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BLING, BANG, BOOM
Posted by Rob Peterson on Nov. 3 2004 12:35 p.m. ET

PISTONS BELT THE ROCKETS IN OPENER

When you're the undisputed champ, I guess you can do such a thing.

Thanks to Rasheed Wallace's generosity, the Pistons wore championship belts during their championship ring ceremony before their Nov. 2 opener with the Houston Rockets in Auburn Hills.
-- Detroit Free Press

One writer described them "as enormous golden, wrestling championship-style belt(s)." Also, "Each belt buckle screams "World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion" on top and an individual nickname below," the Detroit Free Press reported.

While not as flamboyant as the capes the Hornets wore on their return to New Orleans, if the Pistons want to wear belts, that's cool. Someone else may have the right to do the same next year.
-- FOXSports.com

I only had one problem with the Pistons' belts. Isn't Detroit Joe Louis' adopted hometown? Shouldn't those be championship boxing belts? But I digress...

Anyway, the Pistons were in a good mood all night as they got their rings and then rang the Rockets' bell 87-79. Opening night was a beginning and an end of a season, said one Detroit writer.
-- Detroit Free Press

Another has already said one title is not enough. No pressure, though.
-- Detroit News

Then again, as we will be reminded often, the Pistons are a true team.
-- New York Times (Registration required)

AN ASIDE ...

The Lakers, led by an efficient Kobe Bryant, toppled the Nuggets in their season opener on Nov. 2. One L.A. writer said Bryant fired back at Shaquille O'Neal by letting his play do the talking.
-- L.A. Times (Registration required)

Meanwhile, Shaq may not be able to play at all. He is a game-time decision with a hamstring injury for his Heat debut in Jersey tonight (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).
-- South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Another L.A. writer said something's missing.
-- L.A. Times (Registration required)

(Something tells me this entry won't be the last on the Shaq-Kobe thing. One of these days, I'll do a whole Click and Roll: Figthin' Mad edition.)

AND, OF COURSE ...

After winning on Tuesday, the Pistons, the Mavericks, who topped the Kings and the Lakers are all on pace to win 82 games. You heard it hear first.

On the flip side, the Rockets, Kings and Nuggets are as depressed as Democrats.

TEAM GOALS

It's Basketball New Year, and with every new year comes new resolutions. The players have spoken.
-- NBA.com

What say the nation's writers? Here's a sampling.

Well, it's win now for the Timberwolves.
-- St. Paul Pioneer Press

The Nuggets think they can win 50. They're still 50 away.
-- Boulder Daily Camera, NBA.com

The Magic need to introduce themselves to each other before they can set goals.
-- Orlando Sentinel (Registration required)

The Pacers' quest for a title starts out with three players injured.
-- Indy Star

The Bucks will be held to a higher standard, so says this writer.
-- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Grizzlies will make the playoffs, say these guys.
-- Memphis Commerical Appeal (Registration required)

The Sixers will see some good times this season.
-- Philly Daily News (Registration required)

The Sonics are at a crossroads.
-- Seattle P-I

In Phoenix, Amare Stoudemire needs to have a huge season.
-- Arizona Republic

Cleveland and LeBron are now expected to make the playoffs.
-- Willoughby News-Herald

And in San Antonio, they believe another Larry O'Brien trophy is headed their way.
-- San Antonio Express-News (Registration required)

TIP-INS

What's an NBA season without a Jason Kidd item? The latest? The Timberwolves have shown interest in acquiring the injured point guard.
-- Minneapolis Star-Tribune (Registration required)

It's not a good time to be a Robinson in the NBA. First, former No. 1 overall pick in the 1994 Draft and one of the Bucks' Big Three in their run to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2001, Glenn Robinson isn't even the Sixers' starting three. He's on the injured list and he's also on the block.
-- Philly Inquirer (Registration required)

Then, in Chicago, the Bulls bought out the final two years of Eddie Robinson's contract.
And just remember, as Robinson's agent Paul Collier said, "Eddie Robinson is about one word: winning and losing."
-- Chicago Sun-Times

Much to his surprise, Bo Outlaw is out of a job. The article also includes Grizzlies coach Hubie Brown's explanation as to the injured list's true purpose.
-- Memphis Commercial Appeal (Registration required)

Congrats to Alonzo Mourning for his tenacious comeback, even if he isn't thrilled to be in Jersey.
-- New York Times (Registration required)

Congrats to Phoenix's Yuta Tabuse, the first Japanese-born player to make an NBA roster.

Go, go Speed Racer! It's Mike on a bike!
-- Superbikeplanet.com

AND FINALLY...

On Tuesday, nearly every paper had a season preview with predictions. Could I link to all of them? I'm saying this in my best Homer Simpson voice: "I could link to them. Kids, I tried my best, and I failed miserably. The lesson is, never try."

So, on the advice of this country's most beloved father, I'll take the easy way out. Here are NBA.com's East and West forecasts.

Getting his championship ring makes Richard Hamilton feel like dancing!
(Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images/NBAE)

QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Kenny Smith on the Heat:
"They're the third best team in the Eastern Conference. But that's like saying they're the third best looking girl in a beauty contest with four girls in it. That's not saying much."

You can read Kenny's and the rest of the TNT crew's 2004-05 predicitions here. Oh, and welcome David Aldridge.

2004-05 ARCHIVE
2003-04 -- Archive

FRONTCOURT
I would be remiss -- and possibly dismissed -- if I neglect to mention that it's Premiere Week. Let's take a look ahead:

Nov. 3: Heat at Nets
(8 p.m. ET, ESPN): Will Shaq play?
Nov. 3: Lakers at Jazz
(10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): New-look Jazz
Nov. 4: Cavs at Heat
(8 p.m. ET, TNT): See Nov. 3 Heat assessment
Nov. 4: Wolves at Nuggets
(10:30 p.m. ET, TNT): Fightin' for the Northwest title
Nov. 5: Rockets at Grizzlies
(8 p.m. ET, ESPN): See T-Mac in red
Nov. 5: Spurs at Lakers
(10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): Three nationally televised games for the Lakers in four days
Nov. 6: Kings at Rockets
(8:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV): The NBA China Games, except played in the U.S.
Nov. 7: Spurs at Sonics
(8 p.m. ET, NBA TV): We'd love to be at that game, because we love Seattle ... the city

BACKCOURT
Missed some news this summer? Get to know what happened with:
Player movement
Athens 2004
Realignment

And take a look at NBA.com's Season Preview.

WEEKLY KERR
This is more like monthly Kerr. Steve's been busy analyzin', predictin'. With that we present:
Analysis of the East:
Atlantic | Central | Southeast
Analysis of the West:
Southwest | Northwest | Pacific.

'ROUND THE GLOBE
The passion for basketball grows in South America. Read this Cleveland Plain-Dealer piece:

In the shadow of Pao de Acucar, one of the most famous mountains in South America, a newly refurbished gym sits with its doors flung open, welcoming the breeze from the nearby ocean.

You can read more here.