The Miami Heat: Let me start off by saying it's way, way too early to start making any kind of definitive statements about, well, pretty much anything. I mean, Mike Miller is out and Dwyane Wade played, what, three minutes during the preseason?
Still, nobody expected this pile of oozing open sores and flaming poo. The Super Friends of South Beach (a.k.a. The Nazgul) opened this exciting new era of team stacking by scoring -- waaaaiiiit for it -- nine points in the first quarter.
It seems impossible, but it's true. Despite Pat Riley colluding, er, I mean, convincing three of the league's best players to form that weird three-robot Voltron in Miami, the Heat shambled zombie-like out of the gate, shooting 11-for-41 (26.8 percent) in the first half and falling behind 41-22 with just over two minutes left in the second quarter before "closing" to within 45-30 at halftime.
Of course, last season's Celtics tended to take a little nappy nap after building huge leads, and it happened again last night. The Heat pulled to within three points late, but Boston closed them out, giving NBA fans outside of Miami a giant, throbbing erection. For the game, the Heat shot 36 percent from the field, gave up 17 points off 17 turnovers, and got outscored 38-24 in the paint.
This is the kind of shit that killed Red Auerbach. Just sayin'.
Advanced stat of the game: Miami's Offensive Rating was 90.4, which means they scored at a rate of about 90 points per 100 possessions. With three of the best players in the world. Again, I am just sayin'.
The Nazgul: Let's see. LeBron was the best of the three Ringwraiths, scoring a game-best 31 points (10-for-21 from the field, 8-for-12 from the line). However, it was like some kind of bizarre Cleveland flashback, with King Crab totally dominating the rock. (Yes, forensic investigation revealed only one set of prints on the ball.) Only instead of a triple-double, 'Bron finished with more turnovers (8) than assists and rebounds combined (7).
As for Wade -- remember everybody, this is still his team -- he went 4-for-16 from the field and finished with 13 points, matching assists (6) and rebounds (4) with turnovers (6) and fouls (4).
Last and most certainly least, the RuPaul of Big Men struggled his way to 8 points (3-for-11) and 8 boards. Oh, and according to the AP Game Notes, "Bosh is 2-12 in Boston, the most losses he's had as a visitor against any team." There are no coincidences.
Kevin Garnett: Rough final stretch for KG. While the Heat were coming back in the final minutes, Garnett was fading slowly and sadly away. He bricked a four-footer with 3:41 left. He fouled Udonis Haslem with 3:30 left (Haslem hit both freebies). He lost the rock to D-Wade with 3:11 left. He missed a 16-footer with 2:33 left. He clanged two crucial foul shots with 1:37 left. Then he committed an offensive foul (moving pick) with 1:15 left.
If the Heat had pulled this game out, they would probably would have sent KG a thank you card and a nice fruit basket.
LeBron James, excuse-making machine: "It's a feel-out process. When you have so many options, it's something I'm not accustomed to, having that many threats out on the court at the same time."
Fun fact: According to ESPN Stats and Information: "LeBron James had 31 points and 8 rebounds. Last season, James was 1 of 4 players who had at least 30 points and at least 8 turnovers in a game. The others were Kevin Durant, Monta Eliis and Kobe Bryant. Tuesday was the 7th time in his career in which he's scored at least 30 points but had at least 8 turnovers. That's tied with Allen Iverson for the most such games since LeBron's rookie season."
Huh. Kinda looks like a target doesn't it?
Dwyane Wade, rationalization machine: "This is one of 82. Sorry if everyone thought we were going to go 82-0. It just ain't happening."
Nope. It ain't.
Update! LeBron's new commercial: From Basketbawful reader Austen: "I'd throw in a Worst of the Night for Lebron's new Nike shoe commercial, where he spends what felt like at least 5 minutes whining and moaning about the public reaction to 'The Decision.' Seriously, get over yourself, and shame on you, Nike, for encouraging him."
In case by some oddity you've missed it, here's the commercial:
It's actually a pretty slick commercial, what with the clever dig at Charles Barkley via Chuck's famous "I Am Not A Role Model" commercial (also by Nike) and a great cameo by Don Johnson as Sonny Crocket. But as Austen pointed out, it's basically LeBron and Nike begging you to a) love LeBron for doing what's right for him and b) buy his new shoes.
Memo to LeBron: You had every right to do right by yourself. You chose living in Miami, playing with your friends and what seemed like the best and easiest path to a championship over busting your ass in Cleveland year after year. This is America. There are brave men and women who will fight to the death to protect your constitutional right to be as big an asshat as you want to be.
But we, as fans, also have the right to mock and ridicule you for it. Right? What should we do, LeBron? WHAT SHOULD WE DO?
Man love: This heat has nothing to do with the Miami Heat...
Ssssssss...feel the sizzle!
The Phoenix Suns: Last night, the Seven Seconds or Less Era gave way to the Small Forwards of Doom Era. Notice how one of those sounds wicked-cool and the other sounds like a tragic mistake in basketball logic?
