Before I start I'd like to say that the staff here at 1st & 10 Sports all have the victims of Hurricane Sandy in their hearts. Our prayers go out to all of you who have been affected. For the remainder of the NBA season I will be covering the defending champions the Miami Heat. However due to complications from the effects of the hurricane earlier this week, I'll be taking an over all look at the important things we've learned from multiple teams in this very early part of the season.
1. The Champs are primed, and ready to go. The Big three in Lebron James (26 pts, 10 rebounds), Dwyane Wade (29 pts, 4 assists), & Chris Bosh (19 pts, 10 rebounds) were sensational in their opener against their heated rival the Boston Celtics. The newest additions to the Heatles in the ex-Celtic Ray Allen (19 pts), and Rashard Lewis (10 pts, 5 rebounds) seemed to fit in with out the growing pains for now. Add that all together, you get a 120-107 victory on Championship ring/banner night for the defending champs. Head coach Eric Spoelstra's position-less basketball philosophy could prove to be the stuff of basketball genius, but there are 81 more games to be played for this Heat team to prove it even more.
2. Miami vs Boston is THE rivalry in the NBA. I know the Knicks, and Nets tip off very soon which will spark a big time inner city rivalry. I may even add in the war brewing between the LA Lakers, and LA Clippers. However due to the recent history between the Heat and Celtics, Ray Allen taking his talents to South Beach to light up his former squad (KG denying his handshake), and finally the heated exchange between Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo (after Rondo technical foul) in my mind there is no question that these two teams share the most hated rivalry in the NBA. And even though the Heat won the first battle this season, the Celtics still scored 107 points. This battle should get a lot more interesting throughout the season.
3. The Lakers need time...but how much? We all expected the basketball version of the Justice leauge to have a rough stretch at some point in this year. No one thought it would be the first two games of the NBA season. Kobe Bryant despite the injury talk is playing, and scoring like Kobe does. However the struggles of the team as a whole over shadows everything. Dwight Howard is putting up D12 numbers 26 ppg and 12 rebounds, but he looks less impactful than usual especially on the defensive side. Steve Nash (4.5 ppg, 4.0 assists) looks out of sync as well not shooting well, not passing well, and just not looking like the Steve Nash we know he can be. I know it's the earliest part of the season, but things better get better in LA because lord knows the fans will let them hear it.
4. Anthony Davis is ready for the NBA. Young Mr. Davis & his trademark uni-brow opened up his NBA debut with probably the most legendary opponent he could get, Tim Duncan (24 ppg, 11 rebounds). Davis didn't shrink away from the pressure either, putting up 21 pts and 7 rebounds in his first regular season game. His defensive effort (without multiple blocks), and his energy on the court was very enjoyable to watch. And to our surprise he even showed us he can step out to hit a 12-15 foot jumper. Most importantly his game made you think, this kid was definitely worth the Number 1 pick. I look forward to seeing his career unfold, and if you ask me he'll be the Rookie of the Year by seasons end.
5. Trading James Harden will haunt OKC, and Houston scored big time. I don't know how long, but this will sting in the hearts of Okhlaoma City fans as long as he continues to play the way he did Wednesday. It's one thing to trade away a 23 year old that despite being the reigning 6th man of the Year could start for any team (as we saw yesterday). A man who provided much needed bench energy, and the best production from the bench. But then it's another when he goes on to put up a stat line of 37 pts, 6 rebounds, 12 assists, and 4 steals in the season opener. Those numbers in a season opener have only be duplicated by Dwyane Wade, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan. That's with a new team, new teammates, and not understanding the playbook. Oh, and they win the game 105-96. If ex-Rocket Kevin Martin plays well for OKC then maybe things aren't as lop sided as we thought in regards to this trade. However if he doesn't OKC's management better get use to the media bashing. On another note, Houston is ready for "Beard Sanity" as Harden (5 years, $80 million) looks to develop a great on the court relationship with fellow star Jeremy Lin.
Thanks for reading. My usual coverage of the Miami Heat will continue Friday November, 2nd as they travel to the Big Apple to face the New York Knicks. 8:00 pm, on ESPN.