October 26, 2009
By: Zachariah Blott
The NBA season kicks off Tuesday night with four games, and then a hefty twelve on Wednesday. Here are things you should know and look for on these two nights.
1) Blake Griffin could be leading the league in scoring by Thursday. The Clippers’ defense has been stealing the ball a lot, resulting in numerous fast break buckets in the preseason. Griffin runs the floor well for a big man, so he was scoring a lot of those easy points. On top of that, he is the #1 option for the Clippers in the half-court. What could put him over the top is the fact that LA’s first two opponents play fast: the Lakers and the Suns. The Lakers play great defense, but they still had the sixth-fastest pace last year. You already know the Suns are the epitome of fast, and their defense is pretty lackluster.
Then again, Griffin just
tweaked his knee broke his kneecap and will miss at least the first 6 weeks of the season. Plus, Dwayne Wade‘s Heat kick it off Wednesday with the Knicks, so…
2) Teams dread playing two games in two days, but Boston gets a second-night break on their first back-to-back. They start things off with an absolute slugfest at Cleveland on Tuesday, but then they fly home and can play the JV squad for an easy encounter with Charlotte the next day. On the flipside, the Clippers get the Lakers on opening night and the Suns on Wednesday. They should be able to score some points in these games, but they will probably start the season 0-2.
LA Clippers president Andy Roeser photo credit: Icon SMI
3) Want to know the what to watch each night? This is an easy one. The Eastern Conference favorites Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics tip it off at 7:30 on Tuesday on TNT. Then the Utah Jazz and the Denver Nuggets fight for an early jump on the top-heavy Northwest Division Wednesday night at 10:30 on ESPN. There is no shortage of star power or playoff positioning to be had right off the bat with this pair of games.
4) How about story lines on opening night? This isn’t hard, either. Boston and Cleveland is a great contest to begin the season with, but one of them will be 0-1 right out of the gate, so expect at least one of their next opponents—Charlotte and Toronto—to take serious beatings on Wednesday. You also have the Lakers and Clippers squaring off which is cool because it’s the only cross-city rivalry in the league. With the LA connection, fans get the NBA Champs and Blake Griffin’s first game (maybe); enough said. Farther up the coast, upstart Portland faces off with the team that was last seen knocking them out of the playoffs: the Houston Rockets. Expect revenge to be on the minds of the Blazers no matter what lip service they provide about it being a new season. Finally you’ve got the Wizards at Dallas. Anyone have a good reason they’re slated for an otherwise exciting opening night? The only connection I can see is offensive talent that usually disappoints in the postseason.
5) Two teams that will definitely be undefeated after two nights of action are the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks. That’s because the Bulls’ season starts Thursday with the visiting San Antonio Spurs. Expect Derrick Rose and Tony Parker to display their one-man fastbreak skills as much as possible. The Bucks are dormant until Friday when they travel to Philadelphia.
For what else to expect in the 2009-10 NBA, check out ETB’s Divisional Previews:
- Eastern Conference, Central Division
- Eastern Conference, Southeast Division
- Eastern Conference, Atlantic Division
- Western Conference, Southwest Division
- Western Conference, Northwest Division
- Western Conference, Pacific Division
Zachariah Blott cannot recommend Rick Telander’s “Heaven Is A Playground” enough.