Let's not blow smoke: tonight's NBA slate pretty much stinks. Most of the line-up should end with 20-point margins; a few others strike a certain tone of "who cares?" We need to trudge back to 2007 to find some pending drama, a good ol' reminder of the We Believe Warriors knocking out the juggernaut Mavericks.
You'd think Oakland's spirit had been broken by the losing. And the front-office drama. And the player-coach drama. And losing. But Warriors fans still show up in droves, and they haven't lost that which made them famous: they know basketball. By and large, Warriors fans cheer the right plays and boo when appropriate (like when Derek Fisher enters the game). The team may be down and out, but the Oracle crowd hasn't forgotten 2007.
From a talent standpoint, Dallas should destroy the Warriors. But that was the case in 2007, too. Even if the home court advantage (and the ghosts in Dirk's eyes) only evens the playing field we could be in for a treat. Fingers crossed, because ...Memphis at Boston, 7:30 PM ET
... Rajon Rondo will be back for the Celtics tonight. Without Rondo (or perhaps "with Stephon Marbury starting"), the Celtics were a threat to drop a game any given night. The Starbury experiment to date has served as an interesting lesson in relativity. Kevin Garnett is the key to Boston's attack -- no one questions this. Rondo is good, vital -- but clearly a lesser player than KG. Yet the Celtics do fine with Garnett on the shelf, and dropped two straight without Rajon. Why?
Because Leon Powe is fantastic, Glen Davis is servicable and Marbury is a walking disaster right now. If you replace Marbury with an average back-up point guard (say, Earl Watson) and replace Powe/Davis with average back-up bigs (say, Chuck Hayes), Boston would have a better shot with Rondo out and a worse shot with Garnett out. Perspective, men.Houston at Charlotte, 7 PM ET Chicago at Philadelphia, 7 PM ET
No game Friday night has such a wide range of realistic potential outcomes. The Bulls could win by 30 or lose by 40. (Actually, that seems to be the case most night for Chicago.)Orlando at Washington, 7 PM ET
Detroit at Toronto, 7 PM ET
Skeets is very excited about this one.
New York at Minnesota, 8PM ET
New Orleans at Milwaukee, 8:30PM ET
New Jersey at Portland, 10PM ET
Cleveland at Sacramento, 10PM ET
The Kings have returned to mid-90s form: I only get excited to attend games when MVPs come to town.