New York Knicks Game 3, 4 PM ET/7 PM PT, ESPN
Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks Game 3, 5 PM ET/8 PM PT, ESPN2/ESPN3D
L.A. Lakers at New Orleans Hornets Game 3, 6:30 PM ET/9:30 PM PT, ESPN
Saturday, April 23
Chicago Bulls at Indiana Pacers Game 4, 11:30 AM PT/2:30 PM ET, TNT
Dallas Mavericks at Portland Trail Blazers Game 4, 2 PM PT/5 PM ET, TNT
San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies Game 3, 4:30 PM PT/7:30 PM ET, ESPN
Oklahoma City Thunder at Denver Nuggets Game 3, 7 PM PT/10 PM ET, ESPN
Sunday, April 24
Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers Game 4, 10 AM PT/1 PM ET, ABC
Boston Celtics at New York Knicks Game 4, 12:30 PM PT/3:30 PM ET, ABC
Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks Game 4, 4 PM PT/7 PM ET, TNT
L.A. Lakers at New Orleans Hornets Game 4, 6:30 PM PT/9:30 PM ET, TNT
Monday, April 25
Oklahoma City at Denver, Game 4, 7:30 PM PT/10:30 PM ET, TNT
Times to be determined
San Antonio at Memphis, Game 4
Portland at Dallas (*), Game 5
Tuesday, April 26 (times to be determined)
New York at Boston (*), Game 5
Atlanta at Orlando (*), Game 5
Indiana at Chicago (*), Game 5
New Orleans at LA Lakers (*), Game 5
Wednesday, April 27 (times to be determined)
Philadelphia at Miami (*), Game 5
Memphis at San Antonio (*), Game 5
Denver at Oklahoma City (*), Game 5
Thursday, April 28 (times TBD)
Chicago at Indiana (*), Game 6
Orlando at Atlanta (*), Game 6
LA Lakers at New Orleans (*), Game 6
Dallas at Portland (*), Game 6
Friday, April 29 (times TBD)
Boston at New York (*), Game 6
Miami at Philadelphia (*), Game 6
San Antonio at Memphis (*), Game 6
Oklahoma City at Denver (*), Game 6
Saturday, April 30 (times TBD, games on TNT)
Indiana at Chicago (*), Game 7
Atlanta at Orlando (*), Game 7
New Orleans at LA Lakers (*), Game 7
Portland at Dallas (*), Game 7
Sunday, May 1 (times TBD)
New York at Boston (*), Game 7
Philadelphia at Miami (*), Game 7
Memphis at San Antonio (*), Game 7
Denver at Oklahoma City (*), Game 7
Tags: 2010, 2010 Champions, abdul jabbar, adam, Adam Morrison, andrew, Andrew Bynum, angeles, artest, Bryant, buss, bynum, ceremony, champions, craig, craig hodges, derek, Derek Fisher, dirk, Dirk Nowitzki, dr, Dr. Jerry Buss, duncan, fisher, gasol, guy, guy they missed, hazzard, hodges, jackson, James, jerry, kardashian, kareem, khloe, Khloe Kardashian, Kobe, Kobe Bryant, la, lakers, lamar, Lamar Odom, LeBron James, llebron, los, los angeles, Los Angeles Lakers, luke, Luke Walton, maria, Maria Sharapova, missed, morrison, NBA, nowitzki, odom, pau, Pau Gasol, phil, Phil Jackson, rasheed, rasheed hazzard, ring, Ring Ceremony, ron, Ron Artest, sasha, Sasha Vujacic, Shannon Brown, sharapova, they, tim, Tim Duncan, vujacic, walton
For all those interested, I found the video for the Los Angeles Lakers’ ring ceremony that took place last night. It was something for all Lakers’ fans, as they managed to raise their 16th banner and collect the 2010 championship rings, which were made out of 2010 NBA Finals Game 7 ball’s leather that crowned the Lakers champs.
What’s special about this ring ceremony is how the Lakers’ players all introduced one another after receiving their rings, which made them look more of a family rather than a team (and it also brought back the attention to the champs, not the wannabe champs).
Interesting points I noticed:
- If you pay attention when they are introducing the team staff, you’d notice that Tanter (the announcer) skips over an assistant coach and jumps off to Kareem Abdul Jabbar. That guy’s name is Rashard Hazzard and he happens to be another special assistant coach (He got to thank the announcer, Hazzard is now like 100 times famous because of that and is being searched over the Internet. Like they say, any publicity is good publicity).
