This game was the best game played on opening night. After 3 overtimes the Knicks got the hardfought win backed by a strong performance from Quentin Richardson who scored 31 points at a high percentage.
At Memphis side, we saw a couple of promising talents. For the latter part of the game, the Grizzlies played with two rookies on the field, Kyle Lowry and Rudy Gay.
Lowry, a PG out of Villanova, grabbed 10 rebounds and played good defense against the star backcourt of the New York Knicks. From what I've seen, he can become a solid PG in this league. On the other hand, we have Rudy Gay, the PF out of Connecticut. In this game, he became a go to guy and he responded by scoring 21 points. As a rookie, he will not do this on a consistent level, but he will grow and become a very valuable player for the Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies team is a mix of young players and veterans. On the one hand, we have the abovementioned rookies. There is also the second year PF Hakim Warrick, a rebounding machine. On the other hand we have the veterans Eddie Jones, Damon Stoudamire and Chucky Atkins who bring the very needed experience.
Besides those players, there are the two stars of the team, Pau Gasol and Mike Miller. Mike Miller, the 6th man of the year and former Rookie of the year, is a pure shooter. If the Grizzlies want get the maximum out of his shooting ability, they have to create a couple of plays especially for him because he is not the guy who will create his own shot. And then we have Pau Gasol, the backbone of the team. This Spanish PF can do it all and is one of the top stars of the game. Unfortunately, he injured himself during the semi final of the World Championships where his spanish team got the title. He will probably return within the next weeks.
If the Grizzlies find the right balance they can reach the playoffs.
The Knicks team didn't change during the summer. It still is a team filled with superstars that are too expensive and too selfish. Isiah Thomas managed to ruin the team during his days as GM and now he will ruin the team as coach.
They will win more games than last year but according to me, they will not reach the playoffs.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
The second game of NBA opening night was a replay of last season play-off matchup between the LA Lakers and the Phoenix Suns. The Lakers had to play without Kobe Bryant who had a knee operation in July and is not yet ready to play at this level.
Without Kobe, it looked like LA had no chance to win against the high-scoring Suns team.
The first quarter seemed to confirm this assumption because the Suns cruised to a 26-41 lead while playing their trademark fast break basketball.
But then the Lakers started to get some stops and they also scored some baskets and the Suns started panicking and kept panicking throughout the rest of the game. The final score was 114 - 106 for the Lakers.
Before the game, Bryant said on TNT that he had confidence in his team because they were all very talented players who would step up when needed. and he was right.
The 19 year old Andrew Bynum scored 18 points in his first ever start in an NBA game and Lamar Odom confirmed his talent with a 34 point outburst. On top of that, he grabbed 13 rebounds.
Meanwhile, they also won their second game of the season.
The Laker team is really good and will get better once Bryant rejoins the team IF Bryant keeps recognizing the talent in his teammates and starts playing less selfishly. If this is the case, they can get far in the play-offs and maybe even play the conference finals.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Well, the season has started in spectacular fashion. The reigning world champions Miami Heat suffered a devastating loss against the Chicago Bulls. After getting their championship rings in a pre-game ceremony, the Bulls blew out the Heat and won with a difference of 42 points, wich is the greatest loss a champion ever endured on opening night.
Now, while the difference in points is a big surprise, the win of the Bulls certainly isn't. With the signing of Ben Wallace, Chicago changed from a good first round playoff team into a title contender. The presence of Wallace will ignite the defence of the Bulls while their offence can rely on their backcourt where players such as Hinrich, Duhon andGordon can score points in a bunch.
I expect great things from Chicago. They certainly must reach the second round of the play-offs and from that point on everything is possible.
For the Miami Heat, this loss puts them back with their feet on the ground. They now know that this season will become much more difficult than last season because playing against the champ will motivate each opponent. But if Shaq and Wade stay healthy, I see them again playing in the Eastern conference finals and who knows, maybe their opponent will be Chicago...