NBA Opening Night Recap
Heat 120 – Celtics 107
LeBron James scored 26 points and had 10 rebounds in only 29 minutes before having to leave the game with leg cramps as the defending champs beat the Celtics 120-107. The Heat got to the free throw line 32 times and made 26 free throws. I think it is a good sign when Dwyane Wade gets to the line 11 times in one game. Ray Allen scored 19 points off the bench. LeBron left the game early with leg cramps and the Heat still beat their main rival in the East by 13 points. The Heat only had 8 turnovers and shot 54% which explains how they torched a team that defines itself by its defence. Despite getting to the line and scoring 29 points, Dwyane Wade was a -6 last night. Norris Cole was only on the floor for 6 minutes last night. The Celtics did shoot 52% from the floor and the Heat need to be tighter defensively in the future. Rajon Rondo was “good Rondo” with 20 points, 13 assists and 7 rebounds. Leandro Barbosa scored 16 points in 15 minutes. The Celtics did shoot well from the floor and from 3. Kevin Garnett only had 8 shots and scored 9 points. Rondo and Paul Pierce played over 40 minutes each which is not a good strategy to keep them fresh for the playoffs. Jeff Green was 0 for 4 from the floor but it can be excused for now considering he is coming off a missed year due to heart surgery.
Mavericks 99 – Lakers 91
Twitter exploded last night with overreactions to the Lakers losing their first game with Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. Most of the criticism was directed at Mike Brown’s new Princeton offence. I’m not sure if the offence is the right fit as I think it should be more a Nash/Howard pick and roll on one side with a Kobe/Pau Gasol pick and roll as the secondary option but I think we need to wait for more than one game to decide if this a good decision or not. I do know that Mike Brown is not a strong offensive coach from his time with the Cavs. Two years ago the Heat started at around .500 for their first 20 games and ended up in the Finals. It is way too early to make any conclusions. Still it is fun to see the Lakers lose. The Mavericks can take a lot of positives from this especially with a win without Dirk Nowitzki. The Mavs used a balanced attack with 6 players in double figures led by Darren Collison with 17 points. The Lakers only had 3 players in double digit scoring (Gasol (23), Bryant (22) and Howard(19). Steve Nash had 7 points and only 4 assists in 34 minutes. The Lakers make this game a lot closer if they don’t go 12 for 31 from the free throw line. Dwight Howard needs to work on this part of this game as he missed 11 of 14 free throws as he will be on the line at some point late in a playoff game.
Cavs 94 – Wizards 84
I watched most of the first 3 quarters of this game last night as I’m a Cavs fan. Kyrie Irving looked good with 29 points from all over the floor. Anerson Varejao filled the scoresheet with 9 points, 23 rebounds and 9 assists. I was impressed with Dion Waiters ability to get to the basket even though he needs to convert more of those shots at the rim. I thought Alonzo Gee and C.J. Miles could have played better and the Cavs need to find a better backup backcourt than Donald Sloan and Daniel Gibson. I thought Byron Scott can stagger Waiters and Irving’s time on the floor so the Cavs can have more scoring from the backcourt throughout the game. Tristan Thompson was his usual athletic self but still looks a bit lost on offence and still needs to gather himself everytime he gets the ball. One negative for the Cavs was that they had 21 turnovers. The Wizards shot the ball poorly and really missed John Wall, Nene and Kevin Seraphin. I thought they moved the ball well on offence at times but did not make their open looks. Their main problem on defence was keeping Varejao and Thompson off the offensive glass. The
Wizards did start the fourth quarter on a 14-0 run which is a good sign because if they look like they are rolling over this early in the season coach Randy Wittman will be out sooner rather than later.