- Adam Morrison getting booed when Phil Jackson said his name (Well, after all, the guy literally did NOTHING in the Finals).
- At first, it sounded like Luke Walton was getting booed for some reason when coach Jackson introduced him. Turned out the crowd yelled “Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuke”. Makes sense.
- They showed Khloe Kardashian when Lamar Odom received his ring, but it seems Maria Sharapova wasn’t there to witness her fiancee Sasha Vujacic’s second ring ceremony. It looks like the relationship is not TMZ material just yet.
- Andrew Bynum introduced Pau Gasol as the “greatest all around big” in the game (Bye bye Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki), Shannon Brown introduced Derek Fisher as “El Presidento”, Derek Fisher introduced Kobe Bryant as the “greatest basketball player in the world” (Take that LeBron!) and Kobe Bryant introduced Dr. Jerry Buss as the “greatest owner in team sports history”.
- Ron Artest is giving out his ring in a raffle to raise metal health awareness (like the cause, but seriously dude, the ring?).
- Gotta love those that are called as “Special Assistant coaches”. Just say what they do!
NBA’s Opening Night: Miami Thrice Fall, Portland Avenge Their Playoff Loss, Lakers Begin Title Defense StrongPosted: 28/10/2010 by Tom in Need a Home
Tags: 2010, 2010/2011, 2011, aaron, Aaron Brooks, allen, batum, big, big diesel, blake, blazers, bosh, boston, Boston Celtics, brandon, Brandon Roy, brooks, brown, Bryant, celtics, chris, Chris Bosh, daniels, diesel, dwayne, Dwayne Wade, gasol, he got game, heat, houston, Houston Rockets, James, jason, Jason Richardson, jesus, kevin, Kevin Martin, Kobe, Kobe Bryant, la, lakers, lebron, LeBron James, los angeles, Los Angeles Lakers, marquis, Marquis Daniels, martin, matthews, miami, Miami Heat, ming, nash, NBA, Nichloas Batum, nicholas, o'neal, pau, Pau Gasol, paul, Paul Pierce, phoenix, Phoenix Suns, pierce, portland, Portland Trailblazers, ray, Ray Allen, richardson, rings, rockets, roy, shannon, Shannon Brown, shaq, Shaquille O'Neal, shutteworth, steve, Steve Blake, Steve Nash, suns, trailblazers, wade, wesley, Wesley Matthews, yao, Yao Ming
As you all know, less than 24 hours ago marked the beginning of the 2010/2011 NBA season where the opening day featured three games: the new look Miami Heat losing to the Eastern champs Boston Celtics, the Portland Trailblazers defeated the Phoenix Suns, and the defending champs Los Angeles Lakers rallying from a 15 point deficit to knock out the Houston Rockets.
In the most watched regular season game EVER on cable, the Boston Celtics hosted the Miami Heat in the first game of the season. Everybody was waiting to see the Miami Heat in action, rather the presence of MVP LeBron James and Chris Bosh alongside to Dwayne Wade. As usual, the TD Garden’s crowd was merciless, shouting overrated everytime the Heat had the ball and booing LeBron James upon possesion. The Heat had one of the most sluggish and rusty first quarters in their history, scoring only 9 points in the first 12 minutes to trail the Celtics by 7. The second quarter started and the turnover party of the Miami Thrice, well basically James and Wade, kept on going on eventually helping the Celtics to gain a lead as much as 19 points and making Shaquille O’Neal looking younger than ever and Marquis Daniels play like a superstar, eventually ending the first half leading 45-30.
James started to make more of his shots, and slowly, he and Carlos Arroyo brought the Miami Heat back into the game, making the most anticipated game as interesting as it should be, with James scoring 15 of his 31 points in this quarter, with the Heat only trailing by six by the end of 3 quarters. However, Paul Pierce wouldn’t let his Celtics fall, and made one of the biggest statements in the game by standing in James’ way as he was running on the fast break, committing a blocking foul and making sure that the East champs are not ready to surrender their Eastern title yet. Pierce sat out a bit and came back in, knocked down two straight three pointers and drew a foul off a three point shot to kill the Heat, who were shooting abysmally throughout the game, starting with a miserable 23% in the first half and eventually only 37%, leaving the Celtics to hold off a late Heat charge and win the game 88-80. LeBron James had 31 points, yet 8 turnovers for the Heat, in addition to Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh having miserable games, with Wade’s 13 points off 4 for 16 shooting and 6 turnovers and Chris Bosh scoring a measly 8 points. Ray Allen led the way for the Celtics with 20 points, getting help from Pierce (19 points, 9 rebounds) and an astonishing performance from Rajon Rondo (17 assists, most ever in an opening game). The Celtics fly to Cleveland to play the Cavaliers, while the Heat finish their first back-to-back in Philadelphia against their 76ers.
