With the NBA back to ballin’ after a long lockout that few seemed to care about, who be ballin’ and setting the tone for this shortened season; and who ain’t?
The Oklahoma City Thunder (4-0) got off to the hottest start after All-Star Kevin Durant hit a three-point buzzer-beater in Game 4 of the season to bring Oklahomans to their feet and send the Dallas Mavericks (0-3) back to the state of Texas with their tails between their legs.
Durant, who finished the game with 30 points tying his LOW of the season, has averaged 31.3 PPG and trailed only LeBron James. You know, King James, the guy who left cold, no-nightlife Cleveland to strut the nude beaches in South Florida and become the most hated man in sports (until Tim Tebow and his Bible pumping mob recently took over that honor).
The Heat who added stout defender Shane Battier have started with a 3-0 run along with their East rival Atlanta Hawks (2-0) who won games against sparring partners New Jersey and Washington. While it’s clear what the Big Three in South Beach bring to the court, is Joe Johnson, the most overpaid guy in sports at $120 million, and his Hawks for real or not? We’ll find out when they take the court during week two of the season against the Heat and Bulls twice each.
Rounding out the teams with the hottest starts is the Portland Trailblazers (3-0) who added NBA Sixth Man Award winner Jamal Crawford (13.3 PPG)…you’re gonna regret not inking him Hawks.
So while the Thunder, Heat, Blazers and Hawks be ballin’ early into the season, who ain’t?
The biggest surprise is the Mavs who so far are nursing an extended NBA Championship hangover. But how long is that gonna last is the question being bantered in area taverns around Jerry’s town. With an owner like Mark Cuban who loved winning so much he couldn’t take a piss without his championship trophy, expect this team to get back on track well in time to make another run.
Joining the Mavs in the cellar are the 0-3 Boston Celtics who have seen little luck of the Irish. Backcourt tandem Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen are holding their own averaging 46.8 PPG between them but without Paul Pierce in the line-up, they’re yet to pull off a win, dropping the first three games to the Knicks, Heat and New Orleans.
The Lakers who started out flat with losses to the Bulls and Sacramento Kings got back on track with back-to-back wins over the Jazz and Knicks with Kobe Bryant (29.3 PPG) nailing team game-high scores for his team in all four games. Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace chipped in a combined 41.4 PPG to help even the team’s record to 2-2 and ease any ulcers courtside regular Jack Nicolson may be experiencing nowadays.
With the first week of this shortened season nearly in the books, keep an eye on CP3 and DH12 who are sure to make headlines that deal with on the court performances and not trade talks. And as always expect some of these teams to shift in the standings. Until then, that’s who be ballin’ and who ain’t.
Used with permission of the author.
Jay Donetelli is a Tampa-based freelance sportswriter and contributor to Sports Climax. With an opinion sharper than an Ovechkin skate blade with the sting of an Ali jab, Donetelli has a loyal cult of readers who have found a way to love him.
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