by Holly MacKenzie

Wow. Okay. Here we go. Night number one is in the books and we are underway with the 2008-2009 NBA Season. I’ve got to be honest and say that last night may have been one of the most frustrating nights in recent history. I need to give a HUGE thank you to some amazing bloggers  because I almost didn’t get to see either game.

Here in Canada there is no option of getting TNT so, despite my spending a piece of my day on the phone with the cable company (thanks Stefan, my fantastic customer service guy who had me laughing through my many questions), trying to sort out League Pass stuff, succeeding and successfully getting LP hooked up just in time for the ring ceremony, there were no games because there is no TNT. Because they created this stupid station called TSN2 that half of the cable companies do not carry. I know this means nothing to you all if you’re not Canadian, but it goes without saying that I am pretty unimpressed. I’m not sure what this is going to mean for typical Thursday night’s all year, I am hoping that the games will get picked up, but I can tell you I was a bit of a stress attack last night.

Luckily for everyone around me last night, my NBA internet friends have good sleuthing skills and were able to find the games. Even if the commercials were of women stripping off to the camera. I wish I was joking about this. And no, I am not telling you where I found the games, but the things I will put up with just to watch this game doesn’t seem to end.

Obviously, Lakers. Yes, yes, yes, they can. Rough night for the Blazers seeing Oden go down, but was this a horrible game from the Blazers, a great game from the Lakers, or both? I’m rolling with both. LA looks so young, fired up, quick, active on D, man, let’s hope they can keep this pace up over the season.

I’m sure you all noticed Odom whip a perfect pass to Vujacic last night while Sash was in his warm ups chilling on the sidelines. As Rob Mahoney of Upside and Motor says, this is the perfect play to represent LO’s career. A star that can’t seem to shine. I’m with you Lamar, laugh it off and let’s go.

I love Trevor Ariza. Sure most of you could have guessed, but I’m just saying. Expecting a great year from him.
Boston/Cleveland was…Amazing because the NBA is back. The sounds, the commentators, Reggie talking to me, I missed it all, although, I still don’t get the purpose of sideline reporters. Rajon made me and my fantasy team happy by shooting 4-5 from the floor but kinda killed me with his 6-10 free throw shooting.

I didn’t get to see much of the Bulls/Bucks game, but Rose looks good, as the number one pick in the draft should. Does everyone still want to give ROY to Oden, or are we going Mayo/Beas/Rose? I think I have to go with Beasley, even though my heart pick is OJ. Who’ve you got?

Before I forget, definitely check out The Basketball Jones later on today. Trust me on this one.
Boston 90 Cleveland 85

Unfortunately, I did not get to see the banner being raised or rings being handed out. I did hear that it was very low key and that there were no monster growls or screams from our guy KG and that the Celtics kept things relatively calm. Onto the game, the Celtics got things done slow and steady after taking their time to warm up and allowing the Cavaliers to jump ahead in the first half. It was in the third that they found life, outscoring Cleveland 24-13 to take a four-point lead into the fourth quarter. In the final period, things got close in the final minutes, but LeBron James was unable to pull out the win for his team as he missed a lay up in the final minute and then made only one of two free throws, to bring the Cavs within two, 86-84 and then Pierce all but sealed the victory for the Celtics as he found Leon Powe under the basket for the and one. Pierce finished with 27 points to lead all players as Rajon Rondo had 14 points and Leon Powe scored 13. For the Cavaliers, James finished with 22 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists, Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 15 points and Mo Williams added 12.

Chicago 108 Milwaukee 95

Derrick Rose did not disappoint in his NBA debut as the number one pick in the 2008 NBA draft ended up scoring 11 points and dishing out nine assists as the Chicago Bulls got their season off on the right foot, defeating the Milwaukee Bucks 108-95 last night in their home opener against ex Bulls coach, Scott Skiles. While the game was close up until the third, the Bulls were able to pull away at the end of the quarter and go into the fourth up seven, 82-75. Ben Gordon hit a three to start the final period and Chicago never looked back from there. It was Michael Redd who had the hot hand in the game, scoring a game-high 30 points in a losing effort while Richard Jefferson scored 15 points and Malik Allen had 10 off of the bench. Loul Deng led the way offensively for the Bulls, finishing with 21 points as Tyrus Thomas put together a strong line with 15 points and 10 rebounds, Kirk Hinrich added another 15 points off of the bench and Gordon finished the night with 18 in the victory.

Lakers 96 Portland 76

In what was supposed to be the showdown between young guns Andrew Bynum and Greg Oden, it was a strong defensive effort by a spirited LA team that took the shine rather than the anticipated match up between the two. After jumping ahead by ten in the first quarter, the Lakers continued to roll, helped in part by Oden leaving the game before half time after rolling his ankle and attempting to stay in the game. Without Oden in the mix, Joel Pryzbilla did his best, but the Laker offense (and defense), was too much for Portland. They were able to cut the deficit to single digits in the third quarter, just in time for Kobe Bryant to get hot and and put the Lakers back up by 19 points going into the fourth. The final period was all Lakers as they were able to play their bench extended minutes and still win by a final margin of 20 points. Bryant finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists. Pau Gasol added 15 points and Trevor Ariza had 11 off of the bench. The Trailblazers were led by Travis Outlaw’s 18 points as Rudy Fernandez had 16 in his NBA debut and Brandon Roy added 14 in the loss.