The opening night continued with another rematch of last year’s playoffs, this time in Portland with the Phoenix Suns visiting the Trailblazers. As expected, the game started as a really close one, with no team being able to get in control, despite the fact that the Phoenix Suns were playing their first official game without Amare Stoudemire since losing him to the New York Knicks in free agency. The Blazers led by 2 at the end of the first quarter, and finished the first half up by 4 behind the good play of Brandon Roy and newcomer Wesley Matthews. The Phoenix Suns started the third quarter strong, behind Jason Richardson’s excellent play, giving the Suns a ten point advantage in the third quarter and end up by 6. Pprtland came back from the dead in mid fourth, ending the game on an 18-1 run to win it all 106-92 behind Roy’s 24 points, Nicholas Batum’s 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Matthews’ 13 points off the bench. Steve Nash had 26 points, 6 assists, but 9 turnovers for the Suns as well as 22 points from Richardson.
The night ended with a ring ceremony where the Los Angeles Lakers received their 2009-2010 championship rings and started their title defense with a tough game against the Houston Rockets, who were playing their first game with Yao Ming, who eventually played 23 minutes as planned, after an absence over a year. The Rockets started out strong in the first half, leading by as much as 11 by halftime (62-51). Then the Lakers stormed back, behind a collaborative performance, starting with Kobe Bryant ( 7 assists, 27 points, 11 on free throws) and Pau Gasol (29 points and 11 rebounds) and eventually Shannon Brown going off like a loose cannon after the Lakers trailed by as much as 15, scoring 11 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, and eventually Lakers new acquistion Steve Blake putting the icing on the cake, scoring three 3 pointers, including the go ahead, to win the game 112-110. Houston Rockets were led by Kevin Martin’s 26 points and Aaron Brooks’ 24 points, while Yao Ming had 9 points and 11 rebounds.
TnT’s Excellence of the Night: Paul Pierce (BOS, 17 points, 9 rebounds), Nicholas Batum (POR, 19 points, 11 rebounds), Shannon Brown (LAL, 16 points).
TnT’s Must-NOT-See Players of the Night: Miami’s bench, Dwayne Wade & Chris Bosh (44points on 15 for 49, 9 TOs)
TnT’s Leaders of the Night: LeBron James (MIA, 31 points), Luis Scola (HOU, 16 rebounds), Rajon Rondo (BOS, 17 assists)
Tags: 2010/2011, Amare Stoudemire, Boston Celtics, Championship, Chris Bosh, Delonte West, Dwayne Wade, Houston Rockets, Jermaine O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, NBA, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trailblazerts, raffle, rings, Ron Artest, Shaquille O'Neal, Steve Nash, Yao Ming
As you all know, at 2:30 AM Beirut time, the 64th NBA season kicks off with a rematch of one of last year’s first round playoff series with NBA East Champs Boston Celtics hosting the new look Miami Heat. Well, the Boston Celtics also had made a lot of adjustments, including adding the two O’Neals (Shaquille and Jermaine) to boost their frontcourt and former Cavalier Delonte West, now that starting center Kendrick Perkins is out until January due to an injury sustained in last season’s NBA Finals Game 7 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The bigger story of the game however, is going to be the debut of the Miami Thrice, that includes Dwayne Wade in addition to Miami’s two new signings, 2 time reigning MVP LeBron James and former Toronto Raptor Chris Bosh. As you all know, LeBron James received a lot of backlash after his infamous ESPN special “The Decision”, where he decided to screw over the entire city of Cleveland by declaring that he is taking his talents to South Beach (the Miami Heat) rather than playing for his hometown Cavaliers.
This may be one of the most anticipated openers ever, due to having a lot of other storylines, including:
- Shaquille O’Neal playing against his former Miami Heat after delivering a championship there in 2006 with D-Wade’s help. Shaq will also be facing Chris Bosh, who he called the NBA’s RuPaul.
- Delonte West and LeBron James, both former Cavs, will be also playing each other, after rumors surfaced the internet that had something to do with Delonte West sleeping with LeBron James’s mom, which made many people think was the main reason LeBron turned away from Cleveland and “quitting” in the last 4 games of the East conference semis vs. Boston.
