In case you weren’t paying attention, the NBA kicked-off its season yesterday with a five-game slate. Here are a few things I took away from the some of the games that I saw:
For the most part, the overall game it-self, was not that bad. Most of the players seemed to be in pretty good shape and the shooting, for the most part, was good. There were a few exceptions. Stars such as Dirk Nowitzki, Stephen Curry, and Dwight Howard struggled for the field and their respective teams got blown out. I know the Dallas Mavericks only ended up losing by 11 points, but they were down 30 at one point in the game. Their bench finally got their act together in the 4th quarter and they were able to cut into the lead. Rajon Rondo could be an MVP-candidate this season. From what I saw, Rondo has improved his shooting and free-throw touch. He is already a great defender and even though his team lost, he did what he needed to do: 31 points, 13 assists, 5 rebounds, and 5 steals. Grant it, the Knicks have a weak back-court right now but Rondo was more of a factor on both ends of the floor.
The Miami Heat is pretty good. I think LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have heard enough about last season and they are going to take their frustration out on every opponent they play this season. Hopefully they save some of that frustration for the playoffs. I noticed that LeBron has a little bit of a post-up game now. When he faces up an opposing defender on the wing, he will put the ball above his head for a split-second before he shoots it. The times that he has done that, he has not missed. Perhaps he should keep doing it?
“Lob City” is the pathetic name that Chris Paul gave the Los Angeles Clippers when he found out that he was going to be playing with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. So I ask you this: How many “lobs” were thrown last night? Anyone? Well I have the answer: ONE. I know that Paul took the game over in the 4th quarter, but that’s what he should be doing. He should not be giving the team new nick-names, he should be playing basketball and helping his team, the CLIPPERS, win. Also, rookie head coach Mark Jackson implemented a new strategy that I had never seen before. It happened in the 3rd quarter. Whenever DeAndre Jordan was on the floor and the Clippers had the ball, the Golden State Warriors would foul Jordan. This happened at least 4 times. It ended up working, too. Jordan went 3-8 from the line and it kept the Warriors in the game until mid-way through the 4th quarter when Paul decided that he had had enough.
If you watched the Chicago Bulls/Los Angeles Lakers game, you would have noticed that no matter what, Kobe Bryant can still get the job done, even with torn ligaments in his shooting wrist. That being said, the Lakers lat-game execution was not up to par and it ended up costing them the game. With 4 seconds left in the game, Bryant took the in-bounds pass and dribbled down the lane on the right-side of the basket where he was met by Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, not to mention Luol Deng was already guarding him. Deng ended up blocking Bryant’s shot as time expired, giving the Bulls the win. If Bryant’s wrist was even 75%, do you think he would have taken a pull-up jumper for the win? I certainly do.
One last thing. If you heard whistlin’, it wasn’t from the sleigh bells. It was from the referees blowing their whistles every 10 seconds to call a foul on someone. There was a total of 236 fouls called over the course of five games. That equates to 47.2 fouls per game and 23.6 fouls per team. But that’s O.K. I think the referees are a little bit rusty and games should be a lot sharper as we get further into the season.
That’s all I have for now. Hope everyone had a great holiday with their families!