I want to start by thanking Chris Paul for single-handedly covering my absurd 13 point spread on the LAC-GS game last night. Also, be on the lookout for Malone. He may come after you for the money he owes me. To the blog!
2 Good Teams
They beat the defending champs by 11. The game was not that close. Not at all. For the 3 quarters when Lebron and Wade were playing, the score was 97-65. I tweeted it looked like Lebron heard what everyone was saying about him and spent the entire summer in his personal gym shooting jump shots. Stat lines of 37-10-6 for James and 26-8-6 for Wade, in three quarters of basketball.
Side note: Chris Bosh finished with less points than Joel Anthony, James Jones, Udonis Haslem, and Norris "I Can't Believe Jay Left Me Out Of His Preseason ROY Blog So Now I'm Going Ham To Spite Him" Cole.
Oklahoma City Thunder
They didn't look quite as good as Miami, but they still looked awesome. Let me just say that when Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are on the same page and James Harden takes good shots, the Thunder are nearly unbeatable. Harden is the early (very, very early) frontrunner for Sixth Man of the Year and Durant looks like he's going to win the scoring title and possibly even the MVP.
I love to say I told you so about Harden. 19 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists for $7? I'll take that every day of the week
2 Bad Teams
None of the teams that played yesterday are actually bad, so I changed this one a little bit for today:
2 Teams That Were Surprisingly Better Than I Thought They Would Be
Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe is old as shit, Pau is a bitch, and Bynum is suspended. I assumed they'd lose to Chicago by a dozen or so points. But Kobe - although he can't attack the rim like he once could - can still fill up a stat sheet as well as anyone in the league. I really liked what I saw out of Devin Ebanks and Josh McRoberts, and Steve Black hit a couple three pointers at the end of the game to keep in close. LA was one Koba pass away from winning this game. This will not be the last time I say that.
Golden State Warriors
Yes, they lost by 19 points and totally disappeared at the end of the game. But they showed me that they have the guys to possibly contend with the Lakers and Clippers for the Pacific Division title. Everyone knows that Curry, Ellis, and Lee can do a lot on the offensive end; that was confirmed. Everyone knows that Kwame Brown is a fat, overrated waste of a roster spot; that was confirmed. Some people may have forgotten that Dorell Wright can shoot the lights out. I was extremely impressed by the second tier of guys: Andris Biedrins, Brandon Rush, Ish Smith, and Klay Thompson. This team could do things.
2 Plays That You Should Have Seen, But Here They Are If You Missed Them
Mario Chalmers to Lebron James to Dwyane Wade
2 Lessons We Learned From Opening Day 2011
The Really Old Guys Can Still Get It Done
Kevin Garnett: 15 points, 8 rebounds
Ray Allen: 20 points
Dirk Nowitzki: 21 points
Jason Terry: 23 points (maybe I got a little ahead of myself with the whole "Harden's the frontrunner for 6MOTY" thing)
Chauncey Billups: 21 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists
The only problem I see for teams with a lot of older guys (looking at you, Boston) is that there's a lot of games left to be played. Which leads us to....
The Really Young Guys Can Also Get It Done
Landry Fields and Iman Shumpert: 56 minutes, 18 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists
Norris Cole: 24 minutes, 7 points, looked a lot better than his stat line
Ish Smith and Klay Thompson: 24 minutes, 14 points
With such a chaotic season, rookies and sophomores that wouldn't normally play a whole lot are going to have to contribute. Especially on teams that aren't that deep (looking at you, New York), where they really will have an opportunity for playing time. If the Knicks, Heat, or Warriors make a deep playoff run - we know at least one of them will - it's a great chance for the young guys to grab some experience early. Norris Cole will end his career with more than 4 rings. Quote me.