- How well can the Miami Thrice function together? In the preseason, they only got 197 seconds of playtime together before Dwayne Wade injured himself against Detroit.
- Could this finally be the year LeBron James gets to win his first title? If he does, will he be playing as many expected Robin to Dwayne Wade’s Batman?
- This could be the last chance for the Boston Celtics to win it all, with their Big Three all hitting the twilight of their careers and may not get another crack at it in a while.
I am expecting it to be a historical opener, and think that Miami will beat the Celtics tonight.
The night continues with another rematch of last year’s first round series, this time from the Western conference though. Western conference finalists Phoenix Suns, playing their first season with Amare Stoudemire, will be visiting the Portland Trailblazers, who were hacked all year by their stars dealing with injuries.
Despite reaching the Western conference finals last year, the Phoenix Suns have a very dim chance of repeating so, after losing Stoudemire in free agency to the New York Knicks, killing the Suns’ run-and-gun fast paced offense. Instead, they acquired Hedo Turkuglo from the Toronto Raptors and brought back Josh Childress from Europe. Meanwhile, the Blazers had a bit of dilemma with Rudy Fernandez during the summer, who was asking to be traded and even threatened to leave the NBA to play back in Spain. Yet all seemed to work out on both sides, with Fernandez showing up to training camp and everything back to normal. Portland also traded Jerryd Bayless to New Orleans for a future draft pick and signed Fabricio Oberto.
This should also play out to be an interesting game, and I pretty much expect the Blazers to win the game tonight.
The final game of the night will be the first game of the champions’ title defense. The Los Angeles Lakers will be seeking their third straight title this season by starting off their season hosting the Houston Rockets. Also, many storylines come into play with this matchup, making it also a very interesting one:
- The Los Angeles Lakers have had a not-so-good preseason, including losing both games in Europe to the Minnesota Timberwolves and Euroleague champions FC Barcelona. I know, Kobe was injured and was having a couple of lousy shooting games and didn’t play much, and that is what worries all Lakers fans. Kobe Bryant says he is ready to play, but as he hits 32, one can only wonder if he is still as good as he was at 30 and even 31. I still have faith in Kobe, as he has built motivation off LeBron James joining his Super Friends in Miami and all the critics who are saying Kobe doesn’t have it in him anymore.
- Houston Rockets center Yao Ming will be making his return after missing out a full year due to an injury sustained against the Lakers in the 2009 playoffs. According to the Rockets’ management, Ming will have a cap of playing no more than 24 minutes per game and will be monitored by team doctors. His playing time may increase, but all depends.
- I am personally expecting the Houston Rockets to surprise the NBA with their great lineup. Aaron Brooks, Kevin Martin, Shane Battier, Luis Scola, and Yao Ming. They have a great team on paper, which makes the Western conference interesting, although I don’t see any team threatening the Lakers in the West, which brings us to
- The Lakers have improved their team and according the team owner Dr. Jerry Buss said back in August that this may be the “greatest Lakers team fielded ever” since he owned the team. And no, Buss didn’t own the team five years ago, he actually has been in charge for over 30 years, in other words, the Showtime Lakers were on his watch and he still thinks that this team is better. I mean, they are returning 9 players from the team that won last season, and they added an amazing point guard in Steve Blake, another tough-minded defensive player in Matt Barnes, and a veteran back-up center in Theo Ratliff. With those three additions, their bench is all toughed up, in addition to the rookies drafted, Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter, who will be seeing some playtime this year according to 11 time NBA champion coach Phil Jackson, which leads us to our next point:
- Will this be Phil Jackson’s last season? The only thing that seems to stop Jackson from coming back next year will be his health. After all, he’s collecting a very decent salary and is dating Buss’s daughter Jeanie. I think Jackson, like Bryant, is now more motivated than ever to coach this season in order to trump the masterpiece Pat Riley has created in Miami by adding James and Bosh.
- One final point: Will Andrew Bynum be just a role player, or will he able to return a full time player? After suffering injuries in the past 3 years, many, including Jackson, are wondering if Bynum will be able to go through a full NBA season and play full minutes like any other NBA center and deliver performances as he did before hitting the injury bug. I hope he can, after all, he has a lot of potential and I hope him and Blazers’ Greg Oden get to finally get back on track and play amazing basketball without getting hurt.
