It’s a new season in the NBA, the Heat and LeBron James have new championship rings, and yet nothing has changed. You still got the haves and the have-nots, which was easily apparent switching back and forth between the freshman ball (Wizards/Cavs) and the varsity (Celtics/Heat). The fans still don’t understand the concept behind the MVP chant (Seriously? In the first game of the season?) And Kevin Garnett is still super ornery. The Heat? They’re still pretty good too, ringing up 120 points, 54 percent shooting and just four total turnovers outside of Dwyane Wade (29 points) in a 13-point win over Boston. There were questions before the start about how much small ball the Heat would play. They answered by playing just one guy taller than 6-9 (Chris Bosh, who had 19 points and 10 boards). LeBron James left because of cramps, but not before pummeling his old friends for 26 and 10 … In his absence, Boston cut a big deficit down in the fourth quarter by going super, SUPER small. Leandro Barbosa had 16 points, all of them in the fourth quarter, and without the King on the floor, Boston nearly made the entire deficit up … LeBron broke out some sick gold-themed Nike LeBron Xs to commemorate the championship, and they probably weren’t even the best gold-colored shoes on the court. Ray Allen‘s player exclusive 16s looked like something that would get hypebeasts killed if they ever released them. On the other side, Rajon Rondo (and Jeff Green) was wearing some pink Foams that must’ve come from Marc Gasol‘s closet (the big boy rocked them earlier in the preseason), but either way, he should’ve been slapped for that. And then there was Dwyane Wade, wearing his new Li-Ning joints, just hours after news broke on the exclusive Dynasty Collection … In his first game against his old team, Judas was a difference-maker for Miami (19 points), and his first shot was a triple he splashed from the left corner. Make sure you hold onto this thought, because it’ll come into play again sometime next spring in the playoffs: Allen hits 57 percent from that spot, which makes for the deadliest spot for any player in the NBA. He’s gonna get a lot of free looks from there … Predictably, he didn’t get much love from a few specific Celtics. Before heading into the game for the first time, Allen went down the line on the Boston bench, saying hello. He got to KG, who didn’t move and didn’t acknowledge him. Allen had to give his shoulder dap. Garnett was actually in midseason form throughout the game, yelling obscenities into the cameras, and also faking an elbow at Mario Chalmers‘ face (he’d later make good on the promise by swiping Chalmers across the top of the dome in the third quarter) … Rondo had a slow start (suspect in the first quarter, great the rest of the way), but he did become just the fourth player in NBA history to record 25 straight games with at least 10 assists (20 points, seven boards, 13 dimes). The others are Stockton, Magic and Kevin Porter … Without Dirk, Dallas is relying on a bunch of class clowns to keep them competitive. In L.A. last night, it was enough. Six Mavs scored in double figures, led by Darren Collison‘s 17, in a 99-91 win over the Lakers. Dwight Howard finished with 19 and 10 in his Laker debut, but he also fouled out and shot an embarrassing 3-for-14 from the line. Somewhere out there, Andrew Bynum is sprawled out on a coach, snickering and combing out his new Don King special … The Mavs had Eddy Curry out there dressed up as an NBA player for Halloween, and unfortunately they didn’t start him – we had wanted to see Howard throw him through the rim. But Curry was solid, and he represented a small portion of Dallas’ fire, which came because they played a number of guys who were fighting for their NBA lives, or fighting to get rid of last season’s demons or in the case of Curry, just fighting to lose some weight. Meanwhile, Kobe (22 points) and L.A. played in a trance … The high-low between the two Laker bigs is already a thing of beauty… at least when they used it in the first half. It’s almost like Pau Gasol (23 points, 13 rebounds, six assists) would rather stand out 20 feet from the hoop and throw lob passes all game anyways. He seems to get more out of that than anything else he does. In fact, the entire squad just seems a little too giddy to throw Dwight lobs. Steve Blake was throwing stuff up to the moon, and letting Howard get manhandled in the air … Keep reading to hear about the amazing box score Andy Varejao put up…
How long before people realize Kyrie Irving will be chasing shots harder than Russell Westbrook this season? In this situation in Cleveland, that’s actually a good thing. Cleveland needed all of him in their opening 94-84 win over Washington, and Uncle Drew was flowing. Triples. Breakdowns off the bounce. What are the odds he leads all point guards in scoring this year? They have to be pretty good… last night, he wasn’t even thinking about passing, and finished with 29 points (three off his career-high). We’re not big into the plus/minus stats, but Irving was a plus-23 in this one. When they took him out in the second half, the Wizards hit with a 14-0 run. When they put him back in, he put the kids to bed in the final minute, twice eviscerating Washington’s defense, and finding Tristan Thompson (12 points, 10 rebounds) for identical dunks under the rim. Watching him last night, it struck us just how easy he makes it look. By the end of this season, we get the feeling he’ll be headlining debates about the second-best point guard in the league … But still, halfway through the third quarter, he and Dion Waiters (17 points… and a number of great drives off high screen-n-rolls. He looks like he’ll be featured quite prominently in Ohio this year.) had combined for 24 of the team’s 53 total shots. Of course, Irving’ll NEVER catch flack for that, while out in OKC, people will try to hang Westbrook if he goes one-on-one too often … Anderson Varejao was balling, completely dominating the frontline from D.C. in every hustle category, and doing his best Wilt Chamberlain impersonation on the glass. Before the third quarter had even ended, he already had hit 20 boards (and 12 offensive rebounds), and even added seven assists as icing on the cake. By the end, Sideshow Bob was flirting with a triple-double, and finished with nine points, nine dimes and 23 boards. The dude was making more plays than anyone, and had three sick bounce passes from the high post that led to buckets … And in other NBA news, the T’Wolves announced they’ve picked up the third-year options for both Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams … We’re out like the preseason.
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