by Holly MacKenzie

Friday! Friday! I still feel a little drunk off of that NBA on TNT love from last night. I’ve also got the Warriors in Toronto for the Raptors home opener tonight so I am a little excited. Expect some notes over the weekend. Expect to hear about some excited Raptors fans. I’ve been asked “Think Chris Bosh can be an MVP?”, more than you’d ever expect to hear in a lifetime since the Philadelphia game. Canadian basketball fans are wonderful, they absolutely adore their Raptors and right now, I am in the thick of it.

Three games on the schedule, again, thanks to the lack of TNT coverage here in Canada, I did not get the Houston/Dallas game on tv, and had to settle for the feeds online again. Of course this would end up being the best game out of the three. Either way, it was a great night of basketball.

Houston looks really, really good. I know, I know, it is so beyond early it’s not even funny, but my goodness Artest and Yao combining for 59 points and bonding over a Josh Howard (of course), elbow? It was beautiful if not a bit frightening to see Artest in the middle of the dust up ensuring his guy was okay. He’s a loyal one, that is for sure.

Dallas had some great performances from Josh Howard and Dirk. This is very promising for them, but that fourth quarter was absolutely painful to watch. Shots were clanging all over the place and they just could not seem to get it right.

Cleveland looked great against Charlotte. Amazing how easy a W can look sometimes. Bron with 30 minutes 23 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists is pretty ridiculous as well. Is there anything this man cannot do? Besides being a bit shady on free throws, sometimes? I’d want him on my team!

I get thrown every time I see Delonte with his hair grown out.

It is very odd to me to see Larry Brown on the sidelines agin. It is odd to imagine him coaching this group of guys. Not sure why, since we’ve seen him with many teams over the years, but it just does.

The Phoenix/New Orleans game worried me. Especially after saying yesterday that I just want those guys to do well this season. Looks like my boy Nash is going to have to play some big minutes this season again if they have any hopes of going anywhere. He also might need to sort out those 7 turnovers. Half court basketball is just not as natural to him.

I said it already, but I am saying it once more. Amare Stoudemire’s goggles make my life. I cannot keep the smile off of my face when I see him make a move, goggles sitting in place. Anyone else notice how much older he looks with his hair a bit longer? I hope big things for Mr. Stoudemire this season.

Chris Paul looked pretty effortless last night. The Hornets looked a lot more solid than they did in the opener. It is going to be ridiculously fun to watch Chris, LeBron and the rest of the likely MVP candidates do their thing over the course of this season.

Has it really only been opening week? I feel so immersed in basketball again it’s a bit surreal. Friday night and I’ve got this home opener (and the atmosphere is going to be incredible), and then lots of games to fuel me all weekend. One of my favorite boys in the entire world is playing a pretty huge football game this Saturday afternoon (big things, JH), and I have a few friends coming through as well. What more could anyone ask for?

Hope you all have as great of a weekend as mine is shaping out to be. Catch you Monday here for recaps. I’m strongly encouraging you all to check out Hardwood Paroxysm and my SwaggerJack piece that will be dropping early Monday morning for some entertainment. Also, I have a post introducing myself to readers at The Score dropping later on today, so look for that! Okay, onto the games.

Cleveland 96 Charlotte 79

The Cleveland Cavaliers took a tough loss to Boston to open the season, but got things back on track easily last night when they took down the Charlotte Bobcats 96-79 behind the play of LeBron James and Daniel Gibson. Jumping ahead by nine in the first quarter, the game was already a blow out by half time as the Cavs were up big, 50-33. While the Bobcats got to within five in the third quarter, they would not get any closer as Cleveland pulled away to go up nine at the start of the fourth quarter. In the fourth, they continued to put distance between themselves and the Bobcats and went on to win the game by 17, pulling away in the fourth with LeBron sitting on the bench after narrowly missing out on a triple-double. James finished with 22 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists while Gibson scored 25 points off of the bench and Mo Williams had 17 points to go with 7 assists. Jason Richardson had 25 points for Charlotte, while Gerald Wallace scored 13 points and rookie DJ Augustin added 12 off of the bench.

Houston 112 Dallas 102

In what was easily the game of the night, the Houston Rockets allowed the Dallas Mavericks to hang around with them until the fourth when they got serious and took over, walking away with a 112-102 victory and ruining the Mavericks home opener. Close throughout, the Mavericks held onto a one-point lead to open the fourth quarter, where things quickly turned disastrous for them. Shooting only 6-24 in the final period, the Mavs were in disarray, unsure what to do as they watched Houston pull away thanks to a 16-2 run to open a double digit lead and go on to grab the victory. The combo of Ron Artest and Yao Ming was deadly for Houston, with Yao finishing with 30 points and 13 boards while Artest had 29 and Tracy McGrady added 16 points and 7 assists. Dirk Nowitzki led all scorers with 36 points as Josh Howard dropped in 28 and Jason Terry scored 15 off of the bench in the loss.

New Orleans 108 Phoenix 95

After a last minute victory in Golden State to open their season, the Hornets took care of things earlier against the Suns, notching a 108-95 decision in Phoenix. Suns fans uneasily watched as it became quite clear that if the Suns hope to be successful this season, Steve Nash will need a great season and some big minutes, again. While the Suns trailed by as many as 16 points before halftime, they were able to piece together a run in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit down to five points before New Orleans calmly hit back to back three pointers to open up a double-digit advantage and go onto the win, even after losing Peja Stojakovic with an ankle sprain early in the fourth. The Suns were sloppy with the ball, Nash alone committing 7 turnovers as they had 24 to the Hornets 13. Chris Paul was great for the Hornets, finishing with 20 points, 8 rebounds and 10 assists. Stojakovic had 20 points before leaving with his injury, David West added 18 points and Morris Peterson had 21 for New Orleans. Nash finished with 24 points and 9 assists, Amare Stoudemire had 21 points and 12 rebounds and Raja Bell finished with 13.