OKC Puts On A Shooting Clinic; The Heat’s Big 3 Can’t Be Stopped

By: 12.19.11  •  55 Comments

It wasn’t too long ago that Orlando/Miami was a big Eastern Conference tilt. Now, it’s simply a mismatch. With Dwight Howard (2-for-9, five points, six rebounds) going through the motions somewhat – let’s hope this doesn’t become a habit this season – the Heat toyed with Orlando for a while and then blew them away in the second half, winning their opening preseason game 118-85. Miami has a better, and healthier, supporting cast this year, but it’s still going to come down to the Big Three. And that’s bad news considering they look healthy, confident and comfortable, combining for 47 easy points. LeBron was especially impressive and had two incredible highlights. Near the end of the first half, he almost hit his head on an off-the-backboard alley-oop from Mario Chalmers, and then after the break, he caught Big Baby Davis and smashed his shot from behind. They said Big Baby gained 25 pounds of muscle. Sure that was muscle? Amazingly, this was Orlando’s first preseason loss since 2008, and if they aren’t careful this season could go down the drain pretty quickly … Technically, the Mavs began their title defense last night in a 106-92 home loss to OKC. But with Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd sitting out, we were left with a lot of new blood. Lamar Odom and Vince Carter had solid nights. Dominique Jones and Roddy Beaubois were outstanding off the bench (17 points each). But none of it mattered. Early on, the Thunder might as well have not been locked out at all because we felt like we were still watching the Western Conference Finals. Oklahoma City probably never even left Dallas; it wasn’t long before Serge Ibaka was racking up fouls, and Russell Westbrook was coming down full speed, jumping into the air and committing turnovers. Some of the names changed, but the recipe stayed the same for most of the first quarter, and in the second, if the Thunder weren’t intent on turning it over every other possession, they could’ve opened up an insurmountable lead. All of their three-point shooters were money. Actually for most of the fist half, the Thunder were shooting up around 70 percent, and eventually that took its toll. Kevin Durant had 21 points on five shots, and James Harden added 14 off the bench … Cole Aldrich checked in looking like a bad Halloween costume; the shiner on his left eye was one of the worst bruises we’ve seen in a while … It only took about three and a half minutes before we got a Khloe sighting off a reverse lay-up from Odom. As for Odom (14 points), he looked right at home, scoring off the dribble, hitting threes and playing almost exactly like he did in L.A. … Boston survived a last-second missed shot from DeMar DeRozan and a Andrea Bargnani missed tip-in to beat Toronto 76-75 in one of the uglier preseason games you’ll see. We just couldn’t stop looking at the 3D graphic now underneath the Toronto baskets. Very confusing … The Washington Post is reporting that Nick Young is going to take Washington’s $3.7 million qualifying offer. Nothing to analyze here. Young wanted a ton of money, no one was willing to give it and so he’ll have to try again next summer … The Xinjiang Flying Tigers of China are giving strong consideration to releasing forward Kenyon Martin, says Marc Stein of ESPN.com. If Xinjiang does in fact release Martin, they would be the first Chinese team to release an NBA player who signed with them during the lockout. Sources told ESPN.com that only the threat of serious sanctions from Chinese league officials for releasing a player of Martin’s in-season stature has stopped Xinjiang from already doing so. You gotta think K-Mart is sitting somewhere in China reading this and throwing down a “Tiger Woods at the 2005 Masters” fist pump Keep reading to hear what Andrew Bynum is saying about his knees …

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