By: Adam Pasternak
Last night, this year’s highly anticipated NBA season began and man, was it great! The night kicked off with two games from the Eastern Conference and one from The West. First we had the Cavs vs. Bulls and Pistons vs. Hawks, and then the defending champs, the Golden State Warriors, took on a very injured New Orleans Pelicans squad. If you asked a sports fan if they were going to watch the Pistons game, most would probably have forgotten that they even had a game scheduled; I almost did. The Pistons vs Hawks was completely overshadowed by the Cavs and Bulls, and understandably so. The Cavs game, numbers-wise, got off to a slow start, – with both teams just trying to get back into the swing of things – but the entertainment and excitement was all there from the start. LeBron was great right off the bat, hitting a few early jumpers, and D-Rose gave us an early injury scare which almost gave Bulls fans heart-attacks within the first four minutes of the season! Eventually, the teams found their form, with the Bulls leading for much of the game. In the fourth, LeBron started to heat up, and looked like he was going to take over, but it just never really happened. The Cavs got within one and even took the lead at one point late in the game, but the Bulls kept pushing. lead by Mirotic’s 19 points and 9 rebounds in just 25 minutes, the bulls came out with the victory! It was an exciting game and I was thrilled that regular season ball was back, but little did I know that 20 minutes later I would be even more excited as I watched the reigning MVP, Steph Curry, score 24 points in the first quarter of the season. He was magical, ending the game with a game high 40 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds. Steph was one point shy of breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s opening night scoring record by a former MVP of 41 points. Steph was definitely “cooking 360 with the wrist motion” last night and it was amazing to watch. Oh, and did I mention there was also a ring ceremony, which included the master of ceremonies, Steph Curry, and his team sing the Drake and Future song “Big Rings” while showing off their, well, big rings! The Warriors looked comfortable in the spotlight after a summer of being exposed to it. Draymond Green and his contagious, confident smile took centre stage yet again, dancing through the ceremonies and enjoying the moment to its fullest. The ceremony was great, and seeing Steph Curry’s reaction to getting a ring put things into perspective. We think that these guys have it all and that they are almost like superheroes to some people. To us, they feel no pain and they don’t ever cry or show emotion. Steph’s face when he got his ring from the commissioner was priceless. His smile was huge and he had a look on his face that said, “holy crap! Thats a ring!”. You could tell Steph is a very grounded and mature individual. All in all, it was just a great moment to see.
Back to the game though, the Pelicans star centre, Anthony Davis, showed us why we should be excited for the future, but also have some patience in the process of getting there. He struggled shooting from the floor, scoring the majority of his 18 points from the charity stripe. He was fun to watch, bringing up the ball at some points and essentially running the offence. I’ve never seen someone so tall and so big act as a point-forward. In past seasons, the Pelicans possessions usually started down in the post with the ball ending up in his hands and then into the basket. Now, their possessions start with Davis around the elbows and him deciding what to do next. Last night we often saw him put the ball on the ground and try and create for himself, and in my opinion, he did not look comfortable in doing so. I think the reason he shot so poorly is because he has so much pressure to essentially be the team’s offence, especially with the amount of players injured right now (they only had 10 players available last night). Davis will make it work in the end, but as I mentioned before, as fans we need to be patient with the process. By this time next year he will have the ability to play essentially every position and create anywhere on the floor with ease, almost like Kevin Durant. Coach Alvin Gentry has said that we will be seeing Davis shoot the three-ball a lot more often this year, which to me is a little scary. Personally, I would not rush it. I would let him work on his shot in practice and when he feels comfortable enough to use it in games, trust that he would naturally incorporate it into his game. It wasn’t weird to see the first shot of the game come from long-range, after all, it was a Warriors game. The weird thing was that the first shot of the game was a corner three from Anthony Davis. It was a miss, and was an example of how forced some of his shots were last night. There’s no need to rush him or the Pelicans. They aren’t going to contend for a ring this year, and probably not next year either. It’s a process. Every good team goes through it, just look at the Warriors for example. They drafted Steph in 2009 and now they are trying to defend a championship in 2015. Patience is the key to the game. Let your players develop and the wins will come.
After watching just two games last night, I feel like the season is in full swing and I honestly can’t wait to see how the season will play out. There are so many better teams this year and the competition will be better then it has been in a long time. We will see teams that we are accustomed to seeing lose, win, and possibly a new era of young stars have breakout years and give us a taste of the future of the NBA. Guys like Davis, Drummond, Beal, Wiggins, The “Greek Freak” – that is the future, and this season will be the best preview of it. I can’t wait for the rest of the games to start this week!
What did you think about last nights games? Any predictions for the season? We want to know! Comment below!
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