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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

NBA season tip-off

The NBA season gets underway tonight with two games featuring three of the prohibitive favorites going into this season.

The Miami Heat face-off with the defending Eastern conference champions Boston Celtics and the defending world champion Los Angeles Lakers take on the Houston Rockets.

After an off-season in which they dominated the headlines with the free agent signings of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh; Miami finally gets the chance to state their case for the championship. I wasn’t at all thrilled with the choice of Lebron James and the whole “Taking my talents to South Beach” thing. It changed my view of James, who I thought was more of a Michael Jordan type leader. The decision to join forces with Wade and Bosh seems like an easy out for him. Everyone had something to say rather it be negative or positive with his choice. I’m not going to bash the guy for using his rights as a free agent to pick the team of his choice. But I will never view him as the fierce competitor on the level of Jordan, who took his team on his shoulders and carried them to multiple rings. I guess we all should have seen have as more of a Magic Johnson type player.

Boston has flown under the radar as much as a conference winner can. They did add Shaquille O’neal (not the big diesel anymore, more like the big unleaded.), Jermaine O’neal and Delonte West. Those additions will make them one of if the not the deepest team in the league. Their season will hinge on health issues of course as they are one of the oldest teams in the league. The big three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen still have their say in the Eastern conference. They are like the old men in the neighborhood who still have enough fight in them to be a cause for concern. The most important player of the team now is Rajon Rondo. His play last year was elevated to an all-star level.This team could very well win the championship OR have multiple injuries and limp to the finish line with nothing.

In the second game of the doubleheader, The Los Angeles Lakers will face off with The Houston Rockets

The Lakers are looking for a three-peat following their championship run of last year. The biggest question mark for this team is the health of their leader Kobe Bryant and starting center Andrew Bynum. Bryant had off season knee surgery and the same goes for Bynum. Kobe was quoted as saying he thinks his knee is 75 -80% going into this season. Andrew Bynum on the other hand will be out until at least late November. The Lakers made some good off season pickups to pick up the slack with Matt Barnes, Steve Blake and Theo Ratliff. Even with Kobe not at 100% they should easily win the Western conference crown. I look for Pau Gasol , Derek Fisher and Ron Artest(as crazy as he is) to hold down the for fort until Kobe is back to 100% and Bynum is returns. A three-peat is likely as this team has the experience and talent to duplicate last year’s results.

The Houston Rockets are a team that hinges on the health (this is becoming redundant) of its big man Yao Ming. He looks to recover from a broken foot that has hindered him all of last year. Aaron Brooks took control of the team in his absence and the Rockets also traded for the sharp shooter Kevin Martin. Luis Scola had a nice tournament in the FIBA world championships, leading the tournament in scoring. This team has a lot of moving part but if it comes together and by that I mean in large part the health of Ming, they should be right in the thick of things for the Western conference.

The opening tip-off games are usually good match-ups and this year is no different. I look for Miami to pull out the victory over Boston and the Lakers to overmatch the Rockets. Enjoy the games, I know I will.

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