Opening night in the NBA just arrived and there are already several headlines in the start of the 2008-2009 season. There were the big NBA debuts of Greg Oden and Derrick Rose, the Cavs debut of Mo Williams, and there were some great matchups. Here are the recaps of each game.
Cleveland Cavliers at Boston Celtics: Celtics Win 90 - 85
The Celtics got juiced up shortly before the game as they received their rings after winning the championship last season. Paul Pierce, the reigning Finals MVP, got very emotional during the ceremony as he finally earned his Celtic stripes and got his ring. The Cavs led early on, but eventually the Celtics got into a rhythm offensively and eventually were too much for Lebron and the Cavs as they won 90 - 85.
The game was changed in the third quarter as the Celtics turned a seven point halftime deficit into a four point lead going into the fourth quarter as the turned up their defensive intensity holding the Cavliers to a mere 13 points. Paul Pierce had a fantastic game as he scored 27 points on 10 - 19 shooting from the field. However, KG and Ray Allen both had off games as they only combined for 19 points on 7 - 24 shooting. On the other hand, Lebron had a solid game as he scored 22 points, 7 rebounds and had 6 assists.
Overall, the Celtics showed why they are the defending champions and why it will be difficult to eliminate them come playoff time as they continued their great defensive intensity and more improvement from their supporting players. The Cavs showed they will be the team in the East that will give the Celtics the most problems as they have Lebron James and now a good sidekick in Mo Williams, who had 12 points tonight.
Milwaukee Bucks at Chicago Bulls: Bulls win 108 - 95
This was the far less publicized of the three games as both teams last season weren't in the playoffs. Derrick Rose made his NBA debut and had a solid, but erratic performance. He scored 11 points, had 9 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals. However, he also shot only 3-9 from the field and had 4 turnovers along with 2 blocked shots against him.
For the Bucks, longtime Net Richard Jefferson made his Bucks debut. He had a poor game as he scored 15 points on 5 - 17 shooting. Redd led the game in scoring with 30 points. For the Bulls, the surprise player was Tyrus Thomas, who had 15 points , 10 rebounds and 3 assists on 5 - 10 shooting. The Bulls showed good potential as they will be fighting to make the playoffs, while the Bucks will be a longshot to make the playoffs as it will take new coach Scott Skiles time to get them to play good defense.
Portland Trailblazers at Los Angeles Lakers: Lakers win 96 - 76
This was supposed to be a great matchup between two good young big men in Greg Oden and Andrew Bynum. It wasn't close to that. Oden was scoreless in 13 minutes as he was 0 - 4 from the field and 0 - 2 from the free throw line. He got injured in the very beginning of the game and will have an MRI on his foot tomorrow. Bynum, on the other hand, had an off game in his first game that mattered since January. He scored 8 points on 4 - 10 shooting and grabbed only 3 rebounds. However, he was solid defensively as he blocked three shots.
The main story was the great team defense of the Lakers and the bad Portland offense. The Lakers defense held the Trailblazers to only 34.5% shooting from the field and a mere 76 points. Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge, the best players on the Blazers, both had bad games as they shot a combined 9 - 27 and scored a total of only 22 points. Kobe Bryant, the reigning MVP, led the game in scoring with 23 points. He also had a game high 11 rebounds and dished out five assists.
Performer of the Night: Paul Pierce
Pierce was the only Celtic who was playing well offensively in the first quarter as he kept the Celtics close in the first quarter. He helped keep the Celtics within striking distance and eventually the rest of the team started playing better offensively, which resulted in a good grinding out win over an Eastern Conference rival.
He scored 27 points, had 4 assists and grabbed 3 rebounds. He also shot well from the field (10 - 19) and from the 3 point line (2 - 4). He also played well defensively as he and other perimeter players on the Celtics restricted Lebron from taking over as he scored only 22 points.