Just so you know, we now think this whole NBA season is rather pointless on account of the Lakers.
REASONS TO WATCH THE GAMES OF THE NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION TONIGHT:
We're OK, You're Not OK, But That's Okay, Because We're Not Okay (Matt):
OKC at Indiana.
Here's the problem. It's not that the Thunder are bad. Not at all. The Wolves are bad. They're pretty terrible. Hell, the Wizards are miserable. But one of the biggest plays in the second half yesterday for the Thunder came from Joe Smith. This is a bad sign. They're not just bad. They're bad and completely nondescript. They're the CBS comedy of the NBA. Tonight they face what I would probably describe as the ABC pilots of the NBA. Yeah, the Pacers probably won't be there at the end, and yeah, some of the writing seems forced every now and then, but hey, there are still some laughs in there. Durant needs to have a game where he just blows everyone away to put this team back on the map, even if it is in freaking Oklahoma. I love Westbrook's game from top to bottom but if he wants to see the floor before the All-Star break, he better Nancy Kerrigan Mr. Watson like it's elementary.
7PM EST. League Pass
Hey, Wanna See What A Real Big Man Looks Like? (Matt):
Portland at Orlando.
I'm not buying the Blazers, kids. I won't sell what I've got in stock, but I'm not ordering more till they show me that they can do more with less. They've gotten some superhuman efforts out of the club in the wins they've collected, but they're still remarkably solvable and Brandon Roy doesn't look like the unstoppable demon he was billed to be. He looks scary for spurts, but if you rub the lamp he vanishes back into it and you can go about making LaMarcus Aldridge try and kill himself with effort. Conversely, this slow start for Orlando could be a great thing, if they save their best stuff for later, no longer needing to prove things. But if they're stuck in neutral, this team has no special dynamic, no combustible chemistry, just some arc shooters and a big guy that can only dunk. No need to rush it, they should win tonight, but you have to wonder what effort level they can cruise at and still be .500.
7PM EST, League Pass.
Idling High Since July In The Sky And Other Rhymes (Matt):
New Jersey at Miami.
You know, if it weren't for the Kings soft opening schedule, the Heat would be ranked 8th in offensive efficiency? It's true. They're not playing badly. They're not playing particularly well, but they're not playing badly. This team, the fans, and the pundits need to scale back on the expectations for this club, though. They're idling, but I'm not sure they're going anywhere. At least until they finally put me out of my misery and pull the trigger on Marion. New Jersey doesn't have Devin Harris tonight. Which means essentially, this game has a total of zero quality point guards on the floor. Expect about seventeen million turnovers and Yi and Beasley to absolutely fascinate you. It's going to be like two giraffes battling and getting their necks lodged together.
7:30PM EST: League Pass.
If You Are So Ubiquitous, Why Does No One Know How Good You Are (Via The Corndogg):
Toronoto @ Boston
Blogging superstar, that is what you are. Gold medal winner, you ain't just chicken dinner. Chris Bosh is, with all due respect to Gil and Boom Tho, THE Internet leader of the league. From his curious commercials to his raucous reporting through the extent of his character repertoire, Bosh has taken over the reigns of the Blogosphere.
However, not many people realize that Bosh thoroughly dominated during the Olympics. Or that he might be the best big in the league who is NOT Amare (yes, Duncan has played well too, but Bosh is on another level right now). And, he is doing it all with a failing perimeter attack and the corpse of Jermaine O'Neal still brushing off dust. He is Legend!
So, what of tonight in Boston. Oh yeah, almost forgot. El Tigre Monstruoso wants to eat your children... and, for that matter, your face. Boston's D has been even (maybe) better than last year. Their bench is getting deeper, even as body wise it is noticeably thinner. Leon "The Pwn" Powe might be the leader for MIP as of Week 3. Expect Bosh to get rattled tonight, but with an inspired Calderon and a few decent outside looks, the Raps can make it a game. Plus, Skeets and Co. need this. Suck it America!
You Say "Potato," We Say "Shut the F--k Up, Old Man." (Via The Corndogg):
Memphis @ Phoenix.
Whether its my agonizingly reluctant acceptance of a good looking Suns team or the daily orgiastic paroxysms of Matt Moore on my Gchat, this game almost makes me want to crawl in a bunker. If the Grizz prevail, it's a monstrous win for the young'uns and about 10 phone calls from Moore tonight. Suns win, then I get even more indigestion thinking about this old, battered, Porter-esque group actually playing cohesive, smart basketball. The possibilities for an anuerysm are endless.
But Mayo is the odds on fave for ROY, Gay has not even begun to catch his stride and the PG Hydra-Phalanx of Memphis has not completely eaten itself yet - but I still hold out hope. Youth Be Served. The League's #1 Grizz Fan (somewhere, deep in the heart of 3 Shades, Chip Crain cries a cyber tear) gets his Twilight Zone-esque head explosion watching the dying of one fantasy and the dawn of the next.