A long anticipated NBA season has finally tipped off after 149 days of a player lock out. The lockout has created a shortened season and less time to play all the games, causing teams to have to play three consecutive nights.
For fans, this means there will be a lot of basketball to watch in the near future. However, for the players it makes a tough season because of the lack of time to rest between games and the grueling game schedule.
For the veterans, the shortage of vital rest time could affect the quality of play, and perhaps result in more injuries. It also hurts the rookies because they have less time to work out with their new team and to develop chemistry with their new teammates.
Nevertheless, the NBA season tipped off on Christmas day, and ever since then has been full of excitement.
The Dallas Mavericks finally got to raise their championship banner in American Airlines Center as they began their season against the Miami Heat, who they beat in the NBA finals last year. However, this time the Heat was ready to play as they dominated the Mavs all game, beating them 105-94.
It’s starting to look like Lebron James and Dwayne Wade have figured out how to play together, and it’s shaping up to be a remarkable season for the Heat.
The new and improved New York Knicks tipped off the NBA season at Madison Square Garden against the Boston Celtics. The game went down to the wire as Celtics forward Kevin Garnett missed the potential game tying shot as time expired. Carmelo Anthony led the charge for the Knicks with a game high 37 points.
The closest, and arguably the best of the Christmas day games was the Chicago Bulls traveling to the Staples Center and taking on the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers have had more than their share of off-season drama. They traded Lamar Odom to Dallas in exchange for a first round draft pick in 2012. They lost their trade for Chris Paul due to a veto by commissioner David Stern.
The veto also cancelled a planned trade of Lakers forward Pau Gasol to Houston, so Gasol ended up staying in LA.
Despite all of that, the Lakers came to play behind their star Kobe Bryant on Christmas day. Coming down to the final seconds, Derrick Rose, Bulls point guard and former NBA MVP drove across the lane and floated a shot over big seven-foot Gasol, leaving 4.8 seconds on the clock, the Bulls took a narrow one-point lead. As expected the Lakers went to Bryant with the last shot, but he just could not find the right shot as four Bulls defenders collapsed on him and Loul Deng blocked his final shot as time expired.
The highly anticipated Oklahoma City Thunder tipped their season off at home against Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic. After all the trade talks about Magic big man Howard, he is still playing in Orlando but isn’t playing his best basketball. Howard only put up 11 points to go along with his 15 rebounds. By no means is that a bad game, however the Magic must expect more out of their all-star. The Thunder were led by forward Kevin Durant and his 30 points as they went on to win 97-89.
The final game of opening day was between the extremely hyped Los Angles Clippers and Golden State Warriors. Everyone is very excited to watch the Clippers after landing the huge trade to bring in all-star guard Chris Paul to go along with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. This trio should lead to a plethora of top plays and jaw-dropping dunks and alley-oops. The Clippers are resembling a west coast version of the Miami Heat as they beat the Warriors comfortably with the final score of 105-86.
After watching the first set of games you can prepare for an exciting NBA season. The Heat and Bulls look dangerously good in the east, and the Thunder look to dominate the west with some competition from the Clippers.
One thing we know for sure, the lockout is over and the NBA season is finally underway.