Grand Opening

10.29.08 9 years ago 47 Comments
LeBronLeBron James (photo. Mannion)

Nothing like the NBA hyping its Celtics vs. Cavs opening day matchup for months, then having people turn the game on with 5:30 left in the fourth quarter and seeing neither team had cracked 80 points … With 30 seconds left and Boston ahead by three, Paul Pierce worked the clock down before missing a pull-up J over Anderson Varejao. On the Cavs’ ensuing possession, Mike Brown went with the inventive “Give LeBron the ball and go stand somewhere” play, and ‘Bron got to the rack before Pierce literally hugged his bicep and wouldn’t let go, sending him to the line. LeBron (22 pts, 7 rebs, 6 asts) made one of two, but then Boston broke Cleveland’s press and Leon Powe got a dunk on the other end that basically ended it. After Powe’s dunk, he was flexing to crowd when Rajon Rondo pushed him from behind, then KG came into the picture and pushed Rondo, as if Garnett was saying, “Hey, I’M the one who pushes people around here!” … Boston was up six late in the fourth when Rondo (14 pts, 6 asts, 3 stls) got destroyed on a pick by Varejao, but he popped right up and collected a steal from Mo Williams, flew downcourt (as Mo made a suicide dive at his heels) and did the fake-behind-the-back move, only to miss the breakaway layup. Under normal circumstances — like if backup PG Eddie House could bring the ball past midcourt without the other team grinning — Doc Rivers would have benched Rondo immediately … Kendrick Perkins‘ sweat game is right up there with Patrick Ewing‘s. That kid will f*** up a gray t-shirt in a minute … Yes, Delonte West got dunked on by Powe (not the dagger, but earlier in the game) kinda nasty, but you can’t really fault him; Delonte is a lot shorter than Powe, and he got sky-high going for that block. And it wasn’t half as bad as when LeBron crowned Delonte a couple years back … As expected, Boston’s championship ring/banner ceremony was off the charts. Although we’re not sure if Pierce was crying because he was emotional or because that chandelier on his finger was shining too bright … If you didn’t think Pierce (27 pts) has something to prove this year — that he really is the best player in the world — you knew it early in the first quarter when he skated into the lane and threw down a two-hander with the most elevation he’s shown since Kansas … Did the Blazers let all the preseason hype get to their head, or are the Lakers just that freakin’ good? Game 2 of last night’s national-TV doubleheader was a rout, with L.A. getting out to a big lead early and never taking their foot off the pedal. By the third quarter, Doug Collins was using words like “flustered” and “rattled” to describe Brandon Roy (14 pts, 5-for-15 FG’s), and Nate McMillan looked like he’d eaten some rotten ham … Kobe scored 23 and pulled down 11 rebounds in the 20-piecing, but the big story was the Greg Oden vs. Andrew Bynum matchup. Unfortunately neither guy did much of anything, and Oden — take a guess — got hurt in the first half and sat out the rest of the game. Cheryl Miller reported that Oden will have an MRI today on his ankle/foot … Vlad Radmanovic might wanna reconsider the shaved-head look. After the game the FBI questioned him in connection with that failed plot to assassinate Barack Obama … On “Around the Horn,” Rapidly Balding Jay Mariotti was talking about Kobe’s Guitar Hero spot and said, “Given Kobe’s history off the court,” no one wants to see Kobe go all-out (no pun intended) and don the briefs Tom Cruise-style … Derrick Rose fared a little better than Oden in his NBA debut, putting up 11 points, nine assists and three steals along with four turnovers in a win over the Bucks. Rose had some timing issues (running into screens, losing control of his handle a few times) here and there, but otherwise you can see the star potential all over him. In a way, he’s more explosive/kinetic than even Chris Paul or Deron Williams. Not better by any means, just more explosive. Rose plays at 100 miles per hour all the time, and even when he’s not involved in a play he’s bouncing on his toes like a young Mike Tyson waiting for the opening bell. Poor Luke Ridnour was doing all he could just to stay in the camera shot with him … Contrast = Rose effortlessly slipping past Ridnour with a behind-the-back dribble, then handing off to Tyrus Thomas, who couldn’t execute a simple up-fake without dribbling the ball off his foot … If we had to use one word to describe Michael Redd last night, it would be sharp. On one of Milwaukee’s first possessions, Redd went back-to-the-basket on Thabo Sefolosha and broke out a string of fakes and jabs that gave Thabo the runs before sticking a turnaround J in his face (or where Thabo’s face would be if he hadn’t gotten shook out of his socks). Whether it was handling the ball, cutting to the basket, unleashing that beautiful jumper or running around screens, Redd looked sharp in everything he did. After a mix of mid-range J’s and trips to the free throw line in the first half, Redd came out for the second half and immediately wetted three straight triples on his way to dropping 30 points … E-mail from Austin: “My fiancee and I are watching Bucks/Bulls. After she saw Drew Gooden‘s dreadlocked beard and I told her about his historically bad hair choices, she Google’d him and found a picture of the infamous rat tail. Then she says, ‘It looks like a vagina under his headband.'” … Did you see Charlie V looking like he was about to cry when he got called for his third foul of the first half and Scott Skiles yanked him? CV sat out the rest of the game, too, so we’re sure he’s gonna be a bundle of sunshine in practice today … We’re out like Delonte’s barber …

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