Good Morning NBA fanatics. Hope you enjoyed last night as much as I did. My goodness. Life is glorious, isn’t it? We’ve got ball, SLAM and freeeezing cold weather! I can deal with the cold as long as we’ve got the games, and last night there were 12 (count them!), 12 of them.
Quick side note, because I like talking with you all as much as I like recapping, I’ve decided to not recap every game on the schedule this year so that I can spend more time watching those games that are Worthy of My Attention and then we can discuss them. I’m still flipping with insanity thanks to League Pass, but I feel like I can sit back and watch those games that interest me a little bit more this time around.
Anyway, give me some time and I will figure out how to get the rest of the important score and stats to you as well. I feel like I’m a vet, easing in to regular season again!
Speaking of games that interest me, hello Golden State Warriors of the 08-09 Season. Seems as if you’ve found a way to prove some people wrong. Sure, it is only game one, but what I saw last night was far from disastrous. Well, maybe the finish to the game was a little bit of a disaster, but to even be in the position to win it against the Hornets when your coach is basically using a seven man roster (and not the seven man roster he would have hoped), impressed the hell out of me.
One more thing about those Warriors. I need to know this, people. I was reading an article last night that was about Stephen Jax and his new teeth and tucked towards the bottom he talks of getting dental surgery when he was in Indiana after the altercation outside the nightclub. He says that Coach Carlisle was with him, as was his wife. Did this man get married this past offseason? I could care less about my friends and their personal lives/drama, but give me an NBA player with something big going on that I don’t know about and it makes me crazy. Especially when it is one of my favorites. If this is so, congratulations to Stack Jack.
Speaking of Jax, he played the entire game last night. It is going to be a grind for him this season. Those legs were pretty dead in the final minutes when his shot went flat.
Moving along to the Lakers, wow. Almost a 40-point victory over the Clippers. I know, I know, another weak opponent, but seriously am I allowed to get a little excited yet? Seeing this group of Lakers push the ball and get out and run is pretty amazing.
Seeing Baron’s beloved grandmother watching her grandson was a great feeling as well.
The Raptors looked nice against Philly in the season opener. Loved the black uniforms, loved JO’s swagger and love seeing Chris Bosh so happy. And fired up. And on fire. Also, Roko Ukic is going to be easy to root for. Maybe the most unassuming guy in the L? Michael Till’s got notes coming from that game soon.
Okay, Spurs/Suns. Amare and that dunk in the fourth. I’m loving the goggles, can’t even help it. Also love seeing Coach Popovich playing jokes. Anyone else catch that? To start the game, he gets Michael Finley to hack Shaq as a joke since Shaq had called Pop a coward for using the technique on him. Shaq was laughing, Pop giving the thumbs up, it was pretty awesome.
One more Golden State/New Orleans moment, just this last, I promise. At one point, we had the Warriors playing great defense, causing a New Orleans shot clock violation. I was psyched up for Golden State, then the camera guy gives me a close up of Chris Paul and the frustration on his face. Torture for a fan who feels like she is busy two-timing.
Hearing that Oden will miss two to four weeks was a blow to the Blazers. Let’s hope this young guy can get healthy and stay that way when he comes back.
Didn’t get to catch much of the game, but those Rockets look nice with Artest in town.
Marc Gasol and Steve Nash had nice games last night. Both are on my Stack Jaxxx team. Too bad I forgot to switch up my roster.
One more thing: Since relocating to Toronto to be close to the Raps, I’ve also started working with The Score, a kick ass sports network here in Canada. Any NBA fan living in this country will tell you, The Score has saved lives with their NBA coverage. They are also picking up all of TNT’s Thursday night games this season, so again they will be saving me this year.
Anyway, I will be doing some blogging over there with a great group of guys and we had to submit our “League Predictions” as well as “Raptors Predictions” last night. Go check us out, and leave a comment to let us know if we’ve got it right or wrong. Also, this technically means I’m sort of Cabbie’s coworker now.
New Orleans 108 Golden State 103
Without Monta Ellis we all know things would be rough for the Warriors. In a 108-103 loss to the Hornets, they shows that while they are lacking their dynamic scoring star, there will still be plenty of heart in the Bay. Last night, they came up just short in trying to take down the Hornets. While Golden State was up early, it was the Hornets who took care of business late. Chris Paul had a bit of a rough final quarter, missing shots, fouling people and getting frustrated with the defensive pressure the Warriors threw at them, but he bounced back to drive to the basket and put the Hornets back up on top with 19 seconds remaining in the game. With the final possession and a chance to win the game, the Warriors had a miscommunication and threw their in-bounds pass out of out of bounds, allowing New Orleans to escape with the hard fought victory. Paul finished with 21 and 11 assists, Tyson Chandler had 13 points and 16 rebounds, David West added 24 points and Peja Stojakovic had 16, including two clutch free throws down the stretch. Stephen Jackson finished with 26 points for Golden State, while new Warrior Corey Maggette had 27 points on only 11 shots, but battled foul trouble. Andris Biedrins fouled out in the final minutes with 14 points and 13 rebounds and Kelenna Azubuike added 17 points off of the bench in the loss.
