With the 2012-13 NBA season tipping off on Tuesday night and providing some tremendous action it is safe to say that this year will be another exhilarating one going forward. There were three games played during opening night and there were moments in each one that left some lasting impressions on my mind which now has caused me to reflect on them for all to read.
The most compelling of the three opening night games was without question the latest installment in the ongoing rivalry between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat which so happened to take place on the night when LeBron James finally received his first NBA Championship ring. That made the night even more intriguing as well as the fact that former Celtic Ray Allen was set to do battle with his former team on what was already an emotional night in the making.The best part of this game for me personally is when Allen walked to the Boston bench to say hello to everyone prior to the game and Kevin Garnett refused to even acknowledge the presence of someone who claims that he lost their phone number. In this day in age where rivals are too buddy-buddy for my personal taste this gesture was refreshing and let the world know that K.G. is siding with anyone who wears a Heat jersey, I love it!
Two things that really bubbled to the fore front of my mind from Miami’s 120-107 victory; first that the Heat don’t seem as if they are done with being hungry. Just take for example the last time the boys from South Beach won an NBA title and what took place on “ring night”. The Heat lost to the Chicago Bulls back on opening night of the 2006-07 season by 42 points which marked the worst defeat by a defending champion on opening night in NBA history. This team is clearly not that one and seem truly on a mission to claim title number two of the LeBron era.
The second thing from this game is the fact that the Celtics have a tons of new pieces and will be really, really good once they all gel. This team has improved leaps and bounds from a season ago as far as the personnel stand point is concerned. Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Garnett are back but with them comes Courtney Lee, Leandro Barbosa, Jason Terry and a slue of others who all can get out in the open court with Rondo and make plays in transition. The final six minutes or so were fantastic to watch as the C’s attempted to crawl back into the game; grant it Boston needs to fix some things with their defense but this team is going to be exciting to watch throughout the year. Rondo still hates the Heat and that was made 100% evident with his flagrant foul on Dwayne Wade late in the fourth quarter which after the game Wade labeled a “punk play”.
Now shifting focus to the new look Los Angeles Lakers who fell to the new look Dallas Mavericks 99-91 in front of a unhappy crowd at the Staples Center. Everyone has been excited about the additions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to Lakers joining Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol and rightfully people should be this starting lineup resembles an All-Star team but I was and even more so now am excited about the prospects of what this new look Mavs team can do. Not only did they defeat the “on-paper” favorites in the West rather easily but they did so without their best and arguably third best players in Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman. The back court duo of Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo are going to make some serious noise this season as they combined for 29 points and provided tons of energy while setting the pace for the entire game.
The Lakers have plenty of work in front of them as their offense looked out right terrible at times especially considering all of the talent which they have in that department. Head coach Mike Brown is trying to install some type of hybrid offensive system where they can run three different styles of offenses during the game and break off into any one based on what’s going on around them. Night one of the regular season worked out just how the team’s eight games did during the preseason with a loss and now well tallied up totally the new look Lakers are 0-9. Anytime a guy like Nash has just four assists in a game which he played 34 minutes that means the ball isn’t in his hands quite enough and this was a foreseen problem.
Finally I just want to quickly point out that the Cleveland Cavaliers are going to be pretty decent this season just take a look at their roster and impressive performance during their 94-84 victory over the Washington Wizards. Anderson Varejao had an incredible performance with nine points, nine assists and 23 rebounds while Kyrie Irving scored 29 points with six rebounds and three assists. This team has plenty of young talent and as long as they remain focused they will have a better season than many think they are capable of. The Wizards aren’t capable of a good season at all and hard times are a head of them this season.
Those are my reflections on opening night of the new season in the Association, stay tuned there will be plenty more to come in what should be a terrific season!