Every morning, we will give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.
1: Banner Day for Heat
Miami got its championship rings and raised its championship banner for opening night. The focus though after the rings were handed out was squarely on ring No. 2 (not three, not four…).
The Heat blitzed the Celtics and made the new-look Celtics look a bit more like their age. Miami opened an 18-point lead in the second half and relied on the usual fast-break dunks and crisp passing that made the team last year's champions. The Heat are a force to be reckoned with once again.
Boston? The Celtics are still figuring out their defense it would appear. Miami scored 31 points in each of the first three quarters and put up 27 in the final quarter. That is not the famous Celtics defense that has suffocated and stifled opponents for much of the last five years. Rediscovering that will be key for Boston to move forward.
This was a night where the Heat had everything clicking. The offense was flowing new additions like Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen fit in perfectly and the Heat looked every bit as ready to win another title.
2: Dwight's Lakers Debut
The Lakers got off to a rough start to their new era as Dwight Howard went 3 for 14 from the foul line in a 19-point, 10-rebound effort before fouling out against the Mavericks in a 99-91 loss.
Howard had the defense's full attention but could not convert at the foul line to give his team a chance to win. That may or may not fall on Howard's shoulders, but he left a lot of opportunities open at the foul line. And that has to be extremely frustrating.
For Howard though it was likely good to be back on the floor. He did not look like he was at one hundred percent and at full game speed.
But when that Lakers offense was humming along, it looked gorgeous. Pau Gasol worked well as one of the central cogs of what Reggie Miller termed the Lakers' read-option offense. He carefully picked apart the Mavericks defense early with smart drives and dishes to Howard and to other Lakers players. It was a gorgeous offense that will become even more dangerous when the rest of the team gets it down. It is still very much a work in progress in Los Angeles.
Miami Heat ring ceremony
LeBron clears the lane and jams
Dion Waiters' career takes off
4: Line of the Night: Anderson Varejao 9 points, 23 rebounds, 9 assists
Anderson Varejao is not much for scoring. He usually is known more for his flopping. But with the NBA cracking down on flopping and the wild gesticulations that Varejao has made famous, he turned his focus to rebounding. Oh boy. Varejao helped Cleveland offense get off to a stellar start giving Kyrie Irving plenty of opportunities to get the ball and score. Varejao grabbed an astounding 12 offensive rebounds and had 10 rebounds in the third quarter alone. The nine assists is the surprise part as he showed off his passing ability throughout the night.
5: You can quote me on that
A couple times I would see somebody running down the floor and I had to ask myself, which team was I guarding? I'm looking at both jerseys and my natural inclination is to guard the Miami jersey. My brain right now has to be switched over.
For me, it was just about challenging our second unit When I'm practicing, I'm normally just trying to beat the crap out of them. When I was on the sideline . . . I had a chance to have a little chit-chat with them and give them some words of encouragement, kind of get them riled up a little bit.