Phoenix 103 San Antonio 98
In the first round of the playoffs last season, the San Antonio Spurs stole Game 1 on a three-pointer by Tim Duncan to win the game and stun the Suns. Last night, Duncan tried another three-pointer to give his team the win, but luckily for Phoenix lightening didn’t strike twice. Amare Stoudemire does, though. Finishing 5-5 from the floor in the final period, Stoudemire was all over the place, extremely active and capping off his night with a thunderous dunk to let San Antonio know regular season was here and his frustrating preseason that was filled with injuries was only a distant memory. While the game was close throughout, the Suns led by one, 74-73, to open the fourth. Leandro Barbosa knocked down a jumper to start the period, but the Spurs stayed right with them the entire way and the game was tied at 94 on a free throw from Tony Parker, with three minutes to go before Stoudemire went to work. First, he got the three-point play on a feed from Nash, to break the tie. Then, Nash again fed him for a layup, before he finished with the dunk to give the Suns a five point lead with less than two minutes to play. While Tony Parker would score again, the Spurs could not catch up and Barbosa sealed the win with two free throws in the final three seconds of the game. Stoudemire finished with 22 points for the Suns as Shaquille O’Neal scored 15 points to go with 13 rebounds. Steve Nash finished with 13 points and 13 assists, Barbosa added 18 points off of the bench and Grant Hill chipped in 13. The Spurs were led by Tim Duncan and Tony Parker who scored 32 points apiece while Roger Mason added 12 off of the bench.
Atlanta 99 Orlando 85
In a game that many expected the Magic to win, the Hawks proved victorious in a 99-85 decision, after blowing the Magic out of the water in the first quarter. Holding the Magic scoreless for half of the first period, the Hawks were able to jump out to the early lead and led 26-13 after one. While Orlando would bounce back in the second to cut the lead down to seven at the half (47-40), their shooting touch did not come back to them as they shot only 37% in the game. Atlanta pulled away further in the third, outscoring Orlando 27-15 in the period to go into the fourth up big, 74-55. While Orlando clawed their way back in the fourth, the Hawks were too much for them, despite Dwight Howard dropping in 12 of his 22 points in the final quarter. Joe Johnson finished the game with 25 points for Atlanta while Josh Smith had 17 points, 10 rebounds, 4 steals and 5 blocks and Ronald Murray added 14 off of the bench. Howard was huge for the Magic in the loss with 22 points, 15 rebounds, 5 steals and 5 blocked shots. Hedo Turkoglu scored 13 points for Orlando, Mickael Pietrus had 20 and Rashard Lewis finished with 11.
Utah 98 Denver 94
In what was a close game between these two, the Nuggets would have liked having to have had Carmelo Anthony on the court. Utah was playing without Deron Williams, but won the battle against Denver thanks to the strong play of Carlos Boozer, picking up the slack with Williams out due to an ankle injury, while Anthony served the first game of a two game suspension stemming from a DUI charge last year. A very close game throughout the first half, the Jazz were able to pull away in the second, going up by as many as 14 points before Denver came storming back in the fourth and almost came away with the victory. After a Nuggets lane violation resulted in an extra free throw for Kyle Korver, the Jazz clung to a three-point lead with 12 seconds remaining in the game. A Kenyon Martin dunk would bring the Nuggets to within one, but Ronnie Price, in for the injured Williams hit two free throws under pressure to save the Jazz on opening night. Price finished with six points, none bigger than the last two. Boozer poured in 25 points and 14 rebounds, Ronnie Brewer scored 15 points, Mehmet Okur added 13 points and 10 rebounds and Andrei Kirilenko scored 16 points off of the bench. Allen Iverson led Denver with 18 points and 8 assists as Kenyon Martin also added 18 and JR Smith added 17.
Houston 82 Mempis 71
The youth movement in Memphis got a good look at the new look Rockets last night and it was Houston who came out on top. With Houston jumping out to an easy eight-point lead after the first quarter, things quickly got more difficult for both teams in the second quarter as shots were clanging off of the rim and players couldn’t buy a bucket. The Rockets were able to hang onto their lead at the half (43-37), despite shooting only 6-21 in the second quarter. The third wasn’t much prettier, with the Grizzlies managing to cut their deficit to only one at the start of the fourth, 58-57. While Memphis would go up by one in the final period, the Rockets defense clamped down on the Grizzlies and Houston outscored Memphis 24-14 in the quarter as Rafer Alston sealed the deal for Houston by knocking down a three-pointer with 37 seconds remaining in the game. Yao Ming finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds as Ron Artest and Tracy McGrady each scored 16 points and Luis Scola added 12 points and 13 rebounds. Rudy Gay had 20 points for Memphis while Marc Gasol had a 12 and 12 double-double and Darrell Arthur added 11 points and 15 rebounds off of the bench. OJ Mayo had a tough NBA debut, finishing with 10 points on 20 shots in the loss.