Before we get to Tuesday night’s action, a quick note: This NBA recap column will (hopefully) be a recurring thing. It won’t run every day, and most certainly not weekends (I like having some semblance of a life), but I’m shooting for three days a week, or whenever I see fit. Also, it won’t address every game on any given night. But, seeing as how Tuesday night was the start of the 2014-15 NBA season, I figured now is as good a time as any to dive in — by doing all of three games, of course.
Dallas at San Antonio
Things that are undefeated: Father Time, gravity, wet spots on the floor, apparently Boris Diaw.
Whatever. At this point in his career, Dirk Nowitzki is pretty much immune to such embarrassments (even when they happen twice). He has his ring, he has his league MVP, he has his Finals MVP. Now, he’s just perfecting his Old Man Game and toying with defenders. Last season, he came as close to the 50-40-90 club you can get without actually making it. It would have been his second time doing so, except this time would have been even more impressive because he was 35 years old. Tuesday night, he recovered from his two spills and went classic Dirk on the Spurs, nailing clutch jumpers to give the Mavs a late 100-98 lead over the defending champions.
Speaking of old people and defending champions, it was Ring Night in San Antonio, and the allure of new bling didn’t seem to have much effect on the Spurs’ Big Three. They combined for 57 points, including a Tony Parker three-pointer to seal the win. Actually, Parker’s three only gave San Antonio a one-point lead — a lead they would keep thanks to the newest member of the Mavericks.
Former Houston Rocket/dreamy human Chandler Parsons began his career in blue with an emphatic early dunk, but proceeded to do approximately nothing the rest of the way, finishing with 5 points (on 2-10 shooting, 1-4 from three-point range, and zero free throw attempts) and 4 rebounds. Part of that nothing was launching a last-second three pointer, which, I suppose is what you’re paid $46 million to do. However, one could argue a player worth $46 million should also be aware of the wide open man — Monta Ellis — who happened to have a very good game (26 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 bewildered look).
Despite the combined age of Duncan, Parker, Ginobili and Dirk (approximately 8,000 in basketball years), the Mavs-Spurs rivalry hasn’t shown any signs of aging. The Mavs gave the Spurs everything they could handle in the playoffs last season, and we get three more of these bad boys before the two teams (hopefully) meet in the playoffs again.
Also, please more Pop Face.
Houston at Los Angeles
Two teams that most certainly won’t be facing each other in the playoffs are the Lakers and Rockets, which is a shame, because I want more Kobe vs. Dwight stare downs, and the regular season just doesn’t feel like enough (scratch that, these games are all going to be blowouts — three is enough). As for the opener, I’m going to go easy on the Lakers today because they suffered a devastating injury. I’d feel bad if I made fun of them, so all I’m going to say is that 1) Julius Randle, please have a safe and speedy recovery, 2) Lakers fans can expect a lot of this from the bench this season…
#wow I might have to leave China and come to LA. This is bad!!!
— mettaworldpeace.com (@MettaWorldPeace) October 29, 2014
Unfortunately, I don’t think they let you leave China.
Orlando at New Orleans (aka, Rebounds for Everyone!)
While most of America was tuned in to the TNT double-header, America’s Next NBA Superstar was laying waste to the Orlando Magic. For the League Pass crowd, this was just as enticing because it featured Anthony Davis. By the way, it’s free preview week for League Pass, and if you watch Anthony Davis every chance you get through November 4th, it increases your likelihood of purchasing the full shebang by 87%. It’s just too bad League Pass cuts out all the goofy local commercials, like this one that debuted tonight:
Whoever came up with this travesty deserves an anti-Clio. It’s a good thing the Pelicans have AD, or else this is what the team would only be associated with from here on out.
As for the game, woeful shooting performances on both sides — punctuated by atrocious free throw shooting by the Pelicans (48%) — led to rebounds galore for pretty much anyone who swatted their arms near the rim. Davis and new twin tower teammate Omer Asik both snagged 17 rebounds. Impressive numbers, no doubt, but Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic snared 23 (yes, twenty-three) of his own. Even Tyreke Evans had nine rebounds! He had nine-plus rebounds in only seven games last season. We’re one game in and he could have his season high already. This is a classic case of inflated stats, as the Magic aren’t very good, and the Pelicans aren’t exactly expected to set the world on fire either.
That being said, let’s talk about Anthony Davis…again.
Davis’ final stat line of 26 points, 17 rebounds, 9 blocks and 3 steals had been accomplished by one person in NBA history (at least since 1985): Hakeem Olajuwon. The Dream did it four times. Davis has now done it once, and he’s only 21 years old. If we remove the steals, Davis is the first player since Dwight Howard in 2008 to put up similar points, rebounds and blocks. Clearly, such a stat line would garner Player of the Game honors, right?
Look, I love Ryan Anderson, and it’s great to see him back and healthy after a physically and emotionally devastating last twelve months. So maybe there’s a sentimental component to this one. Also it’s not inconceivable that the Pelicans may seek to spread out the Player of the Game awards this season, knowing that AD is probably going to be the most deserving candidate in the overwhelming majority of their games. But seriously, what does he have to do to garner ultimately meaningless recognition? I mean, rarely do players garner their own single-game blocked shots highlight reels. That’s how dominant he was. Again, this came against a bad team, but that’s what a player of his caliber is supposed to do. He’s supposed to dominate lesser competition. Sure, he could shoot a little better, but when you toss nine blocks and three steals into the mix, we can all let a few misses slide.
Just no more terrible commercials, k?