Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The NBA is Back!

The NBA is officially back tonight with three games on tap for the season openers.

Washington Wizards @ Cleveland Cavaliers
First, we go to Cleveland where the Wizards look to start the season off the right the way. There is a (huge) bump in the road, however, for the Wizards. Franchise point guard John Wall will be out of tonight’s contest due to a stress injury to his right knee; he will be out for 4 more weeks. Wizard’s big man NenĂ© also has a minor foot injury and will also miss tonight’s opener.

Washington will use A.J. Price and Jannero Pargo at the point for the opening month after cutting Shelvin Mack on Sunday. Price started six of the team's eight preseason games at the point, averaging 9.6 points.

On the Cavs side of things, new acquisition C.J. Miles, who averaged 11.9 points in the preseason after spending his first seven years in Utah, should see plenty of playing time, as he will start in tonight’s contest.

The Cavs, who ranked 29th in the NBA in field-goal percentage (42.2%) last season, are looking for a step forward from second-year big man Tristan Thompson. The No. 4 pick in 2011 averaged 8.2 points and 6.5 rebounds last season.
Starting lineups:
Point Guard
A.J. Price
Kyrie Irving
Shooting Guard
Bradley Beal
C.J. Miles
Small Forward
Trevor Ariza
Alonzo Gee
Power Forward
Trevor Booker
Tristan Thompson
Emeka Okafor
Anderson Varejao

Boston Celtics @ Miami Heat
The attention on this game goes to the Miami Heat. They will hold their championship ceremony tonight to kick off their title defense against the team that took them to seven games during last year’s Eastern Conference Finals.

It's also the first time the Celtics will face Ray Allen as an opponent since he left Boston over the summer and signed with Miami, a decision that his former coach and teammates were most unhappy about.  Miami kept its championship rotation intact, while adding Allen and Rashard Lewis to the mix.

Boston has vastly improved the bench to fill the void left by Allen leaving. They have added former Dallas Maverick Jason Terry and former Houston Rocket Courtney Lee, and will also be getting Jeff Green back after missing all of last season with heart surgery. Boston also drafted Jared Sullinger, a very talented player who dropped during the draft last season due to injury and no improvement from one college season to the other.

Allen knows it will be unusual to see the Heat get their rings, especially since five months ago; he was busy trying to thwart their title march. There appears to be no injuries on this front except for Avery Bradley who had off season surgery on both shoulders.
Starting lineups:
Point Guard
Rajon Rondo
Mario Chalmers
Shooting Guard
Courtney Lee
Dwyane Wade
Small Forward
Paul Pierce
LeBron James
Power Forward
Brandon Bass
Shane Battier
Kevin Garnett
Chris Bosh

Dallas Mavericks @ Los Angeles Lakers
Disappointing playoff outcomes led the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks to retool their rosters in hopes of again rising to the top of the Western Conference.

Each team, though, surrounded its long-standing, yet injured, superstar in different manners.

Kobe Bryant expects to play but Dirk Nowitzki won't as these new-look squads open their seasons Tuesday night in Los Angeles.

The Lakers were bounced in five games in the second round of last season's playoffs by Oklahoma City, the eventual West champion that swept Dallas out of the postseason the previous round.

Los Angeles had what was one of the most productive off seasons this side of The Decision trading for All-Stars Steve Nash and Dwight Howard as well as signing former 6th man of the year Antawn Jamison, and acquiring Jodie Meeks. That’s not to say Dallas didn’t have a good off season; they acquired the services of: Elton Brand, O.J. Mayo, Darren Collison, Dahntay Jones and Chris Kaman

Howard had a back injury, but appears to be back at 100%, playing a few preseason contests to make sure of that. Bryant was a question mark with a bruised and strained right foot until pronouncing himself ready to go after fully participating in Tuesday's shoot around.

On Dallas’ side, Chris Kaman will miss tonight’s contest and is day to day. Forward Brendan Wright is also listed as day to day, however it is unknown if he will participate in tonight’s game. Dirk Nowitzki will miss at least the first 10 games after arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

Starting lineups:
Point Guard
Darren Collison
Steve Nash
Shooting Guard
O.J. Mayo
Kobe Bryant
Small Forward
Shawn Marion
Metta World Peace
Power Forward
Elton Brand
Pau Gasol
Bernard James
Dwight Howard