The NBA Opening Night Roundup: October 30, 2013

Please remember that all times are MANILA TIME, which is why the title reads October 30, 2013 and NOT October 29. This blog’s biggest market, after all, is right here in the Philippines, so there.

Now that THAT little details has been cast aside, it’s time to look at what happened on day one of the 2013-2014 NBA season, which will now be known as the Miami Heat’s historic three-peat effort. I, for one, won’t lie. I don’t want them to win (gulp gulp gulp down that haterade!).

But I think they will.

Especially if they play the way they did against the Bulls for most of their remaining 81-game schedule. I mean, seven Heat guys scored in double-digits, and they pretty much obliterated the #1 ranked (at least if you ask Bill Simmons) Chicago five from the second quarter onwards. They let Carlos Boozer drop 31 points on 13/18 FG shooting, which they will choose to live with any day, but limited the erstwhile super impressive Derrick Rose, who settled for a dozen markers on 4/12 FG shooting. He also coughed the ball up five times.

Derrick Rose returned to the NBA with a whimper, struggling
against the tenacious Miami Heat in Day 1 action.
(image by J Pat Carter/AP)
Looks like it will be another looong season, folks. The Evil Empire definitely looks to be the team-to-beat.

The Best:
  • How about Paul George dropping a really balanced line on the upstart Orlando Magic? The new King Pacer registered 24 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks, 3 triples, and 1 steal in 36 minutes. Man, if these numbers become consistent, then he could be a sleeper MVP candidate!
  • On a night that had three of the top five players in basketball (LBJ, D-Rose, and CP3), I am picking Xavier Henry as one of the cream of the crop. The 6’6 SG, and former Memphis Grizzly, dropped 22 markers off the bench to lead the Lakers’ second half assault against a much more hyped Clippers squad. He also hit 3 treys and added 6 ribbies to his total. He won’t do this every night, of course, but a strong game here and there can MAYBE keep the Lakers’ heads above water until (or if) Kobe comes back.

The Worst:
  •        See what was already written about D-Rose.
  •        How about Arron Afflalo launching 14 shots in 33 minutes and making just 3? Tanking? Maybe it was just an off-night, but…
  •        Riddle me this, Batman. Why does Jacques Vaughn take Andrew Nicholson out after Nicholson score 18 points in 12 minutes in the first half (he shot 8/9 from the field)? I guess our worst fears have been confeeermed – the Magic are TANKING the season! And this was just DAY ONE!!! #WTF #TankForWiggins

Final Score: Indiana 97, Orlando 87
Indianapolis, IN ( - Paul George scored 24 points, grabbed six rebounds and handed out five assists and the Indiana Pacers took over in the fourth quarter of a 97-87 victory over the Orlando Magic in the season opener for both clubs. The Pacers maintained the core of last season's squad that took the eventual-champion Miami Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference finals. Part of that nucleus, Roy Hibbert, finished with eight points, 16 rebounds and seven blocks before receiving a scare late in the game when he appeared to injure his left knee. He walked away under his own power after rolling around in pain and stayed on the bench for the final five- plus minutes with the outcome no longer in doubt. Lance Stephenson, starting in place of the injured Danny Granger, chipped in 19 points and David West added 13 for Indiana, which opened the fourth quarter on an 11-1 run to pull away. The Magic finished an NBA-worst 20-62 last season but stayed competitive Tuesday through three quarters. Their inexperienced but promising roster got a boost with the selection of Victor Oladipo as the No. 2 pick in the draft. The former Indiana Hoosiers All-American totaled 12 points in his debut. Andrew Nicholson scored 18 points in the first half but was held scoreless after the break for Orlando, which shot just 39 percent from the field.

Final Score: Miami 107, Chicago 95
Miami, FL ( - The Miami Heat took in once last chance to relish their 2012-13 championship season. Then it was back to business. The two-time defending NBA title-holders sent a clear message to one of the expected top challengers to their crown, using a torrid shooting display and a dominant second quarter to deal the Chicago Bulls a 107-95 loss in the season opener for both Eastern Conference contenders at American Airlines Arena. Seven Miami players finished with double-figure points in a balanced offensive effort, and the Heat outscored the Bulls by a 37-18 margin during the pivotal second quarter to put their opponent at a substantial deficit it could never quite overcome. Reigning league MVP LeBron James paced Miami's spread-the-wealth attack with 17 points to go along with eight assists and six rebounds, while Chris Bosh netted 16 points and Shane Battier went 4-for-4 from 3-point range to contribute 14 points off the bench. Despite a 31-point outburst from Carlos Boozer, the return of Derrick Rose still produced an undesired outcome for the Bulls. The star point guard, playing in his first meaningful game since tearing his left ACL during the 2012 Eastern Conference playoffs, went just 4- for-15 from the field and had five turnovers while accumulating 12 points. Luol Deng managed only four points in the loss while being saddled with foul trouble for much of the first half. Jimmy Butler scored 20 points for Chicago.

Miami unveiled its third NBA championship banner
to open the new season.
(image by Charles Trainor/Miami Herald)

Final Sore: Lakers 116, Clippers 103
Los Angeles, CA ( - The Lakers didn't have Kobe Bryant for their season opener, but their unheralded supporting cast came up big Tuesday to down the rival Clippers, 116-103, at Staples Center. Bryant, still rehabbing his Achilles injury, watched from the bench as Xavier Henry, Jordan Farmar, Jodie Meeks and Jordan Hill took over late to give the Lakers a surprising victory in the season's first battle for Los Angeles. Henry scored 22 points, Farmar added 16 and Meeks and Hill added 13 and 12, respectively, for the Lakers, who made 14 3-pointers and erupted for 41 points over the final 12 minutes. Pau Gasol chipped in 15 points and 13 rebounds in the resounding win. The Clippers' bench was a key component in last season's franchise-record 56- win campaign. They added several new names to the fold after falling in the first round of the playoffs, most notably J.J. Redick, who had 13 points in a losing effort. They also switched head coaches from Vinny Del Negro to Doc Rivers, and Rivers saw his bench get outscored 76-34 in his first game on LA's bench. Blake Griffin paced the Clippers with 19 points, DeAndre Jordan checked in with 17 points and 11 boards and Chris Paul scored 15 with 11 assists. Neither team led by more than eight points in the opening three quarters. That changed quickly in the fourth when the Lakers' reserves suddenly caught fire.

Wesley Johnson (11) and Xavier Henry (7) keyed a huge second
half run by the Lakers' bench that stifled the Clips.
(image by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)


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