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)