NBA Report: Play Ball!

6

Words by Phlip

Opening day(s) are upon us and now I have some actively-participated regular season games and there are a FEW things that we can say we’ve observed thus far.

The Knicks have a lot of learning to do…
Look, I know they won and a win is a win. We need not neglect to notice how large a lead they coughed up, only to have to be bailed out at the end of the game by the officials. I do not blame Kevin Garnett for knuckling up at the end of the game to be honest. First thing the Knickerbockers should work on is listening to Tyson Chandler and following his lead, and PLAY SOME DEFENSE! Yes they won the game, and yes they will make the playoffs, but blowing leads to teams that know how to win championships will not be a good idea in the come playoff time. Getting serious about holding leads and playing defense will do that.

The Mavericks are not as good as expected…
A defending champion should (naturally) make the overtures to keep the squad they won with intact and ride until the wheels fall off.  Watching the game yesterday, I watched as Miami exposed the Mavericks as being the Mavericks of old, where defense was optional. Perhaps they were just resting on their laurels, or perhaps Miami was a bit miffed at having to watch the banner-raising ceremony from a finals in which THEY were the ones beaten, but the 105-94 final score suggests that the game wound up being more competitive than it actually was. Proof of this can be found in the fact that the Heat players left the floor after pre-game shootaround before the ceremony. Once in the game, Vince Carter showed them why he could be had so cheaply as a free agent, as his defensive assignment(s) baked him, and he contributed so little in the first half that he did not start in the second. Lamar Odom went into another of his bouts of inconsistency, scoring 4 points on one made shots of six attempted before getting ejected. As a Lakers fan, I am glad that the Mavs got THAT Lamar and not the sixth man of the year one.

and then…

The Miami Heat are as good as I said they were…
From tip to garbage time, Miami made Dallas look EASY to figure out. The dearth of shooters/cutters in what Dallas lost, combined with Miami’s apparent commitment to defense, using that frustrating swarming approach that upsets most offensive flows, can be blamed for that. On the other side of the ball, Miami executed offensively, not having to resort to what I call “hero ball” that spoiled their chances last season. Their shooters shot, their role players played their roles and they seemed to be enjoying themselves. The extended amount of PT that the bench got in the end-game is the only reason the final score showed an 11-point margin, instead of the near 30 they were up at one point. Mike Wilbon went on the record as saying that 58 of 66 games won is possible for this Miami Heat team, and if they are committed to playing like they did last night, I believe him. I hate to have to admit it, though I have already pegged them as the next champions, but it seems like they “get it” now.

The Lakers are not as bad as we thought they were…
To be totally honest, with Bynum suspended, Ron Artest still on the team and Kobe ailing, I REALLY didn’t expect the Lakers to win last night. Pau Gasol started at center, which was fine against an undersized Center in Joakim Noah, but I was REALLY worried about the forwards, Josh McRoberts and Devin Ebanks (whose name I did not know as a starter until AFTER he scored).
For 3.5 quarters, the Lakers played great defense and cohesive enough offense to have beaten the Bulls. In the end, I put the failure to close it out on a collapse defensively at the end of the 4th quarter, letting the Bulls back in the game and then the same brand of incompetent coaching at the very end of the game that consistently damned The LeBrons in Cleveland. In all, with Kobe barking orders on the floor, the Mike Brown experiment may not be so bad in LA, and they are not as bad as assumed to have been. No, they are not a title contender until Dwight Howard arrives, but they won’t miss the playoffs.

Sure, it was just the Warriors, but…
The Clippers will be the draw in LA until Dwight Howard arrives to the Purple and Gold. And you know what? It will be a WILDLY entertaining ride too! Don’t tell anyone this, but only Ricky Rubio and what he came into up in Minnesota excites me on paper as much as the Clippers with Blake and CP3 do.
Yes, their win was “ONLY” against the Warriors, who I suspect that one of the top-5 NCAA teams could take in a game on a good day, but the Clippers can be accepted as NOT being the laughing stock of the league for a season or two at least.

Just trade Dwight, already…
Every game the Magic lose will push Dwight Howard closer to the door.
The piece they wanted in return from New Jersey is injured right now. This is going to be an ugly season for the Magic with or without Dwight Howard, losing to Kevin Durant’s 30-point opening night should serve as proof of this when one stops to consider that Orlando happens to be in the same division as the Miami Heat. The best thing to do to prevent the continued ruination of Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic’s respective seasons is to get the breakup over with already.
There were only 5 games on last night’s schedule, and all were positioned – as Christmas games always are – with maximum entertainment (and ratings) in mind. I would say that the NBA delivered, up to and including getting to see the commissioner booed before the Mavericks/Heat game. Many of us might not have been able to manage a whole winter without basketball, and this Christmas it was delivered to us that we would not have to…

PLAY BALL!!!

Words by Phlip
@CallMePhlip
CallMePhlip.blogspot

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6 comments on “NBA Report: Play Ball!

  1. Phlip says:

    And then the Mavericks lose by 20 to a team that will not make the playoffs…

    Lamar Odom seemed like SUCH a great move 2 weeks ago.
    Now they want that $14million trade exception and draft pick back.

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  2. DV says:

    I retract my earlier repeat prediction for the Mavs. They have a serious problem on they hands.

    Pending any unforseen occurances I believe Miami will do it. The main reason why being is that the 4th qtr of the season is missing which works out great for Lebron. But really the team as a whole is healthier, younger and faster then last year. MIA only threat out the East is CHI in my opinion.

    Lakers actually look tough (not just good) for the first time since Shaq got dismissed.

    LAL vs OKC for the West (toss-up)

    MIA vs CHI for the East

    MIA wins it all.

    Durant or Lebron MVP

    Harden for 6th man (if Durant doesnt win MVP)

    I think DHoward will wind up on a team nobody ever guessed. Brook Lopez injury kills the Brooklyn deal. Lakers are a option but I personally wouldnt do it unless Jameer Nelson came along too.

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  3. Tony Grands says:

    Lamar left the Lakers on some emotional shit. He’s been in interviews using words like “they” & “y’all” when it should be “us” &!”we.” That’s like calling your new chick your ex girl. It happens because you still love her.

    & really though; I love how the total breakdown of the lakers roster has chased all the bandwagon fans away.

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  4. Mark Dub says:

    Two games in the Mavs look pathetic with out Tyson Chandler. He was the one piece they really needed to retain to have another championship run. Oh well. Go Hornets & Heaters.

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    • Phlip says:

      I called that one right out front too.
      They WILL get together enough to make the playoffs, but their defensive identity – ALL of it – is playing in Manhattan now.

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  5. […] this is me admitting I was wrong, but only after being right all along. On December 26th, I said that Miami seemed like they had turned the […]

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