If you suck and you know it, clap your hands.
The first game jitters continued last night...1. Shaq:
The Big Braggadocio made some pretty bold promises during the preseason. Specifically, he said he was going to return to his old dominating ways
until Dwyane Wade comes back. "As a tamed tiger now, you always go back to what you know, a la Siegfried and Roy. I’ve been tame the last couple years, but here’s a chance for me to go wild again." Well, the tiger sure seemed pretty tame last night: 9 points (4-of-6), 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 turnovers, 5 fouls, scoreless in the first half. Shaq complained after the game that he needs more than six shots to be effective, but the Pistons used double-teams and zones to limit his touches. They also took advantage of the Diesel's lack of mobility and lateral quickness on defense to get him into foul trouble. Since Shaq's offensive repertoire consists of posting up and either dunking or tossing in a little hook, the Heat can't really get him going if he can't power through swarms of defenders on his way to the hoop. And it sure doesn't look like he can do that anymore.2. Phoenix Suns:
Coach Mike D'Antoni likes to refer to the Suns' high-speed, high-scoring offense as "organized chaos." Last night, it was mostly just "chaos." The usual flow and consistency was missing. It was sort of like watching a 15-year-old kid playing as the Suns in NBA Live: Lots of frenetic sprinting around and jacking up questionable shots. Steve Nash had 7 turnovers, some of which were just careless and ugly. Grant Hill -- a career 24 percent three-point shooter -- jacked up seven
threes and made only one of them. Leandro Barboso looked skittish in scoring only 9 points on 3-of-7 shooting, 1-of-4 from three-point range. Shawn Marion played well: 14 points (7-of-10) and 11 rebounds. But he was also quick to denigrate Kevin Durant's performance
after the game. "Oh, he ain't shy to put that thing up," Marion said. "You shoot 23 times, you can get 27 points, easy." Forget the fact that this was Durant's second pro game, and that it came on the second night of back-to-backs. Not a very classy thing for an eight-year veteran to say, but just another example of how Marion's insecurity gets the better of him. One last note: Grant Hill played an intense 33 minutes last night. He took two hard falls on fast break layups, and both times I winced in fear. Watching Hill play at the Suns' breakneck pace is like watching somebody juggle your grandma's antique China; you're expecting something to break into a million pieces any minute. I just don't think Hill can stay healthy playing like that for 81 more games and the playoffs.3. Basketbawful:
I sort of dismissed the Houston Rockets out of hand in my Bestern Conference Season Preview
, but damn...they look pretty good, don't they? They're talented, deep, and they seem to really enjoy playing together. T-Mac looks fantastic, Yao looks solid and, more importantly, healthy. Luis Scola gives them some muscle and attitude, Shane Battier is Shane Battier, and even Mike James looks like a real player again. The Rockets have opened the season with impressive back-to-back road wins, the second of which was a sound beating of a very good (or so it seems) Utah Jazz team. And yes, I realize there are still 80 games left for Mcgrady and Yao to get hurt, and that these guys have yet to break the dreaded first round curse. But for the moment, it looks like I was way off about these guys. The Spurs, Suns, and Mavs better keep an eye over their collective shoulders.
Labels: Basketbawful, Houston Rockets, Miami Heat, Shaq, Tracy McGrady, Worst of the Night, Yao Ming