Opening Night In the NBA
Cavs-Celtics: This was the premier matchup last night, and the fans weren’t disappointed in the game (except for those in Cleveland). It was a great all-around game against two teams that should be playing well into the summer. The Celtics were too much for the hometown Cavs, and showed a balanced attack last night. Boston dominated the boards and shot the ball better than Cleveland. That has to be frustrating with the Cavs, especially the part of losing the battle on the glass, considering they have the two biggest guys on the floor in Big-Z and Shaq. The most promising thing for the Celtics was the play of Rasheed Wallace, showing that he can fit in with the other veterans and stars in Boston. For the Cavs, they need to get more balance on offense, and find a way to get their big men better opportunities.
Lakers-Clippers: The Lakers showed that they are still and elite team last night, but you have to be impressed with the way the Clippers played. Both teams were without a star player last night, Pau Gasol for the Lakers, and Blake Griffin for the Clippers, so this wasn’t the “A game” for either team. The Clippers showed something special last night, not only were they without Griffin, but they also had to deal with the mental aspect of that loss. No one thought the Clippers could respond, but they did last night even in the loss. The fact that they only loss by 7 to the reigning champs is pretty good. And in many ways the Clippers gave that game away last night. They had nearly twice as many fouls as their LA counterparts, not to mention turning the ball over four more times. Also two of their best players, Baron Davis and Al Thornton went a combined 5 for 21. If you eliminate the disastrous 1st quarter, then the Clippers would have won this game. For the Lakers outside of relying too much on their starters it was business as usual. They capitalized on the Clippers mistakes, and forced them into situations where they had to foul. One area of concern was their free-throw shooting, where they only shot 67% from the line. They will need to improve there if they want to close out games against the Western Conference’s tougher opponents.