We're Already Bored With AI Talk (Matt):
Detroit at New Jersey:
Finally we get to see Iverson in Detroit. Bad Boys is excited. Need 4 Sheed is skeptical. Everyone else is bonkers. This may be the only player you can immediately put in and expect him to have a difference. Doesn't know the offense? NBD, it's Iverson. Doesn't know his teammates? NBD, it's Iverson. This one doesn't need a reason for you to watch, it's pretty self-explanatory.
Chris Douglas Roberts, of course.
Detroit could win this game without Iverson, but we'll see pretty quickly how Curry intends to try and fit him in and whether AI goes out and just does his thing.
Dinosaurs Used To Be Birds, You Know (Matt):
Raptors at Hawks
The Hawks Are Favored! The Hawks are Favored! Great day in the morning! The Raptors got a harsh dose of reality against the Pistons, but this is a much better matchup. You're looking at a shootout tonight between two very good teams. Bosh and O'Neal have the edge offensively, but Horford and Zaza have been brilliant defensively. Calderon is a genius right now, but none moreso than than Joe Johnson. This game could very well come down to perimeter shooting, with the Hawks running and gunning wings versus Kapono and Calderon sharpshooting. Lordy, Lordy, you ever think you'd see the day where these two are a marquee matchup?
New Orleans at Charlotte
Old, useless, craggy Larry has come to ruin your team.
Not only does he hate Gerald,
The moron "made" Jordan take Augustin.
That leaves you with Okafor and a bag of wind in the middle.
Right now, I would rather be puking blood.
And don't act like some sudden change will make you better.
Definitely not if Larry makes the decision.
Every time he speaks, Robert Johnson's stock (and stool) drops.
Course, he is a Carolina guy, so Jordan will do whatever he says.
Regardless, Crash is the only good thing about your team now.
Adam Morrison even agrees... and he hasnt spoken in 3 years.
So if you want your franchise to implode.
Hurry up and get rid of your best player at Larry's expense. Then move to Kansas City.
Miami at San Antonio
OKC at Utah.
Minny @ Sacramento
Oh, Dear, That Artest Fellow Seems Upset (Matt):
Rockets at Clippers.
Back to back losses for the Rockets, and both have been tight. Brandon Roy's
Rocket Science and Don Nelson. Both Involve Chemistry (Matt):
Memphis at Golden State
The Grizzlies hopped on the Marc Gasol Express and rode that train all the way up Golden State's ass last game, cramming 27, 16 and 3 down their throats. Since then the Warriors beat the Nuggets and had a little bit of a youth movement as Don Nelson discovered that if you let Brandan Wright off the freaking bench he can actually produce. Congratulations, you rocket scientist.
It's as if the Entire Bulls Roster Cried Out in Terror and Was Suddenly Silenced (Rob)
Suns at Bulls
One year later, and Chicago still looks about as disoriented as ever. They may not be putting out last year's particular brand of on-court ineptitude (thank Deng and Rose for that), but watching a Bulls game is still vaguely reminiscent of blasting Animal Collective while watching live feed of an earthquake-induced hysteria. What's worse is that I'm not sure Vinny is making any more sense of things than the rest of us, which is a frightening thought for a young team.
The team with a glut of guards but little frontcourt substance will run headfirst into the steamroller known as Amare, and that one guy who acts as his sidekick who happens to be a former MDE and future hall of fame-er. Tough luck, guys. But if the early season serves as any precedent, this really is the Year of Amare; he's going on a nation-wide tour as the dynamic frontman, with Nash as the lead guitarist who still has a few tricks up his sleeve, and Shaq as the past-his-prime drummer who still wants to write songs and sing backup. In this new system, the Suns will only go as far as Amare will take them, which is a strange idea in contrast to the Nash-led outfits we've seen in recent years. Expect the VH1 Behind the Music detailing Boris Diaw's drug abuse within the next few months.
