At long last, we tip off once more. Eight months away from the 2010 Finals, the Association is already buzzing with the excitement of opening night.
Cleveland played Boston in a battle of reloaded teams poised for 60+ win seasons and the Celtics proved superior. Even a casual observer could tell that Cleveland was out of sync, as the Cavaliers gave up a huge early lead with horrendous shooting. Plagued by spotty execution, the Cavaliers, at least after the opening quarter, looked like they were playing in a completely new offense. LeBron James, despite 38 points and 8 assists, gave up four turnovers. Even the King looked lost at times, hobbling his offense with painfully slow ball movement. Mo Williams just didn’t look like Mo Williams, and Daniel Gibson played so poorly in the first half that he was relegated to the bench for all but three minutes of the second half.
Shaq was bad. The 37 year old shot the ball poorly despite drawing single coverage all night. He was also a major defensive liability. Shaq’s frustration was apparent when he hacked Kevin Garnett after being caught out of position. He had no points in the fourth quarter; Cleveland didn’t import the Big Fella to disappear during crunch time.
Boston looks reloaded. Doc’s entire lineup looks fresh, capable, and athletic. The Celtics scored plenty of fast break points and i’m pretty sure Marquis Daniels outscored the entire Cavalier’s bench. Rasheed Wallace, now playing the role of reserve, looked capable in the paint and from long range. Boston’s imports look better than Cleveland’s, but give both teams time.
Shelden Williams may be the ugliest player in the NBA.
In order for the Lakers to repeat, Kobe needs Lamar Odom more than he needs Ron Artest. Odom is one of the most versatile players in basketball and the second most capable scorer in the L.A. lineup. The Lakers have plenty of depth though, so scoring should never be an issue. However, point guard play will be critical seeing as how Derek Fisher was exposed by Jameer Nelson in the 2009 Finals.
Anyway, it’s game one so as a caveat to Cleveland fans, sit tight. This roster has loads of potential and will just need time to come together. As for L.A, they have to be considered championship favorites.
The overwhelming favorite for most embarrassing moment of the night is Kevin Garnett. K.G missed a point-blank dunk with no one around him late in the third quarter.