Seriously, Pringles would’ve hit the spot while tuning into opening night. Instead, I settled for potato chips, which was a terrible idea on so many levels. Live-tweeting and chips just don’t mix in general. Too many trips to the sink to wash my hands, but hopefully the walk back and forth burned off a calorie or two. Maybe I’ll burn a couple typing up a recap of each game without resorting to too many cliches. Let’s see how this goes:
Los Angeles Clippers @ Los Angeles Lakers
It’s only one game, but for one game it really happened. The majority of the ‘WTF’ moments came in the finale between the Clippers and Lakers. The Lakers, most notably their BENCH, put on a clinic against a contender in the West.
It brought me back to high school basketball when a tiny Christian high school kept up with us for one half, with all the athletes’ mothers going bonkers that they weren’t down by 40. That shows how low my expectations were for the Lakers last night. It made the game that much more entertaining when they not only stuck with the Clippers for the whole game but their bench embarrassed the Clips’ starters. The Jordan Farmar-Jordan Hill-Xavier Henry trio was lethal.
76 points came from the bench and over half came in their 41-point fourth quarter. Wesley Johnson lived up to expectations though, going 1-for-11. (Some things never change.) Nick Young shot 30 percent, but with the win his postgame meal of swagger tots must’ve been delish.
The Lakers’ starters weren’t that terrible, even though their plus-minuses pale in comparison to their bench. Their first 13 points came from Pau Gasol, who stole Kobe Bryant’s sole and became Paube GaBryant (why is spell check okay with that name?). The Lakers don’t stick around through the third quarter and make their fourth quarter barrage without Gasol keeping them in the first six minutes of the game.
It’s tempting to resort to clichés for the Clippers–such as they didn’t want it enough–but it’s just one game. They need more from Blake Griffin—especially at the line—but a lot of players could’ve been better. Dropping a game to the Lakers, even in just the first game, can be costly when the top half of the West’s playoff picture should be super close this season.
By the way, Byron Mullens got beat out for backup center duties by Ryan Hollins. Five years ago, Mullens came into Ohio State as the #1 recruit in the country. The dropoff continues.
Orlando Magic @ Indiana Pacers
I actually didn’t watch any of this game, but following along on Twitter covered ~75% of what I was missing.
ANDREW NICHOLSON IS GOING TO WIN THE SCORING TITLE.—
Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) October 29, 2013
Andrew Nicholson’s first half created all sorts of CAPS LOCK MADNESS, scoring 18 points in 13 minutes. That’s perfect for those who play in fantasy basketball leagues that adjust their categories to per-36 numbers. For everyone else, he only played six minutes in the second half, never scored again and, so far, hasn’t scored another game for the rest of the season.
For Indiana, Roy Hibbert had a Hibb-Hibb Hooray box score of eight points, 16 rebounds and seven blocks. There was also plenty of talk about Lance Stephenson and, when looking at his performance on paper, it was well-deserved: an 18-7-5 line on 8-for-12 shooting. I actually hope that doesn’t happen too happen. I need Crazy Lance in my life.
Also, Paul George looked too smooth while beating the third quarter buzzer:
Overall, the final score was what was expected: a ten-point victory for the Pacers.
Chicago Bulls @ Miami Heat
It only takes one second for Chris Bosh to be hilarious:
And a few more for Derrick Rose get acclimated to Miami’s trapping of the pick and roll.
Since Derrick Rose was last on the court Dwight Howard has been traded. Twice, and LeBron’s reputation is totally different. Speaking of totally different, the Sixers had quite the makeover. So did Jeremy Butler. Kind of. His hair looked like a pencil eraser.
Rose had times where he looked fantastic though and times where he looked like he hadn’t played in a pressure cooker game in 18 months. It’s only the regular season, but reading and hearing how each team views the other makes it feel like more than just another game on the schedule.
But, that’s all it is right now. There’s plenty of time to get Rose and the rest of the lineup–a lineup that never played on the floor together until last night–to play like the beast of a five-man unit they’re expected to. The bench also has to be better, which it should. Miami blitzed them in the second quarter, all when Joakim Noah took a really, really long rest. Are his feet still bothering him?
Chicago still had a chance in the fourth quarter, bringing back memories of last season’s opener versus Boston when the Celtics stormed back from a major deficit. That was until the Bulls, after a made free throw, left Shane Battier wide open for a corner three with 1:40 left. An eight-point lead went to 11 and the Heat eventually won by 12.
All of this all happened while LeBron had one of the most nonchalant games of his career; a casual 17-6-8 line. That’s because this game started and ended with Chris Bosh’s video bombing.
The opening night for the 2014 season was one of the weirdest I can remember, but it’s only the beginning. One day down, about six more months to go.
Tagged: NBA season opener