by Holly MacKenzie

Happy Monday, SLAMmer’s. The first weekend of NBA action is always fun. It’s even more fun when you get to watch a home opener in person. Check out my game notes from the Warriors/Raptors game this past Friday. We’ve got some great notes coming from Cub and Russ (and maybe some others, but those two I know for sure), so be on the lookout for them and try not to be too tired today. I know, all of this ball watching takes a lot out of you, hey?

Carmelo the buzzedThis past weekend absolutely flew by and I was awake both mornings well before 8 a.m. for no reason in particular. Hate that. Love the Lakers being up 3-0, even if they did get a scare in Denver. Love how much a Carmelo without ‘rows threw me off. Cub, was the newly shorn look a topic of conversation in the locker room? I can’t lie, the first week of NBA action absolutely kicked my ass. Trying to get back into the routine of writing well into the wee hours of the night then waking up early to edit and post as well as tackle this new city, I am all over the place, but in a good place. Have I mentioned I love this city?

Okay, so the Knicks need to let Steph go. I’m not going to drag this out, only going to say that this has gone on too long. He is talented, in ridiculously great shape and does not need to be in this position any longer.

Russell Westbrook is nice. I may not be enjoying the Thunder, but I am enjoying Westbrook.

Congrats to BETCATS for his beloved Bobcats getting their first win of the season.

It’s taking some time to get used to League Pass, also. It’s been a week of adjustments. I forget how overwhelming it can be when you’ve got 10+ games on the schedule on any given night. Having the ability to flip back and forth between all of the action is exhilarating and also a bit crazy. I somehow managed to miss almost all of the Philly/Atl game. Luckily for me, CoCo was sure to send me highlights so I’d see her boys complete the ridiculous comeback over a Sixers team who looks a little bit lost right now. I need to step my channel surfing game up, guys!

So, almost a week in and the Lakers, Raptors, New Orleans and Houston are all a perfect 3-0. Haven’t gotten to watch much of the Jazz, but I’ve got to say that Houston looks great. Obviously, I expected the Lakers and Hornets to look good and the Raps have pleasantly surprised me thus far. I know, it is still very, very early. You guys know I love to love every minute of the season though, so I’m taking it all in.

Chris Paul for MVP!

K, so maybe not really, at least not this soon, but I sure do love watching him play. He’s a special one.

So thankful the Warriors picked up their first W of the season in Jersey. My boy Stack Jack went off in the second half of the game, scoring 20 of his 23 in the third and fourth. He is something to watch when he’s got it going. I loved when he had the delay of game warning after screaming at the Nets’ bench. I also love watching DeMarcus Nelson do his thing with Golden State. He’s got to be on top of the world right now, working his way into the rotation after being undrafted. Those Warriors have a nice collection of feel good stories, the hard working guys who made it happen when the League didn’t come knocking. I love that.

Portland 100 San Antonio 99

After losing Greg Oden for at least a couple of weeks and losing their opener to the Lakers, the Trailblazers managed to hold on for the 100-99 victory over the Spurs on Friday night. Despite allowing the Spurs to shot 55.9% from the floor for the game, Michael Finley’s three-point attempt at the buzzer rimmed in and out before the Blazers got to walk off of the court victorious. The game was close throughout the first half with Portland leading by only six at the half. They managed to stretch that lead out a bit in the third and went into the fourth leading by 12, before the Spurs, remaining calm and collected, cut into the lead and two three-pointers from Roger Mason with under four minutes to play brought the Spurs to within one, and then Tony Parker gave the Spurs a short-lived lead before free throws from Brandon Roy and then LaMarcus Aldridge draining a jumper allowed the Blazers to escape with the win. Roy finished the game with 26 points and 7 assists, Aldridge had 23, Nicolas Batum added 12 off of the bench and Channing Frye scored 10 points. For the Spurs, Tim Duncan had 27 points and 10 rebounds while Parker scored 24 points and dished 11 assists and Finley finished with 16.

Indiana 95 Boston 79

Appearing to be invincible to open the new NBA season and picking up where they had left off last season, the Boston Celtics hit a road block on Saturday night when they faced Danny Granger and the Pacers. Led by Granger and point guard TJ Ford, the Pacers were able to blow open their game against Boston and take them down 95-79 in front of their home crowd. After leading by seven at the half, the Pacers were able to take control in the third quarter, stretching their lead to 11 at the start of the final period. In the fourth, Boston simply could not keep up, get stops or do anything to prevent the game from slipping away. Granger lost both front teeth diving for the ball while being up 16 and then stayed in the game, a testament to how badly the Pacers wanted this one. Granger finished with 20 points to lead the Pacers as TJ Ford scored 19 and Marquis Daniels added 13 points and 10 boards. Kevin Garnett led the Celtics with 18 points and 14 rebounds, Paul Pierce scored 15 points to go with 10 rebounds and Tony Allen added 14 off of the bench in the loss.

