*Miami has a ways to go; ESPN construction of a dedicated news team JUST for the Heat and people like Jeff Van Gundy
- To open with the Celts was one of THE worst scenarios for MIA. THe Celts are the epitome of supreme defensive squad , their suffocating defense ranking 1st, 2nd, and 5th in John Hollinger's Defensive Efficiency in the last 3 years. (The 5th place finish last year is misleading; Garnett, Rasheed n' Co. sandbagged the regular season and stepped up at the end, cumulating in the throttling of the Magic and Cavs in last years playoffs, then giving the Lakers ALL they could handle in the Finals). Boston's disciplined rotations, paint-clogging bigs and swift close-outs on the perimeter were too much for the still-developing Heat squad.
- Mike Miller is going to be a HUGE part of the Heat offensive attack; his sharpshooting, passing, and rebounding (no, really) are expected to lead that 2nd unit and boost the Miami Thrice. Right now, he's a spectator due to a cracked thumb.
- 3 minutes does not a preseason make. This was basically Dwyane Wade's 1st on-court action since the Celts bounced him from the playoffs, and it showed. He seems out of rhythm and lacked that Burst, going for a weak 13 pts on 25% shooting. Give Wade a week and a half of court time before we proclaim the LBJ/Flash experiment a failure.
- 1 game does not a legacy make. Bosh had a crap game with 8 and 8. It's one game. He's a 25 and 10 guy. I got faith he'll make up for this clunker.
What else did we learn Opening Night?
- Lakers are even BETTER than last year. Just typing that makes me wanna sit in a dark room with a bottle of brandy and a cigarette. Shannon Brown might have made the biggest sacrifice of any player this off-season, passing up bigger money and minutes to play his position in LA. If he shoots even close to the way he did last night, he's going to be a problem for the rest of the L. Matt Barnes looks like he was made for this squad. All the Steve Blake nay-sayers? Shhhhhhh. It's amazing how playing with quality teammates brings the best out of even those considered "mediocre".
-Pau Gasol is the best center in the league right now. He's toughened up, he boards, he can shoot, and he's got a full toolbag of post moves. I hate him. His 29/11 and 2 blocks somehow wasn't the headline, but it should have been.
- Speaking of centers; if you KNOW Yao is only playing 24 minutes, shouldn't the coaching staff down in Houston wouldn't force the issue a little, get the team to STOP SHOOTING JUMPERS while Yao's out there??
Phoenix is in big trouble, and Portland is gonna be good. As much as I think we'll see Amar'e struggle without Nash, the Suns now have a gaping 25 ppg hole in the middle. Nash may still have" It", but if you got no one to pass it to, you end up with 26 points (good...), 6 asts (eh..), and 9 TOs (What the..?!?). Hedo Turkoglu's Karma is kicking him in the crotch; I bet he cries into the obscene amount of money he stole from Toronto every night, thinking about throwing lobs to Dwight Howard.
Nicolas Batum = Bruce Bown 3.0?
That's enough of what I learned...what else stood out on Opening Night?