- On an unrelated note, the Lakers will be receiving their rings for winning their 16th NBA championship, but not all of the players are keeping their rings. Why? Ron Artest decided to give away his ring, first in an auction but recently in a raffle (lottery), to promote the cause of metal health awareness and according to him it will serve as motivation to strive for another ring. Tickets for the raffle cost $2 and you can a buy a minimum of 5 at http://www.ronartest.com .
I expect the Lakers to start their title defense with a win despite the strength of this year’s Rockets.
I am really excited about this season, as David Stern said earlier this summer, this season we might be experiencing the “greatest basketball ever”. All 30 NBA teams are loaded, with teams being better than others of course. Every NBA team has at least one superstar and most have former or current All-Stars, which makes this season more tempting than ever. I advise everyone to watch the three games tonight, and if not all, at least the Heat-Celtics and Rockets-Lakers games.
NBA…Where Amazing (and a bunch of other cool stuff) Happens
Tags: Amare Stoudemire, Boston Celtics, Carlos Boozer, Chicago Bulls, Christmas, Hedo Turkoglu, Houston Rockets, John Wall, Josh Childress, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, NBA, Oklahoma City Thunder, Opening Day, Orlando Magic, partial, Phoenix Suns, schedule, Tom Thodbideau, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards, Yao Ming
The Miami Heat got primetime treatment from the NBA schedule-makers.
With the release of their partial schedule, the new-look Miami Heat open their season October 26th on national television against the team that knocked them out last season, Eastern Conference champs Boston Celtics, while the NBA Finals MVP Kobe Bryant and his NBA champs the Los Angeles Lakers tip off their season after the ring ceremony against last season absentee Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets.
Christmas day will have continue to have the “five live games” with the main event being the awaited match-up between the trio of Dwayne Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat vs. the NBA champs, preluded by a rematch of the ’10 Eastern Conference finals, the Boston Celtics and the Orlando Magic.
It is rumored that LeBron James will be making his long awaited return to Cleveland on December 2nd as the second game of a back-to-back games for the Miami Heat.
Other must- see games:
Chicago Bulls vs.Oklahoma City Thunder: Two of the top six teams in the NBA will be facing each other on Day 2 as the revamped Bulls with former Utah Jazz players Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver and new coach Tom Thobideau facing the stable Thunder who had a quiet offseason.
Portland Trailblazers vs. Los Angeles Clippers: Both teams had to go through the agony of seeing their #1 Draft picks miss their first season due to injury. Will Greg Oden of the Blazers and Blake Griffin of the Clippers play this game and how good will they be?
Washington Wizards vs. Orlando Magic: Two big reasons to watch the game: First, this will be the awaited debut of the 2010 #1 Draft pick John Wall for the Washington Wizards, and the second big reason will be the Orlando Magic’ debut in their new Amway Center.
Phoenix Suns vs. Utah Jazz: After going through major makeovers, including both teams losing big-name power forwards this summer, this matchup could be an interesting one with the Suns acquiring Hedo Turkoglu and Josh Childress after losing Amare Stoudemire and the Utah Jazz trading for Al Jefferson after losing Carlos Boozer.
Orlando Magic vs. Miami Heat: The Miami Heat will be playing their first home game against their state rivals Orlando Magic. While the Miami Heat have the Miami Thrice, they do not, however, have a big center to defend Dwight Howard. Will the Magic take advantage?
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns: Rematch of the 2010 Western Conference finals, although it won’t be the same after the departure of Stoudemire but with all that it will remain to be an interesting game.
Full partial schedule that was released (Note: Schedule taken off ESPN.com):
2010-11 NBA Opening Week Schedule
|Tuesday, Oct. 26||Heat vs. Celtics||TNT, ESPN Radio||7:30 ET|
|Tuesday, Oct. 26||Rockets vs. Lakers||TNT||10:30 ET|
|Wednesday, Oct. 27||Bulls vs. Thunder||ESPN, ESPN3.com||8 ET|
|Wednesday, Oct. 27||Blazers vs. Clippers||ESPN, ESPN3.com||10:30 ET|
|Thursday, Oct. 28||Wizards vs. Magic||TNT||8 ET|
|Thursday, Oct. 28||Suns vs. Jazz||TNT||10:30 ET|
|Friday, Oct. 29||Magic vs. Heat||ESPN, ESPN3.com||8 ET|
|Friday, Oct. 29||Lakers vs. Suns||ESPN, ESPN3.com||10:30 ET|
2011 Martin Luther King Jr. Day Schedule