It might only be the start of preseason, but just hearing the sounds and commentary of an NBA game is enough to get us back into the spirit of watching the most exciting professional sporting event.
The layoff was so long that we thought we would actually go an entire season without having basketball. It appeared that the league would go the route of the NHL by missing an entire season, but we were lucky enough that they would reach a deal at the last minute to preserve a season. There won't be 82 games, but we'll appreciate the fact that they're 66.
The Heat didn't appear to miss a beat in their first preseason game. Playing in their first game since the Game 6 Finals loss that gave the Dallas Mavericks the championship, the Heat won win 118-85 over an Orlando Magic team that had won its 22 previous preseason matchups. Much like last year when they would use the opening minutes of the second half to pull away, the Heat used a 29-15 third frame advantage to pull away.
Miami outscored the Magic 65-39 in the second half. I know it's only preseason, but this team is looking as scary as ever. LeBron James, who led the way with 19 points, was unbelievably consistent with his jump shot; Dwyane Wade appeared stronger and faster than ever; and Chris Bosh continued to hit his mid-range shots at an impressive rate.
Perhaps the best stat of the night would be Udonis Haslem with 11 points and nine rebounds. After missing every regular season from November 20th on last season, it was a pleasing sight to see Haslem posting up the same numbers that he was posting up before his injury.
With the first preseason game in the books and opening day creeping up closer and closer, we have 10 bold predictions for the Miami Heat in the 2011-12 campaign. This team is destined for greatness and their run towards redemption starts less than a week from now.