December 29, 2011
By Oliver Layco
The NBA is back, and it arrived with a bang. Christmas Day saw a slate of five games throughout the day. The first game up was the New York Knicks vs. the Boston Celtics. However, before this first game, there was a very cool TV spot that advertised basketball is forever. The editors spliced footage of legends mixed in with today’s players. We were able to see Magic Johnson throwing a no look pass to Kobe; Derrick Rose playing alongside Michael Jordan; and several other matchups that are left in the world of what-if. Then it was game time; and all I can say is, “About damn time.” Even though the Knicks and Celtics are not my favorite teams, I got that tingling feeling in me when that ball went up for the tip. This game went both ways. The Knicks would get a big lead in the beginning and lead by 16 at one point. Then during the second half, Boston would go on a run and gain a lead of 11 during the third quarter. The game really picked up during the final minutes of the fourth as Carmelo Anthony took over the game. He was able to tie the game with a three and then give the Knicks the go-ahead bucket. Then Boston tried to respond with a three or a two, but failed at both. In the end the Knicks were able to win by two; 106-104
The next game was an NBA Finals rematch between the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks. Before this game, the Mavs were able to raise their Championship banner and the beloved Commissioner was there to help them out. When he was introduced, the Mavs crowd gave him a course of Boo’s. They eventually calmed down when Mark Cuban started talking and their banner was raised. When the game actually started, it was a massacre from the start. The Mavs lost several key players from their championship run and it clearly showed. LeBron James went off and was just took over the game. At one point, the Heat were up by 30 points. The Mavs just looked out of sync the whole game. Their overall shooting percentage was only 37%. The Mavs did make a small push late in the game, but at that point it didn’t matter. The Heat won 105-94.
The Lakers and Bulls were up next and it was a better game than I thought it would be. I expected the Lakers to be sluggish because of a new coach, players, and system; and they were. Rotations were slow at first and the turnovers were piling up. However, the Bulls weren’t able to begin pulling away until mid-way through the second quarter. Derrick Rose was able to get off some pretty acrobatic shots. At some point you just have to admit when a player is great. During the second half, the Lakers were able to lockdown on defense and to swing the momentum their way. They carried this into the fourth quarter and led by a high of 11. However, their defense eventually broke down and they weren’t playing as tight as they were before. Next thing you know, the lead was trimmed to one with twenty seconds left on the clock. Kobe is cornered at half court, and has to make a desperation pass. It gets intercepted by Rose and he gives the Bulls the go-ahead with a floater from just inside the free throw line. The Lakers are left with one final chance to win the game, but Kobe gets blocked at the buzzer to send them to a 0-1 record to start off the Mike Brown era. The Bulls pulled out an 88-87 win.
The other games that were on were the Orlando Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers. The Magic were unsure of how Dwight Howard was going to play because he wants to be traded to another team. The Thunder on the other hand never looked better. Kevin Durant looked sharp with an even 30 points. Dwight, on the other hand, looked nothing like the all-star funny man he’s established himself as. He only scored 11 points on 4 of 12 shooting. The Thunder were easily able to win this 97-89.
To cap off an entire day of basketball, Chris Paul and the Clippers went up against Stephen Curry and the Warriors. This game was relatively close throughout the whole thing until the fourth quarter. At that point, Chris Paul and the Clippers took over and closed the game out to win it 105-86.
At the end of the day, I’m glad to say basketball is back and the future is looking good.