Thursday, November 02, 2006

NBA Opening Night: Quick Hits

Cruising through each NBA game on the "real" opening night and hitting the key stuff, since all ESPN is going to tell you is "LeBron James and the Cavs won" and then show him dunking 412 times tonight. ESPN sucks.

Here we go, game-by-game.

Indiana 106 Charlotte 99. This game was marred by oft-injured Gerald Wallace getting upended on a dunk attempt and landing on his head. He couldn't return to the game and will be evaluated tomorrow. Beyond that, the Bobcats got good news, bad news from key players. Raymond Felton didn't rise to the challenge at all, turning the ball over 6 times and losing fourth quarter minutes to Bernard Robinson Jr. On the other hand, Emeka Okafor went for 19 and 13 with 6 blocks. Good to see him healthy and playing well. Even though the Pacers won, I have nothing to say about them.

Orlando 109 Chicago 94. Things sure can change in 24 hours. The Bulls couldn't ramp the intensity back up after the blowout win last night, and Skiles did his usual "you guys didn't play well in the first quarter and so now as punishment I am going to bench you in favor of Malik Allen and company" screw job to most of the starters. Scott Skiles is a fantasy assassin. The real story here though was Dwight Howard. He was an absolute monster and the speed and power he displayed made me feel like I was watching Amare in the 2005 playoffs. 27 and 11 on 9-12 FG and 9-10 FT, plus a steal and two blocks. And the numbers didn't even do it justice.

Philly 88 Atlanta 75. We can ramp the Josh Smith Hype Machine down a few notches as he went 2-for-10 from the floor and looked pretty clueless from what I saw. Good to see that Joe Johnson absolutely has the green light in Atlanta, as he squeezed off 23 FGA's even though he couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. On the winning side, Iverson had 32 and 6 as the Sixers overcame Chris Webber's abysmal 4-for-16 shooting. This gets the Boring Award for worst game of the night.

New Orleans 91 Boston 87. Paul Pierce giveth and Paul Pierce taketh away. He had 29 and 19 and played like a man possessed but somehow went 7-for-15 from the line. Free throw shooting was a problem league wide, in fact. The Cavs went 15-for-30, the Rockets shot 63%, and multiple guys missed all their attempts. Maybe it is the new ball? The story here is that the Red Game was spoiled by Chris Paul and his 20-7-10 with 3 steals performance. Sick.

New Jersey 102 Toronto 92. The Nets got 18 boards from their point guards (10 for Kidd and 8 for Marcus Williams) and 29 from the backcourt when you factor in Vince Carter. That is absurd. Meanwhile, the Raptors suck, Chris Bosh doesn't look healthy at all, and some guy named Anthony Parker was their best player. Things could get ugly north of the border. But hey, at least they locked up T.J. Ford for $11 million over 5 years. What's that you say? It was $11 million per season? Oh, nevermind.

Cleveland 97 Washington 94. Two big stories here. 1) The tale of two stars. LeBron came through with 26-10-5 and a Jay-Z level Takeover in the fourth quarter while Arenas shot 2-for-12 with just 7 points. 2) Larry Hughes showed that he's going to be pretty good now that he's healthy and he really stuck it to his old team with 27-9-5 on 11-for-15 shooting. This just in though: Cleveland's point guards still suck incredibly bad. They need to get Shannon Brown on the floor, stat.

Milwaukee 105 Detroit 97. For all those thinking that Rasheed Wallace would somehow "step up" in Ben Wallace's absence, I present to you Exhibit A. It is never going to happen people. A goose egg and an ejection - what a nice way to start the year. Meanwhile, the Bucks are actually a fun team to watch. Bogut's miracle healing process leaves me filled with wonder, Michael Redd is the basketball manifestation of the word "efficient", and I'm thrilled to see The Seal getting an absolute license to jack (6-for-21). The Bucks might be my jam this year.

Minnesota 92 Sacramento 83. First, did Mike Bibby borrow Bogut's doctor or something? What happened to being out for three weeks? Too bad even with him the Kings couldn't score any points, just as my man Jack predicted. Ron Artest was a real conundrum tonight as he went for 16-12-4 with 7 steals, but he shot 6-for-24 from the field and 4-of-8 from the line in the process. Yikes. On the other side of the ball, KG was just slightly more efficient, going for 24 and 12 on just 9 shots. (Note: Fantasy owners counting on another big season from Mike James were already kidding themselves, but seeing him split the time at the point with Troy Hudson had to sting a little.)

New York 118 Memphis 117 (Triple OT). What a wild game. Quentin Richardson had his best game as a Knick by going 10-for-13 from the field, 5-of-5 on threes, and 6-of-6 from the line for 31 and 9. The amazing thing about New York is that Isiah not only played Jamal Crawford for 48 minutes, but also ran multiple plays for him to take game winning shots ... despite the fact that Crawford was 4-of-22 from the field. Genius! Chalk this one up in the "winning in spite of the coach" column. As for the Grizzlies, they have to be excited by some of the young guys. Hakim Warrick went for 22 and 12 (although he somehow managed to go 4-for-12 from the line), Rudy Gay 21-8 with 4 blocks, and Kyle Lowry had 10 boards in 28 minutes from the point guard spot. Keep playing the kids, Mike Fratello.

Utah 107 Houston 97. The Jazz looked really good. Boozer went for 24 and 19, Deron Williams 18 and 10 dimes, and the shooting guard situation was athletic and dynamic for the first time in an eternity as C.J. Miles and Ronnie Brewer combined for 21 points in 38 minutes.

Portland 110 Seattle 106. This wasn't a real interesting game to most people, but Portland fans have to be excited to start the year with a win and a nice 20-point debut for Brandon Roy. Zach Randolph went 30 and 10 for the Blazers while Luke Ridnour shook of rampant talk of a platoon at best and losing his job at worst and delivered 22 points and 13 dimes in a losing effort.

Lakers 110 Golden State 98. Odom had another sweet game with 22-9-9 and somehow Rony Turiaf went for 23 and 9 with 2 blocks and 2 steals. What? In related news, the Warriors still suck. (By the way, we can hold off on engraving Andrew Bynum's Hall of Fame plaque. He played only 16 minutes in his second game while battling through his first injury and foul trouble.)

Phoenix 112 Clippers 104. The Suns bounced back nicely from the Thursday Night debacle. Amare's stats weren't out of this world, but he had some monster dunks and sure looked explosive out there. Considering this was the second game of a back-to-back, that is a great sign. Sam Cassell should feel free to shoot more bad shots for the Clippers. Jeez.

No comments: