The 2010-2011 NBA season is finally upon us. After what seemed like the longest summer in recent memory with "The Decision" and everything else that transpired, it's time to kick this thing off and see what's what.
There are three good games on the slate tonight. And yes, there is more than one game on tonight.
Let's start with the highly anticipated regular season debut of the revamped Miami Heat facing off against the reigning Eastern Conference Champion Boston Celtics.
Frankly, I'm tired of hearing about LeBron James and the Heat in general. It sickens me that ESPN has dedicated an entire section of their site to this team called the Heat Index. Oh well. The media is the media.
Heat vs. Celtics
I like the Celtics to win at home tonight. Dwyane Wade hasn't played with this team yet. Plus, Mike Miller's absence will be evident.
It will definitely be tough for the Celtics to contain the Big Three, but no one else on the team is a major threat. The Celtics look even better than last year with the additions of Shaquille and Jermaine O'Neal, as well as the return of Delonte West.
Word is, Shaq will be getting the start with Kendrick Perkins likely to be out until the All-Star break. Kevin Garnett and the crew are looking to stay healthy this year, something they struggled with last year at the tail end of the season.
Suns vs. Blazers
Aside from the two games on TNT tonight, we have Steve Nash and his crew against Brandon Roy and his medical staff.
I felt bad for the Blazers last year with all of the injuries they had to endure. They can be a legitimate contender in the West this year if they can stay healthy.
Suspect No. 1 is and has been Greg Oden. He's played 82 total games in three years. When healthy, he can contribute significantly to this team. They put up a fight in the playoffs last year against the team they are facing tonight.
The Suns' Western Conference playoff days are certainly behind them with the departure of Amare Stoudemire. They will need Nash to play out of his mind and beyond his age (again) as well as a career resurrection out of Hedo Turkoglu to compete again in the cluttered West.
I like the Blazers to win this one at home. Their size (assuming nobody gets hurt in the game) will be too much for the undersized run and gun Suns.
Rockets vs. Lakers
Opening night closes with the champion Lakers hosting the Houston Rockets.
The Lakers will get their rings (well, except for Ron Artest) and banner to start the night, then will take the court to begin their title defense against a Rockets squad that is getting back a healthy Yao Ming. I haven't seen Yao play in so long, I kind of forget his playing style. It will be fun to see him back on the hardwood once more.
I'm also interested in seeing how new pieces Matt Barnes, Steve Blake, Theo Ratliff and even Derrick Caracter fair in their first game as a Laker.
I'm also looking forward to seeing how Kobe Bryant plays on achy knees. He said he's only at about 60-70 percent to start the year. Tonight will be a hard fought, close game in which I think the Lakers win by one to three points.
The Rockets have a chance to make noise in the West as well with a healthy squad.
The season is finally upon us. I'm excited to get it going. I'm excited to hear more words of wisdom from Charles Barkley. He's such a nut-job. My Spurs don't play until tomorrow, so tonight's games will have to suffice for now.
Who do you think wins tonight? What are you excited for the most this season? And please, keep the Heat and Laker championship comments to a minimum please!
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