The NBA season tipped-off last night with three games, including TNT’s first nationally televised doubleheader, and Shattertheglass.com is here to give you the Good, the Bad and the suit that Craig Sager was wearing, including:
- Charles Barkley elaborates on what he looks for in an accountant but not in an offense (video below)…
- Ray Allen might not be the Heat’s most important offseason acquisition…
- The Lakers shouldn’t panic… yet
*** The good news for the Boston Celtics is that they will play thirty other opponents who aren’t the Miami Heat this year. If you absolutely have to lose to your arch rival you prefer to do it early in the season and on the road.
*** The bad news is that their road to the NBA Finals almost certainly runs through Miami.
*** That Miami is Boston’s biggest rival in the same season the Nets’ franchise returned to New York demonstrates how completely the New York Knicks have fallen apart since their run to the finals in 1999.
*** Ray Allen dominated the preseason storylines and Kevin Garnett’s pregame cold shoulder to his former ‘brother’ caught everyone’s attention but Rashard Lewis had a mid-range jumper party like it was 2009.
Lewis fits that profile and probably rebounds better than any other complimentary player on their roster besides Udonis Haslem.
*** The Celtics don’t play Miami again until January 24th so that game will probably be a better measuring stick for evaluating their progress vis-a-vis the defending NBA champions.
*** Charles Barkley on TNT’s post-game show Inside the NBA had perhaps the line of the night when he said, “I want my accountant from Princeton, I don’t want my damn offense from Princeton.” Mike Brown brought in former Kings, Wizards and 76ers head coach Eddie Jordan to add elements of the Princeton offense to the Lakers’ repertoire.
The Lakers’ coaching staff has tried, seemingly in vain, to portray Jordan’s installation of Princeton concepts as a tweak rather than an overhaul but, other than a successful first quarter, their offense looked slow and disjointed.
Steve Nash turns 39 before this year’s playoffs begin, Dwight Howard had back surgery just over six months ago and Kobe Bryant turned 34 years-old in August. Metta World Peace turns 33 in November and he looks to be in great shape but his minutes-per-game (MPG) have declined each of the last five years.
If the Lakers have to ask him to increase his workload significantly from the 26.9 MPG he averaged last year it could be a sign that their depth is as thin as skeptics (including your correspondent) believe.
*** All five Lakers’ starters played at least 34 minutes and Pau Gasol led the way with 40.
*** The Dallas Mavericks’ 99-91 victory over the Lakers shouldn’t be too surprising, though. Rick Carlisle looks to have a well-coached, athletic group with versatility and veteran savvy, even without Dirk Nowitzki.
Talent-wise, the roster is limited but the team has no salary obligations on the books past the end of next season so every player is essentially playing for his NBA future.
They’re expected to challenge for the eighth-and-final playoff spot in the Western Conference and the more energy-driven wins over elite teams they collect, the more pressure they put on their younger challengers, like the Utah Jazz and Golden State Warriors.
*** While the Lakers’ starting-five is an impressive collection of talent, it’s not yet a team. Their honeymoon period could last until the All-Star break, as long as they avoid any major catastrophes, but head coach Mike Brown still needs to bring a team that’s ready to play every night.
Nobody should read too deeply into an early season loss right now, but Brown needs to find a way to give his team an edge on nights their veterans don’t have their legs. He can explain away a winless preseason but a slow start to the season could cost him his job.
*** Steve Nash, as pointed out by Shaquille O’Neal on Inside the NBA, had one of the worst games of his NBA career. According to Shaq, this was the first time he’d played more than 20 minutes and failed to reach double digits in points or record more than five assists.
*** As previously mentioned, Dwight Howard is just six months removed from back surgery and it showed. He’s one of the most athletically-gifted big men in NBA history but his back looked stiff and he had to dig deep a few times to attain what little elevation his body seemed capable of achieving on the night.
*** All the talk was of the Lakers’ offense, but your correspondent remains highly dubious of their ability to defend in a manner befitting a championship-caliber NBA team.
The Lakers have struggled to defend against quick point guards for at least a decade so there’s nothing new there, however, Steve Nash has reached a point where he is completely incapable of playing on-the-ball NBA defense.
He’ll have to work hard to slow ball handlers down enough so teammates are able to complete their ‘help defense’ rotations and the acquisition of Dwight Howard will certainly help the Lakers better protect the rim, but letting opposing guards attack the paint with a full head of steam is a recipe for keeping Howard in constant foul trouble and the Lakers aren’t deep enough for their big man to spend long stretches of the season on the bench.
*** Six different Mavericks registered double digit point totals.
*** The Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the short-handed Washington Wizards 94-84 behind Kyrie Irving’s 29 points and Anderson Verajao’s 23 rebounds.
LeBron James starred in a minute-and-a-half long commercial as part of Samsung’s saturation marketing campaign during the NBA’s opening night as the league’s two most successful franchises and its two most recognizable superstars featured.