New Orleans 104 Cleveland 92

In a match up between LeBron James and Chris Paul, it was Paul and his Hornets who stung the Cavs Saturday night despite having Tyson Chandler and Peja Stojakovic on the sidelines with ankle sprains. While the game saw Cleveland holding on to an eight-point lead at the end of the first quarter, the Hornets chipped away and lead by one, 49-48 at the half. In a battle of wills in the third, the Hornets maintained that one-point lead and went into the final quarter up 73-72 and were too solid down the stretch for the Cavs to compete with. After Cleveland took the 83-81 lead on a free throw from James, they did not score again until the 2:51 mark which then saw the Hornets up by eight points and the Cavaliers unable to recover. Chris Paul led the way with 24 points, 15 assists and only one turnover for New Orleans. David West had 25 points and new Hornet James Posey added 15 off of the bench. James finished with 15 points and 13 assists, Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 18 points and Daniel Gibson, 14 off of the bench in the loss.

Detroit 117 Washington 109

Saturday night the Detroit Pistons starting line-up struggled. Beyond Rasheed Wallace and Rip Hamilton they struggled. Luckily, they were facing the Wizards. Shorthanded, the Wizards were unable to complete the comeback against a Detroit team that got sloppy and the Pistons downed Washington 117-109 Saturday night. While they led by as many as 17 points in the first half, they gave up a 22-4 run to the Wizards that saw their lead shrink to only one at the break. They were able to regain composure in the third as they retook control towards the end of the period and went into the fourth up by five, 81-76. Washington wouldn’t stop coming at the Pistons in the final quarter. Even though they were unable to complete the push to take the lead, they cut the deficit down to two points, but could not get any closer as Detroit pulled away in the final minutes to take the victory. Richard Hamilton had 24 points to go along with 7 assists, Rasheed Wallace scored 17 and grabbed 12 rebounds to go with 6 blocked shots and reserve Walter Herrmann added 16 points off of the bench. Antawn Jamison scored 24 to lead the Wiz, as Nick Young added 23 off of the bench and Caron Butler scored 21 in the loss.

Oklahoma 88 Minnesota 85

In a game that many people may not have seen last night, the Oklahoma Thunder notched their first victory on their home floor by defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves 88-85 last night. It was a game that was very close throughout, with the teams tied at 20 to end the first quarter and Minnesota leading by only one at the half. It stayed close with Oklahoma taking over the one-point lead to start the fourth. Before they were able to take that one-point lead into the final period, the Thunder found themselves down by as many as 13 points in the third and it was rookie Russell Westbrook who got their run started to go up by one at the start of the fourth quarter. In the fourth, the game remained tight with Westbrook being responsible for the lay up that put Oklahoma up one, 86-85. When the TWolves failed to score for the final 2:41 seconds of the game, Oklahoma earned their first victory. Kevin Durant had 18 points to lead the Thunder, while Jeff Green scored 13 points, Westbrook, 14 and Chris Wilcox, 12. Al Jefferson was solid in the loss with 24 points and 13 rebounds. Craig Smith had 13 off of the bench and Ryan Gomes added 12.

Denver 113 LA Clippers 103

While this game looked as though it was going to feature LA on the winning end of a blowout, it was the Nuggets who stormed back to take the victory in overtime, Friday night. With the Clippers going up by 18 at the half, 55-37, the Nuggets knew they didn’t have any time to waste in the second if they wanted to come back and grab the W. Despite Denver using a 12-2 run to cut the deficit down to single digits, it was the Clippers who still held the 76-68 lead at the start of the final quarter. In the fourth, the Clipper offense stalled, due in large part to the absence of Baron Davis who left in the first half after coming down hard on his hip. With LA going scoreless over a four minute period, the Nuggets took advantage and were down only three when the Clippers finally scored again on a Cuttino Mobley free throw off of an Allen Iverson technical. With the two teams battling it out in the final minutes of regulation, Linas Kleiza knocked down two free throws to bring overtime and it was all Nuggets in the extra session with JR Smith kicking the period off by scoring the layup and the foul to put Denver up three. With Iverson scoring eight points in the overtime the Nuggets pulled away and pulled out the road win without Carmelo Anthony who was serving the final game of a two-game suspension. Iverson finished with 25 points, Nene had 22 points and 11 rebounds and Kenyon Martin had a 13-point, 13-rebound double-double as Smith scored 17 off of the bench. Al Thornton had a big game with 30 points and 11 rebounds for the Clippers, Tim Thomas scored 20 and Chris Kaman scored 15 points to go with 15 rebounds in the loss.