Magic 87 Pacers 97:
When you see Indiana on your schedule make sure you get your jumper right the day before, Roy Hibbert has a reserved parking spot in the lane this NBA season. Last night Hibbert not only blocked shots he physically stopped opponents with much more momentum then him in their tracks with all SEVEN of his opening night blocks. Apparently his offseason goals of getting bigger with increased weight and MMA training have paid off. As long as he can stay healthy (he did scare us with a slight knee injury last night) he seems poised for a career year.
The Magic began what will most assuredly be a long NBA season but I do like the young nucleus they have in Oladipo, Harkless, and Andrew Nicholson (who had a great opening night). If this core can improve throughout the season it will be a success for the magic.
Clippers 103 Lakers 116:
I wouldn’t have guess it but I came away thinking this was the most entertaining game of opening night. The only thing that could’ve increased the entertainment value would have been a picture in picture of Kobe every time Nick Young took a shot, I’m still holding out hope we can make this happen before Bryant returns. Until that return the Lakers will have to rely on Pau, Kaman, and Hill to hustle for boards like they did last night and hope there bench can build off of the momentum they produced in the Staples Center. I’m eager to watch Xavier Henrys progression after a great opening night and see if what was once a highly touted draft pick can break out this season.
Obviously the Clippers didn’t have the most spectacular first outing but this is a team that will need time to gel with their new coach and get Chris Paul comfortable with their now different shooters in Reddick and Dudley. I was however impressed with DeAndre Jordan and his blatant disregard for the law of gravity. Last night Jordan did exactly what they will need him to do for the rest of the season and if his game really has improved I’m pretty optimistic about this clipper team.
Bulls 95 Heat 107:
For anyone willing to bet against the Heat in the East the Bulls have been a sexy pick this offseason. Last night however, saw a team struggling to shoot in the first half and couldn’t quite execute any clean offense until making a slight run in the fourth quarter. For a team that looked lights out in the preseason and had every incentive to stick it to Miami last night I was surprised to see them come out so flat, but rest assured Chicago fanatics it shouldn’t be long until the rest of the Bulls get used to Rose running the team again and they’ll be back to playing great basketball. However, keep an eye on Loul Deng as we really don’t know if that botched spinal tap last spring could still be effecting him.
Off all the offseason analysis I’ve heard the Heat pundits continually forget one thing, LeBron will always get their shooters open looks and if said shooters are warm let alone hot this team is unstoppable. Allen and especially Battier provided us with a classic example of this last night. With another full training camp under its belt this team looked even more cohesive on the floor and was running like a well-oiled machine. I’m going to continue to look forward to watching Norris Cole’s progression as he had a great opening night which included a picturesque crossover of Derrick Rose. Last night the champs reminded us why they’ve won the last two NBA titles and I won’t be soon to forget.