The worst part of huge trade days is that inevitably you're done dissecting it by 5PM. So when games start, you're ready to get away from it and concentrate on figuring out why Orlando can't get its head out of its ass. But that's not how it works. Every broadcast announce team will want to touch on it and discuss it and figure it out. This will continue through Friday. So get ready for your favorite local guys to say "So what do you think of the Allen Iverson trade today, Bob?"
Regardless, there is ball going on, and of course, it don't lie.
REASONS TO WATCH THE GAMES OF THE NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION TONIGHT:
I'm Gonna Fight 'Em Off, A Jason Thompson Army Couldn't Hold Me Back:
Sacramento at Philadelphia.
The Kings are 0-3. But you know what? This is the year of entertaining bad teams. And the Kings are very entertaining. Kevin Martin's still getting in gear. Hawes is learning his way. They don't have Miller back yet. And then there's Jason Thompson, who's murdering it in PER and quickly becoming a first round steal.
Tonight they face a Sixers squad that's behind it's projected trajectory, losing two of its first three games. It hasn't been the starters, who are producing as expected, though for the money he was paid, you might have wanted Iggy to put in a bucket more or two. The issue's been the bench. Luckily tonight they face a very thin Kings squad that might let them up a little bit. Cannonball Young needs to have a breakout against his young counterpart, and Elton Brand needs to quit being unassuming and assume he's going to kick a little ass.
The Kings have still not played at home.
Gametime: 7PM EST, League Pass
Thy (Magic) Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done, Now Go Out And Win The Damn Game:
Chicago at Orlando.
Gotta tell you, didn't see Orlando struggling out of the gate. Sure, they lost some bench pieces here and there, but nothing to panic about. And statistically, there's nothing desperate, here. Few more turnovers than you want. Not rebounding well. Nothing that jumps out at you and bites you in the ass. The biggest problem may simply be that this team is easy to break down. Big Beastly Jesus and Hedo the Wonderman are both doing their thing, Rashard Lewis has stepped up his game. But they don't have a legitimate secondary rebounder, and Jameer Nelson, as I have long said, has sucked. Starting point guard that's supposed to be a team leader getting 10.3 and 3.7 with 2.3 turnovers is not going to cut it.
Tonight they're in a warning spot. Chicago's spotty, don't ge me wrong. But they're dangerous. Luol Deng can produce. Gordon is a powder keg waiting to quit sulking and go off. Hinrich is playing better and better. Noah and Thomas have the size to keep up with Howard, if only to annoy him. And Derrick Rose is creeping more and more towards "OHMYGODTHAT'STHEFUNKYSH*T!" territory. I've never been happier to be as wrong about a rook as I was about Rose. His talent is enough to compensate for the poor fit on the Bulls. Orlando has to assert itself and make it clear that they're a contender and Chicago is not.
There will be a lot of perimeter shots in this game.
Gametime: 7PM EST, League Pass
Aw, Man What A Bad Time To Be In Trade Transition. Oh, No, Wait, Those Aren't ACTUAL Bobcats. We're Fine:
Detroit at Charlotte.
There are few things more embarassing than losing to a team that's without two key players because they're packing their stuff in a trade.
The Bobcats are going to lose to a team that's without two key players because they're packing their stuff in a trade.
Thing is, Gerald Wallace can have another stat-attack and it won't be enough. The worst case scenarios for the start of this season have come true. Okafor has not made a jump. May is out of shape and may just be a bust. No one has unexpectedly make a jump. Richardson is still good not great. Raymond Felton is still not an adequate point option. There is no depth. And Larry Brown HATES this team.
So the odds of them going toe to toe with Rasheed Wallace, Amir Johnson, Rodney Stuckey in a no-lose situation, and Rip Hamilton with Tayshaun Prince are not good. There's not a matchup there that favors the Cats. Even if G-Force were to have a NOVA game, he'd have to end up with 7 turnovers to complete the model (see my Free Darko Book Review later tonight for more details. /plug).
Gametime: 7PM EST, League Pass
You Bring Your Underachieving Contender, I'll Bring Mine:
Cleveland at Dallas.
Dallas looked good against Houston, they just ran into a better team. What was interesting was how quiet Kidd was. Not bad, necessarily, just quiet. Conversely, Mo Williams has been loud in the Cavs wins, but hasn't really said anything. He's plugging in numbers and opening a few things up, though, so that's good. Oh, and LeBron's assists are up. Averaging a triple double is not out of reach in the next five games.
So who's got the edge here? Cleveland.
I think it's insane, too. But Dallas' frontcourt has been unimpressive in the paint, while the Cavs are making a living down low, even bringing LeBron into the post as The Painted Area points out. I look at Mo Williams' ability to manage the game, and the fact that LeBron is averaging 10 points less than he finished last year, and he's likely to have one of those nights. Josh Howard has a considerable advantage, but we'll have to see how Carlisle uses him. And Antoine Wright looked terrible in the Rockets game. I think LBJ puts on a show tonight. Sorry Cavs fans, I've just assured you lose by 20.
Gametime: 8:30PM EST, League Pass
The Furious Vengeance of Jason Hart:
Utah at Clippers.
Okay, maybe not.
Sigh. Baron. Here we go. Is Davis just an injury risk or does he try and take more than he can handle and it results in the injuries? This is life, Clippers fans. You know it. And we feel for you. We do.
So do they have any chance against the Jazz tonight? Even without Deron Williams?
Nuh-uh. The Jazz create problems for any team they face, and particularly at the 4 and 5 in terms of talent with Boozer and Okur. Kaman and Tim Thomas are just not guys you bring to a fight to take this kind of team on. I'm excited to see Al Thornton unleashed this season, but man, there's just not a lot going well with this Clippers team right now. Plus, Mike Dunleavy hates young players. He's a terrible coach for this conglomeration. Mike Taylor is only playing 17 minutes per game, but has a 3-1 AST:TO ratio and is shooting 42%. We'll se if MDSr. loosens the reins tonight.
Gametime: 10:30PM EST, League Pass
The Glory Of Youth Is That Failure Is Not A Setback, It Is a Mountain To Clear:
Golden State at Memphis.
Sign. Me. Up.
Marc Gasol versus Andris Biedrins. Stephen Jackson versus Rudy Gay. Mike Conley/Kyle Lowry versus a point guard that's actually more questionable than they are. Maggette versus Mayo. Anthony Randolph and Brandan Wright, maybe? Darko maybe? The possibilities here are endless. This is two teams with a lot of danger to them but little resolve, with loads of capability but no direction. They are nomads, wandering through the hills randomly attacking caravans.
This is where I'm parking the League Pass.
Gametime: 8PM EST League Pass