Actually, the Suns were playing pretty well and led 81-75 after three quarters. Then they got outscored 31-11 in the fourth.
Said Steve Nash: "We ran out of gas a little offensively."
Yeah, you could say that. You could also say the Suns were careless and sloppy with the ball, giving up 21 points off 19 turnovers. Without Amar''''''e, they still managed to score 44 points in the paint, but there was no run and very little gun, as Phoenix managed a mere 6 fast break points.
Advanced stat of the game: The Blazers didn't shoot all that well (46 percent as a team), but they cleaned up on the offensive glass, grabbing 18 offensive boards for a mind-boggling Offensive Rebound Rate of 43.9 (compared to 18.9 for the Suns). No defensive rebounding...it's like Amar''''''e never left!
Steve Nash: Nash giveth...and Nash also giveth away. Captain Canada kept the Suns kinda-sorta in the mix by scoring a game-high 26 points on 10-for-19 shooting to go along with 4 rebounds (almost matching Robin Lopez's 5 boards) and a team-high 6 dimes. Unfortunately, he bobbled the ball away 9 times. It's like he was impersonating Brett Favre or something.
Aim for their hands, Steve. Their hands.
Hedo Turkoglu: I have one word for you: Turkododo. That is all.
Memo to Turk: That's not how basketball is played.
The Houston Rockets: In my Southwest Division preview post, I said something about the Rockets being, what was it, slow as paste? Then they go out and score 17 fast break points against the Lakers in their season opener.
Man, am I good or what?
Anyway, people may want to talk about Mamba's 27 points and 7 assists, but let the record show that the defending chumps were outscored by eight points when Kobe was in the game. No, the Lakers -- who trailed by as many as 15 points and were down by 11 in the third -- had their asses saved by Shannon Brown (who went berzerk from three and scored 14 of his 16 points in a 6.5-minute stretch during the fourth) and Steve Blake (who drilled the go-ahead trey with 18.8 seconds left).
Shades of John Paxson! Or...something.
Meanwhile, the Rockets -- who were outscored 61-48 in the second half -- looked like the Keystone Cops on their final (and potentially game-tying) possession. Luis Scola missed a crappy-looking pooper-scooper with three seconds to go, and then (after a video review awarded possession back to Houston) Aaron Brook got a layup attempt spoon-fed back to him by Lamar Odom.
Said Brooks: "When I caught the ball, I didn't know exactly where I was on the floor. Then I took a dribble and realized where I was, and I tried to drive, but my leg kind of slipped."
Advanced stat of the game: L.A.'s Turnover Percentage was only 10.0, compared to 16.2 for Houston. Specifically, the Lakers gave up only 10 points off 12 turnovers, while the Rockets surrendered 20 points off 21 turnovers. Kind of a big deal in a 2-point loss.
Bonus Fun fact: From ESPN Stats and Information: "The Lakers came back from an 11-point halftime deficit, outscoring the Rockets 61-48 in the second half. It's their third straight season-opening win and their eighth win in their past nine games versus Houston. The Lakers are now 41-22 in season openers, good for an all-time best .651 win percentage."
Wow! The Lakers are just so good on opening night! Just for kicks and giggles, I decided to do a little research. Going back to the 1995-96 season, the Lakers have played 13 of the last 16 season openers at home. As always, I'm just sayin'.
Update! The Lakers' ring ceremony: From AnacondaHL: "Also, there should be a quickie WotN mention to that Lakers ring ceremony, which was so completely awkward for everyone involved. Okay, Fisher's intro of Kobe was pretty funny. And it did show us that there is a massage therapist and an equipment manager with more rings than LeBron."
Okay, I have to know: How much did Kobe pay for the blowjob Fisher gave him during that ceremony. Mein Gott, that was a GFE if I've ever seen one.
Rick Adelman, quote machine: "They're the world champs, and we knew it was going to be tough. But I thought we responded pretty well. I think [for] about seven minutes, we just didn't play the way we're capable of, and they got back in the game."
For the record, seven minutes is about 15 percent of an NBA game. That's a decent chunk of time to not play the way you're capable of. Just sayin'.
Justin Bieber: If there is any justice in this universe, this guy's obituary will one day read: "Died of natural causes during face punches." And that day will be soon.
Lacktion report: Chris and his lacktion reports are back too!
Heat-Celtics: Zydrunas Ilgauskas began a new chapter of riding King Crab's claws by negating a field goal and three boards in 10:39 with two giveaways and four fouls for a 6:4 Voskuhl!
Suns-Frail Blazers: The fabulous Fabricio Oberto forced a rebound in 3:03, but found enough time to finagle a pair of fouls and a turnover for a 3:1 Voskuhl.
Rockets-Lakers: Chuck Hayes countered an assist and block in 14:49 with three fouls for a 3:0 Voskuhl, while our first true lacktion artist of the season is the Lakers' young Derrick Caracter, who provided a caricature of a professional basketballer with a foul and brick in 2:14 for a +2 suck differential that also doubled as a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl!