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Fran Blinebury

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Kevin Durant has become a superstar, while Greg Oden will soon be a restricted free agent.
Cameron Browne/NBAE/Getty Images

24-second thoughts after eye-opening first week


Posted Nov 2 2010 8:08AM

24 -- How does Portland's decision to make Greg Oden the first top draft pick since Kwame Brown not signed to a contract extension following his third season become more painful? Kevin Durant and the Thunder arrive at the Rose Garden to rub some noses in it Thursday night.

23 -- Durant, Joakim Noah and Al Horford are the only members of the class of 2007 signed to contract extensions, which says more about the looming uncertainty of the labor negotiations than the rest of the class.

22 -- Just the same as Jerry West's figure being easily recognizable as the official logo of the NBA, it would only take a silhouette of Maurice Lucas to scream "power forward." The great "Enforcer" of the 1977 champion Portland Trail Blazers died Sunday after a battle with bladder cancer at age 58. No greater sign of respect and friendship than to have a teammate named his son after you. Thus, Luke Walton.

21 -- LeBron James says he has no regrets, but in hindsight he might have handled The Decision "a little bit different." Welcome back to Planet Earth, King.

20 -- Is panic over yet after the opening night loss in Boston? Seems those three guys sharing the high-priced beach umbrella in Miami are going to be alright. Upcoming question is whether they'll prompt another toast from Chris Paul when they visit New Orleans this week.

19 -- Has everyone noticed that LeBron has taken a page out of the Michael Jordan handbook and is reacting to "respect the game rules" by covering his face with his jersey while holding "discussions" with the referees?

18 -- Never mind that they were mugged by the Heat on Sunday. The Nets are already more than a month ahead of last year's pace when they got win No. 2 on Dec. 8.

17 -- Was it the Pink Floyd scouting report that said he don't need no education? In second game of NBA career, those were anything but bricks from John Wall with 28 points, nine assists and five rebounds.

16 -- In the battle of All-Star point guards maybe with happy feet, Spurs get Tony Parker signed to a contract extension, but Chris Paul and the Hornets get the big win in San Antonio.

15 -- Likely no team in the league needed a fast start more than the Hornets after a summer of rumors and the volatile situation surrounding Paul hanging over their heads. Rookie coach Monty Williams has only the future of his superstar and maybe the franchise in New Orleans on his back.

14 -- So much for the Spurs being determined not to give away home games like last season. Manu Ginobili after losing to the Hornets: "We've been talking so long about not giving away games we should win. And, you know, we did it again."

13 -- Las Vegas oddsmakers have changed the over-under date for Rick Adelman's head to explode from Yao Ming's 24-minute time limit from Christmas to Thanksgiving.

12 -- Then again, there was a bomb-detecting dog sighted in the bowels of the Toyota Center on Saturday night and it could be that he was sniffing around the defense of Adelman's Rockets, who are giving up 117 points a game.

11 -- Remember when Erick Dampier called himself the "second-best center in the West," behind Shaquille O'Neal and ahead of Yao Ming? With Dampier's arrival in Houston, does that make Yao the second-best center in his own locker room?

10 -- Yes, they had to cool their heels for an entire year, but is there any doubt that Blake Griffin was worth the wait for the Clippers?

9 -- Memo to Gordon Hayward: Just be glad that you're not standing at the top of Black Diamond run at Snowbird with Deron Williams as your ski instructor.

8 -- In an attempt to always help out commissioner David Stern, who in the past week has suggested both contraction and a five-team European division: How about we just ship Charlotte, Memphis, Minnesota, New Orleans and the L.A. Clippers over there?

7 -- After an opening night fall that had him landing and keeping him out of the past three games, the Grizzlies' Zach Randolph is scheduled to have an MRI on his tailbone. Z-Bo: "I just hope there isn't a crack." Insert your own joke.

6 -- Maybe Steve Nash's early statement that Phoenix wasn't a playoff team was dead on. The Suns might be the only team in the league that could potentially put Andrea Bargnani in the middle of the lineup and not get any softer.

5 -- The Suns jacked up the price of their cheapest seats from $15 to $65 for "premium games" against the Lakers and Heat. Then they didn't sell out US Airways Center for Kobe & Co.

4 -- Does 46 points in the home opener against Houston and an injury to backcourt partner Stephen Curry mean that Monta Ellis is less likely to be peddled by the Warriors? Or even more?

3 -- So much for those criticisms the Hawks received for simply forking over the big bucks to Joe Johnson and then pretty much standing pat with their roster. With their next four games against Cleveland, Detroit, Minnesota and Phoenix, the so-called East powers could be chasing a 7-0 Atlanta team next week.

2 -- Unlike last season when they barely left the state of California for the first two months, the Lakers have 16 road games in their first 30. But by the time they get to the big Christmas Day showdown with the Heat at Staples Center, L.A. will have played just three games -- Phoenix (2) and Utah -- against teams that won a playoff series last year.

1 -- He's usually very committed to his opinions. But does Jeff Van Gundy want another shot at half of his Heat vs. Rockets pick for the NBA Finals?

Fran Blinebury has covered the NBA since 1977. 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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