But never fear, Bulls faithful: you still have Tyrus Thomas. Kyrylo Fesenko mentions him among the league's great big men (and remembers him before Dwight and Bynum…and Amare, oddly enough), and I'm pretty sure that Moore already has him penciled in ahead of Duncan for the greatest all-time power forward. Plus, one of your point guards can actually lob oops to another one of your point guards. And that is awesome.
8:30 EST, League Pass
I Get By With a Little Help From My Suddenly Competent Teammates (Rob):
Pacers at Cavs
It's frightening how subtleties have helped the Cavs. Adding Mo Williams was a big deal, make no mistake, but it's not like he's dropping 30 and 8. The biggest difference between this season's Cavs and the Cavs of the past is the presence of a playmaker on the court at all times. Over the summer, I described Mo as a "glorified Delonte West" on more than one occasion, but what I didn't really understand was that the presence of West for a full season and another player who is very similar yet superior can open up this offense in entirely new ways. I'm actually perfectly fine with LeBron acting as the primary playmaker on a team, as long as it doesn't lull him into taking too many jumpers. But having that safety net of another scorer and another playmaker makes this team pretty formidable. The difference of not forcing LeBron to bring the ball up, allowing him to work off of a real point guard for stretches (sorry, Boobie), and even dabble in a growing back-to-the-basket repertoire (!!!). The Sixers made the big splash and the the Raptors are climbing the ranks, but don't sleep on this team. You'll wake up in the morning with a bloodied lip, a black eye, a killer headache, and a giant scar across your stomach where one of your kidneys used to be.
The Pacers are going to surprise a lot of people this season, if they haven't already. Keep in mind that everything they've done so far (Beating Boston, hanging tough with the Pistons and Suns) has been without Dunleavy, who was probably their best player last season (I still feel weird typing that). In the meantime, Granger is kicking ass and taking names. He's scoring from everywhere, he's playing some excellent D, and he finally got his damn contract extension. About time. The sad thing is that even though Marquis Daniels, Troy Murphy (wtf, mate?), Granger and Co. are all clicking right about now, this is going to be a really difficult one for them to win. LeBron is LeBron, the Cavs are better than ever, and for once this team
doesn't look abysmal on offense doesn't look abysmal on offense all the time.
7:30 EST, League Pass
Me, and Chauncey, and Everyone We Know
Mavs at Nuggets
The Mavs just beat the Spurs. The Nuggets just lost to the Warriors. Yeah. But this night isn't about the Mavs or the Nuggets, really, it's about getting over the brutally unnatural feeling of seeing Chauncey Billups wear shiny blue threads. I don't think my brain is prepared to handle it.
Expect sloppiness from Denver, but not as sloppy as AI and Melo's first game together which consisted of around 80 failed lobs. But with Chauncey and Iverson both suiting up for their new teams, this is definitely a night to remember. Saying that conjured an image in my brain of Chauncey in a baby blue tux posing arm in arm with Kenyon in a prom dress. A Ringpop and a coupon for a foot massage to the first person who photoshops that.
10:30 EST, ESPN
Expect the Unexpected…Except When It's Against the Celtics
Bucks at Celtics
This game just has that feel. The Bucks are a surprising 3-2, and the Celtics show flashes of mortality. The point guard rotation in Milwaukee is going strong. Richard Jefferson has been great, the offense is even better than it should be, and Mbah a Moute has been surprisingly productive so far. I mean, if the cards fall in their favor, and if they get the perfect hands at the right times, and the chips go their way, and the subsequent dice rolls all turn up evens, and if the coins all land tails, and if the lucky pony just happens to win the race, and…
Man, the Bucks are screwed. They've won games that they should have, and lost games they should have. A light schedule can fluff you up to a winning record early, but you can't expect the Bucks to go in to Boston and beat the Celtics. That's just cruel. Viva la Ramon Sessions, Give Me CNuv or Give Me Death, Mbah a Moute for President, and Joe Alexander sucks.