NBA Week One: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Alex ShultzCorrespondent INovember 2, 2009

CLEVELAND - OCTOBER 27:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts during the season opener against the Boston Celtics at Quicken Loans Arena on October 27, 2009 in Cleveland, Ohio.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Good

--The Celtics have absolutely obliterated their first four opponents by a margin of nearly 20 points. Kevin Garnett isn’t logging heavy minutes yet, so it will be interesting to see how his knees react to increased playing time as the season progresses.

--The Magic have looked very impressive thus far. Dwight Howard is playing like a beast inside, and Orlando is still stroking those three pointers.

--How about those Miami Heat? Jermaine O’Neal was supposed to be too old, and Michael Beasley was supposed to be dealing with off-the-court issues. It’s still too early to say a team has turned the corner, but it’s a nice start.

--Denver has knocked off two playoff-quality teams (Jazz and Trail Blazers), and looks ready to show last season was no fluke. Not sure why they gave a contract extension to Renaldo Balkman, though.

--Agent Zero looks like the superstar of old. Even without Antawn Jamison, the Wizards knocked off the Mavericks in Dallas thanks to strong performances from Arenas and Andray Blatche.

--Kevin Durant could definitely be a finalist for the scoring title this season. He seems to get to the basket at will, and as a result, Oklahoma City is playing great basketball.

--Atlanta has delivered with decisive wins over the Pacers and Wizards. They certainly have a deep bench, especially with Jamal Crawford on board. Their first true challenge comes this week against the Lakers.

The Bad

-- Portland has struggled early on, losing a divisional game at home to their rivals, the Denver Nuggets. Greg Oden isn’t playing like a former No. 1 pick.

--The Lakers let the lowly Clippers hang around in the season opener, then lost to the Mavericks by double-digits at home. Ouch. Anyone who thinks LA is destined for a 20-1 start is wrong, but it’s still not even close to panic time.

--Toronto beat the Cleveland LeBrons, and followed that up with losses to Memphis and Orlando. Losing to the Magic is one thing, but the Grizzlies? C’mon now. At least Chris Bosh is performing, with two straight thirty-point games.

--Detroit lost to OKC and Milwaukee in consecutive games. The Thunder might be solid, but Milwaukee will probably compete for worst record in basketball. Charlie Villanueva needs to live up to his contract.

The Ugly

--Golden State, New Jersey, and Sacramento have been as bad as most thought they would be. That still doesn’t excuse their defeated starts. I’d pick Golden State to win first among those three bottom dwellers.

--The Clippers are 0-4. What else is new? Clippers fans need a Blake Griffin countdown to raise morale.

--Which is worse, losing by 33, or only scoring 59 points? The Bobcats achieved both unwanted feats in their season opener against the C’s. I could understand a double-digit loss to a championship contender, but c’mon, 59 points is 22 less than Kobe Bryant scored in one game by himself.

--New York is 0-3, Al Harrington is already getting fined for complaining about the refs, Nate Robinson left a game in crutches, and the Knicks are giving up a whopping 120 points a game. Why would Lebron want to come here? Speaking of which...

--The Cavs appear back on track, but losing to Boston at home in the season opener isn’t encouraging. That should have been a statement game for coach Mike Brown and company. Cleveland followed that up with a defeat to the Raptors. Shaq has looked anything but dominant down low, and “King James” has gotten little help from his teammates.