So I earmarked last night for NBA's opening night and watched the Miami Heat start off fairly poorly with only 9 points in the first quarter and 30 in the half before turning it on to make it a game with the Celtics, largely due to LeBron's strong second half performance (he finished with 31 points). The game was fun to watch not only because the Heat struggled, something I don't foresee them doing for much longer, but because the Celtics were the ones doing the punishment. I'm not a Celtics fan at all, but it's my hope that these Eastern powers - Miami, Boston, Chicago, Orlando - beat up on each other throughout the season in hopes of securing home court advantage against the Lakers...only to each end up with 60-65 win seasons.
The crappiest part about watching the game was that I was starting to feel the early affects of a terrible stomach bug - going around Austin for the last few days from what I've heard - that had me back and forth between watching the NBA and the toilet. Not fun at all.
Another crappy part was watching LeBron's shitty new Nike commercial. I absolutely hate when these superstar athletes make a terrible life or business decision and instead of just coming out and saying "hey, The Decision was a bad decision," they get Nike (or some other sponsor) to spend a couple of million bucks to make some commercial addressing it. It not only shows immaturity, but it also shows a deep sense of entitlement...like we, as NBA fans, are the ones who forced LeBron onto that idiotic TV special.
The saving grace of the night was watching a touching Lakers championship ring presentation that went from over-the-top to extremely heartfelt in a matter of seconds as Phil Jackson, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Derek Fisher and Kobe spoke to the packed Staples Center that included Jack Nicholson, Denzel Washington, David Beckham, Jaden Smith and, yes, Justin Bieber.
The Lakers, like the Heat, started off very ruggishly and without a lot of tenacity, but Kobe (27 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds) and Gasol (29 points, 11 boards) seemed to realize how important the win was somewhere during the third quarter and ignited the team just enough to overcome a double-digit Rockets lead and allow Steve Blake, an important free agent pickup for the team, and Shannon Brown, resigned thankfully, to drop in a combined 26 points with seven three-pointers.
Despite the stomach bug, LeBron's childish new commercial and the Lakers' early lethargy, I went to bed feeling good about this NBA season and the Lakers' three-peat quest.
*Just added: Charles Barkley on the commercial."
“LeBron is trying too hard, Nike is trying too hard," Barkley said.
"LeBron should have just come out and said ‘I had a lot of great years in Cleveland and I wish I would have handled the Decision thing differently.' That’s the only criticism that he has gotten. No one is mad. First of all he was a free agent so he could have done anything that he wanted. I said 'punk' and I was wrong to say that and I apologized. But that was silly to sit there and torture us for an hour. And another thing, he shouldn’t have disrespected the Cavaliers, he should have told them in advance.”