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LeBron James
He'll be pretty good, we predict. But beyond that, things get a little fuzzy.
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Going out on a shaky limb to start an unpredictable season

Posted Oct 26 2010 4:24PM

What fun is there in just letting the NBA season play out? This is, after all, the most scrutinized campaign since prohibition, one already analyzed more than an episode of Mad Men.

The Lakers are going to three-peat. No, a dynasty is born on South Beach. LeBron three-peats as MVP. No, Kobe wins it back. Hey, don't forget about Kevin Durant.

Is this the year 72 wins falls? How about James pulling an Oscar an averaging a triple-double?

Every blowhard and his/her avatar has made predictions. The good folks over at -- yeah, that's us -- put ours in virtual print for all to read, admire and ridicule.

These aren't as standard ...

Opening Night: LeBron brings his talents from South Beach up and over KG for a monster slam with a pink donut in his mouth. Miami wins opener, 103-96. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, seated courtside, predicts a perfect season for the Heat. Shaq retirement countdown is down to 699 days.

And the Rockets, behind Yao Ming, mount a furious fourth-quarter comeback to close the Lakers' lead to three points with three minutes left. Yao, at his 24-minute limit, checks out. Champs win by 11.

Wednesday: With the game at Philadelphia not on national TV, Heat president Pat Riley and his three Super Friends spend the first half in Atlantic City taking part in a Boardwalk Empire tour. Jrue Holiday scores 17 and dishes out 12 assists, and Jerry Stackhouse's 3-pointer from the corner rattles out at the buzzer as the Sixers upset Miami 97-94. Heat now on pace to finish 41-41. ESPN Playoff Predictor sets postseason odds for Miami at 93.8 percent. It is the Eastern Conference, after all.

Nov. 4: A league-record 13 people are ejected and 31 technicals called in Knicks-Bulls game in Chicago for not respecting the game enough. Both starting lineups are tossed. Carlos Boozer also sent packing, as is Magic assistant coach Patrick Ewing.

Nov. 13: Defensive improvement under new Golden State coach Keith Smart taking hold, as the Warriors hold Brandon Jennings to 45 in a 111-89 loss at Milwaukee. Don Nelson sips a Mai Tai in Maui, watching his old clubs on a pirated League Pass hookup.

Nov. 27: Facing LeBron in a specially made Cowboys jersey, Dirk Nowitzki scores 33 and Heat-ex Caron Butler cashes in on a rebound putback at the horn to lift the Mavericks to a 98-97 victory at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. Miami is now 14-3, so there goes 80 wins. A record 108,714 attend, besting the February All-Star Game by one fan. That fan? Tony Romo.

Dec. 2: LeBron successfully lobbies the NBA office to move his first game in Cleveland since "The Decision" to "The Akron." The King tallies a triple-double (17-11-13) in 16 minutes as Miami wins 102-85 before a sellout crowd at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School.

Dec. 8: Sitting at 4-17 after a home loss to 7-16 Detroit, Chris Paul reiterates how much he loves New Orleans. "I love how this city has embraced me," CP3 says, "but I can do without the Hornets. Did I just say that out loud?"

Dec. 25: Ron Artest auctions his championship ring at halftime of Lakers-Heat. Mark Cuban is sure he has the winning bid, but in a repeat of his summer run at the Texas Rangers, the Mavericks billionaire owner is beat out at the last second. The auction winner? Charles Barkley. The Chuckster finally has a ring.

Jan. 14: After two days of intense CBA negotiations, NBA commissioner David Stern and Players Association executive director Billy Hunter agree to appear on an ABC special, Dancing with the Financials. In a related note, Stern agrees to contraction. Starting in 2011-12, no more kiss-cams. Staples Center regular Dustin Hoffman weeps.

Jan. 17: Dwight Howard complains about the Magic's lack of exposure as Orlando makes its third appearance on national TV in 10 days. Speaking of exposure, a rarely collared Stan Van Gundy accidently leaves the top three buttons of his shirt undone. Burt Reynolds is proud.

Feb. 20: The All-Star Game returns to Los Angeles for the fifth time. George Lopez is slated to be the emcee, but he's bumped at the last second by Conan. Cast of Glee performs the National Anthem and the halftime show before being officially retired from show business by Simon Cowell. As for the game itself, Kobe Bryant scores 41 and plays the part of Grant Hill to Pau Gasol's Christian Laettner to give the West a 143-142 win. Lady Gaga yawns.

Feb. 23: After sweeping the nine games of their annual Rodeo Road Trip, the Spurs extend their winning streak to 10 with a 10-point win over Oklahoma City back home at the AT&T Center. Lady Gaga and the rest of North America yawns.

Feb. 24: After months of back-and-forth wheeling and dealing, Carmelo Anthony is traded ... to Turkey for Allen Iverson. Turkish team Besiktas, under no threat of a lockout next season, offers 'Melo a three-year extension for $65,000,001. He quickly signs, noting that all he wanted out of Denver was that extra buck.

Feb. 27: Iverson leaves the Nuggets for undisclosed personal reasons.

Feb. 28: Stephen A. Smith reports that Iverson has retired.

March 12: Rookie of the Year showdown between the last two No. 1 picks. Washington's John Wall scores 21 and hands out 14 assists to go along with five steals. The Clippers' Blake Griffin answers with 26 points, 11 boards and three blocks. Wiz win, 108-103. Third-year rookie Greg Oden has eight points and six boards the same night in Atlanta.

March 25: Steve Nash does something really cool for charity. He expounds on the cause both elegantly and with conviction. He's wearing a scarf. It's 97 degrees in Phoenix.

April 3: Derrick Favors reaches double-figures for the first time in a month, racking up a career-high 31 points in a 93-89 win over Miami. Heat fall to 64-13, ending their quest for at least 70 wins. Florida governor Charlie Crist orders flags to be flown at half-mast across the state, except in Orlando.

April 10: Kevin Durant lights up the Lakers for 44 on his way to a second straight scoring title as the Thunder wrap up the Northwest Division title. Kobe played only 22 minutes for the champs, who clinched the West's top seed a week earlier. Michael Jordan, on NBA TV later that night, says Durant is a Top 10 forward in the league right now. Kobe and KD agree.

April 13: Iverson unretires and signs a ceremonial one-day contract with Sixers. Retires after tearful press conference, according to Stephen A. Smith.

Art Garcia has covered the NBA since 1999. You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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