Seems like the NBA season arrived out of nowhere. Maybe it’s just me as a Dallas fan, after not acquiring Deron Williams during the off season mixed with the Dirk injury, there really wasn’t anything to look forward this seasons. Not the case for the Miami Heat, who completed their championship season last night by raising their new banner and bringing out some shiny new rings. LeBron gets his ring and the “king with no ring” jokes can officially be buried and put to rest. Last night featured a nice opening slate of games for the league, leaving more headlines for everyone to talk about.
Things officially got going outside of the national spotlight between the Cavaliers and Wizards, two teams known for their young and talented players. Everyone knows these two teams won’t be talked about much when the postseason comes around but they played excellent basketball, particularly the Cavs. Cleveland’s two starting guards (Irving and Waiters) look like they have a great future but as great as they were, this game belonged to Anderson Varaajao. The Brazilian big man notched the biggest rebounding game of his career on his way to a near triple-double (9 pts, 23 reb, 9 ast) and led the Cavaliers to a 94-84 victory over the Wizards. The Wizards started off slow on offense, clearly missing their best player John Wall due to injury. Washington was able to cut the deficit in the 4th but down the stretch the Cavs looked to Irving (game high 29 pts) for the plays to seal the deal and take home the victory.
Down in South Beach, the Miami Heat continued their postseason success against the Boston Celtics in a heated game. Dwyane Wade led the scoring for the Heat (29 points) and they were able to show balance on offense and defense to take the victory over Boston 120-107. Things got chippy at the end of the game after the Celtics failed to rally and Rajon Rondo (20 pts, 7 reb, 13 ast) committed a flagrant foul on Wade, causing players from both teams to separate the two (pictured above) but it was nothing serious. Just two teams that aren’t particularly fond of each other playing a physical sport. Speaking of no love, i’m sure by now everyone else has seen Kevin Garnett give Ray Allen the cold shoulder when he approached the Celtics bench. More drama for a heated rivalry. LeBron James kept his momentum from last season but he did have to leave a couple of times during the second half due to cramping, nothing that Heat fans have the worry about.
Of course I saved the best for last just for Bryan. Just kidding, this game actually was the last to be played and caused the most noise around the league after it ended. In case you didn’t stay up for this one, a Dirk-less Mavericks (say that with a straight face) went into LA last night and ran around the new look “penciled in as the West champs” Lakers and defeated the star-studded team 99-91. The Mavs, looking very different themselves, were led by Nick Collison (17 pts, 2 reb, 4 ast) but as evident with his stat line, it took a complete team effort by this depleted Dallas team. Six different Mavs players scored in double figures and they simply looked like they wanted it more, playing with much more urgency than the Lakers. Expectations are very high for this Laker team but if they’re going to reach the title game like most expect them to, they’re going to have to use Steve Nash (only 4 assists) much more effectively. Kobe and Gasol were able to get their points (combining for 45) but that isn’t going to matter if the team shoots 38% from the charity stripe.