The week before Thanksgiving I had officially given up on there being any NBA season. Negotiations had seemed to stall countless times as stubborn billionaires spit in the face of their millionaire players while those same players banged on tables, ripped their leadership and in one players case even scared the crap out of those sitting across from them in the negotiations. I only hope that I can bring the level of intensity to all aspects of my life as Kevin Garnett does. I like to think he is just that ferocious all the time. Time to drive the kids to school? Better bang my head against the front door a little. Just finished paying my taxes? Time to let out an unearthly bellow and pound the chest while trash talking my neighbors who haven’t even started, but I digress.
I was all set for college basketball and the NHL to take a crack at being my primary sporting interest after the NFL season came to a close. I even began to convince myself that I wouldn’t miss it. I was what millions from New York to OKC to Los Angeles and even the front running ones in Miami were; a scorned fan. I was fed up with all the legal jargon being regurgitated in my face on SportsCenter every night. I just couldn’t take a league that after being set to explode with last years successes, was ready to dig in and spend a year or more off.
But then Thanksgiving weekend the NBA dragged itself back into my life. Peace talks became a reality and I was promised NBA basketball on Christmas Day. I was hesitant at first. Should I be excited? Should I turn my nose and pretend like I didn’t care, to teach
the NBA a lesson, albeit one they wouldn’t even slightly notice?
Well I have chosen to be excited about this unexpected Christmas present and you should to. Even though we’re losing out on 16 games
we still get a generally full NBA season and there are a cornucopia (yes I’ve been brushing up on my vocabulary why do you ask?) of things to watch this season even if all your hopes lie on the crippled back of Baron Davis. (As always, Sorry Cleveland). The first day alone is stuffed with intrigue so let’s break down those opening day games as if each was individually wrapped.
Boston Celtics at New York Knicks
To: Northeast Basketball Fans, People who remember this rivalry from the ’70s, people who like rematches of 4-0 playoff series and those who are ready to see the changing of the guard.
From: The NBA
This is the first game slated on Christmas Day and it features two of the NBA’s old standbys. The Celtics and Knicks are both two of the most storied franchises in the NBA and they get set to face off in a rematch of last years first round playoff series. Boston is getting considerably older while the Knicks have added a ton of talent and youth and are only getting better. Does the Boston 3 Party have one last title run in them or is this the beginning of the Knicks reign in the Atlantic?
Miami Heat at Dallas Mavericks
To: People who like NBA Finals rematches i.e. every NBA fan, to fans who have forgotten what it means to have the entire league root against an entire team, to people who are tired of watching LeBron James pose in front of a camp of children because he dunked over a 3′ 4″ six year old, German basketball fan, Lamar and the rest of the Kardashians.
From: The NBA
Nobody riles up the masses like the Miami Heat. You either love them or hate them, there really isn’t much in between and they are finally back in the spotlight. (ESPN must be thrilled because once the NFL is done what else can they fill their air time with? Certainly not covering the other NBA teams, the NHL or college basketball.) The Mavs run last year was fantastic to watch and it propelled Dirk Nowitzski into the discussion as one of the best power forwards ever and one of the top 20 players ever. Now the retooled Heat and Mavs will face off, although with no trophy on the line it will lose a bit of the hype.
Chicago Bulls at Los Angeles Lakers
To: Fans of MVP winners, people who thought this was going to be the NBA finals match-up last year, the city of Chicago since the Bears
look to be on their way out and people who want World Peace for Christmas.
From: The NBA
This game would have been a boatload more interesting if that whole Chris Paul thing had happened but we’ll have to settle for a game between two of the last three MVP award winners in Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose. Also it will be nice to see Derrick Fisher pretend to play point guard on his aged knees rather than pretend to be a negotiator in press conferences. In a game that features two teams that will both compete for the title this season really everybody wins.
Orlando Magic at Oklahoma City Thunder
To: People who want to watch Dwight Howard play for the Magic a little longer, the city of Oklahoma City since Oklahoma State was already robbed of a BCS championship bid, James Harden’s Beard Growing Team, backpack enthusiasts.
From: The NBA
Is it fair to call Kevin Durant the anti-LeBron? He is universally loved. Seems legitimately humble and is certainly one of the best players in the league right now. On that note, who is rooting against this team? Who is there to hate? Russell Westbrook is fun to watch, James Harden’s beard is legendary, Serge Ibaka was clever and fun as hell in the dunk contest last season and has an incredible nickname as Serge I-BLOCK-A. This is just one of the most likable teams in the league. They remind me a lot of the San Francisco Giants of a few years ago or the Milwaukee Brewers last season (except for the whole Braun popping PED’s like Starburst). The Magic will most likely lose Dwight Howard sometime in the near future and although this team is a playoff team there isn’t a whole lot exciting about them but any chance to watch the Thunder is fine in my book.
Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors
To: West Coast basketball fans, people who want to see at least 47 Blake Griffin dunk faces in one game, fans of throwback jerseys that are now the teams actual jersey again (that bridge logo is pretty awesome for GS), the people at KIA Automotive.
From: The NBA
If there is a team that rivals OKC as a team that is a must watch it’s the Clippers and for one reason only: Blake Griffin. Now it looks like the Clips might snag Chris Paul? Seems like they will just grow in popularity. You can’t not watch a Clippers game or else you might miss Blake Griffin dunking over the batmobile from Dark Knight while each of the MonStars from Space Jam try to play defense. Plus on the other side you got pure scorers in Monta Ellis and Steph Curry. If this game doesn’t have four plays on SportCetner’s Top 10 and have a score of 178-165 then NBA fans everywhere would have been robbed.
Get excited. The NBA is back and that’s just the first day.
-PhilLook for SeeYouInOctober’s Preview of the three Northeast Teams all this week.