Yeah, it was just one night and three games. I’m not making any declarations, but you can’t tell me we didn’t bear witness to some continuous storylines, last night. We had some “and the saga continues” stuff happening yesterday. Events that will likely shape the whole season. Don’t try and downplay it either, with all that “Fam, it’s too early for all this” nonsense. Don’t kill my vibe, alright? So without further adieu, here are the ten most obvious storylines from last night's games.
Rajon Rondo Doesn't Give A You-Know-What About the Heat: Frankly, that’s how it should be. DWade and Rondo are my two favorite players, so any signs that they might truly have a contentious situation is happy time for me. Of course that clothesline was intentional, we all know that. It wasn’t even that bad by hard foul standards. Wade didn’t go to the ground or anything and there was barely a reaction by their teammates. The thing I love about Rondo is that he plays angry and vindictive and doesn’t allow the natural camaraderie that develops between NBA players to cloud his judgment. He ain’t wearing no rose colored glasses. So the fact that the Heat knocked the Cs out of the playoffs for the last two seasons is not lost on him. He doesn’t want to lose to the Heat and that frustration/hatred/competiveness is gonna fuel this dude to have an MVP caliber season.
Paul Pierce Can't Guard LeBron, Anymore: Not that anyone can guard him, of course. Bron’ s been at the unguardable level for years now. He’s at the “only he can stop himself” level that all the true greats are at. But Pierce was one of the dudes who had the strength to keep him from dominating, to make him work for his shot, occasionally settle for a jumper and to make him work on the other end as well. Pierce can’t do that, anymore. Not for long stretches, anyway. Bron is too big, too capable. He’s not letting some dude from the ‘90s stand in his way.
KG In On Some KG-Ish: Garnett is a great person to interview. Ask any reporter or writer who has ever talked to him in a locker room or press conference and they will concur. His passion is unbridled, and his style has made him one of the more memorable players of this generation. But last night was dumb. So you’re still holding on to this hate for Ray Allen because he signed with Miami? Maybe there’s more to it than we know. Maybe the fissure between KG, Allen and Rondo is legit in ways we as outsiders can’t fathom. He seemed genuinely hurt, last night. Allen goes in for dap and Garnett barely acknowledges him. Really? Now you hit him with the incommunicado? Even Kobe and Shaq fake dapped during their beef-heyday. I predict this is gonna continue to escalate. At some point, KG is gonna try to put hands on Ray. This might get ugly.
I Ain’t Never Told No Lie: I don’t care what anyone says: the Cs still miss Kendrick Perkins. At the 7:06 mark in the 4th quarter, the Heat had already dropped 103 (!!) points. That’s not Celtics basketball – or at least it wasn’t when Perk was roaming the back line. This is gonna be an issue, watch.
I Don’t Know, Bruh...: Nothing regarding Boston’s new players can be taken seriously, yet. Guys like JET, Leandro Barboso and Courtney Lee will need time to acclimate to their new surroundings and playing with “stuck in their ways” guys like KG and Pierce. By mid-December, these new additions will start paying dividends and the Celtics will begin to dominate other squads. That being said, the C’s looked small out there. Their size is what made them a contender for the last half-decade, and this whole small ball thing that they’re going with seems ill-fitting.
Pick Your Poison: On the other hand, you can take everything Miami’s new players did seriously. Allen had a casual 19 and Rashard Lewis had 10 points on 4-5 shooting. That’s not going anywhere. These dudes have been raining on players for years. That’s not gonna stop and they are gonna have umpteen open looks every game. When teams finally relent and put a guy on the perimeter to guard them, Wade and Bron are gonna wreak havoc on the rim.
MVP Bidness: LeBron got a taste of that good-good last June and he played last night like he wanted more of it. All this legacy talk about him needing four or five more rings is crazy, to me. It’s all subjective, anyway. Kobe has five and people still put him under MJ. Shaq has four and dudes act like Larry Bird’s three hold more weight. People say what they want in order to make their narrative work in their favor. If James retired today, he’s already top 15 all-time. It’s not like he has anything else to prove. But last night he played as though he did. Heat fans are about to eat good. Really good.
Li-Nings, Same Thing: Dwyane Wade dropped 29 last night and looked fluid and lively while doing so. He may never get back to 2006 DWade, but he doesn’t need to. Last night’s version is good enough.
Princeton Offensive: I won’t get into dissecting the Lakers yet, if only because everyone else is probably gonna flip out and recalibrate based off of what happened last night. The Lakers are gonna be good, even if that level of goodness, happens in spite of Mike Brown. But Steve Nash only having four assists is troubling. I thought it was a typo, at first. OKC is no doubt looking at the Lakers like cooked food – as they should.
The Future Is Now: Kyrie Irving is about to bust through whatever upper echelon ceiling that separates the good players from the great ones. He’s on the precipice, fam. The Mayor is already a top 20 player. Get familiar.