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WEEKEND WARRIORS
Posted by John Schuhmann on November 4, 2005 4:30 p.m. ET

RANDOM THOUGHTS HEADING INTO THE WEEKEND

Greetings, NBA fanatics. We just wanted to post a quick Click about the past three days before we head into the "L's" first weekend of action, which will be Shaqless, by the way.

(And no, we didn't steal this idea from SI.com's Marty Burns. You should know by now, sportswriters don't have original ideas.)
-- [SI.com]

Don't make us do it. Don't make us ... Oh! We told you so. The Central is stacked. Completely.
-- [NBA.com]

Look at the Central after three days. Undefeated, all of them. While it may be early to pat ourselves on the back (ah, it's never too early, who are we kidding), it's never too early to jump on the Central Division co-leading Bucks bandwagon! Hop aboard, Mike Kahn. And don't worry Chris Mannix, there's a seat for you!
-- [FOXSports.com, SI.com]

Notice also the Bucks and Pacers earned their 2-0 stripes on the road. Not too shabby.

Of course, all of our posturing could come crashing down this weekend, but we'll stick with our proclamation.

Another guy who sticks to his guns is ESPN analyst Tim Legler. Legs raved about LeBron James' 31-point opening night performance, which included a 6-for-7 performance from three-point range. Legler noted this about his prescience: "Preseason, he's my pick for MVP and after game one, I see no reason to change my mind."

It's all about the confidence, baby.

Speaking of confidence, I'll also say this with confidence: ESPN's Bill Simmons is in the top five when it comes to writing about the NBA.

No, really. Everyone's been giving Bill big, sloppy wet ones lately, especially book buyers (check No. 26), but he turns in consistently excellent NBA pieces year in and year out. We don't disagree on his Steve Nash stance last year

RARE AS HRUBY'S

Why did it take a guy who once primarily wrote about hockey to finally drive a stake through the heart of the NBA's myths.
-- [ESPN.com]

RARE AS HRUBY'S

AND THEY'RE OFF!
Posted by John Schuhmann on November 2, 2005 1:15 p.m. ET

THE SEASON IS UNDERWAY

Well, the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets are officially the best team in the NBA, the Sacramento Kings are the worst, Andrew Bogut is the Rookie of the Year and T.J. Ford is the MVP.

If you're reading this, you probably watched the TNT games last night, so here are a few observations from League Pass (by the way, you might want to check out this page, where you can win a League Pass subscription and a 42" Plasma TV)...

The Sixers really impressed me with how they came out against the Bucks. They were really sharing the ball, making the extra pass and racking up 12 dimes on their first 15 field goals. Things went downhill after that though. It seems like they became more dependent on Allen Iverson as the game went on, causing the other players to become less involved. Still, Sixers fans should be encouraged by the improved chemistry between Iverson and C-Webb.
-- [Courier Post, Philadelphia Daily News (Reg. Req'd)]

You have to give a lot of credit to the Bucks though, who hung in and got solid games from Bobby Simmons and Andrew Bogut, clutch-shooting from Michael Redd and an inspirational performance from T.J. Ford, who came one rebound short of a triple-double in his first regular season game since February 24, 2004, surprising even himself.

"Me? C'mon," Ford said incredulously. "Oh, my God. . . . Are you kidding me? OK, I gotta get on somebody. Are you serious? Man, you believe that?"
-- [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

The biggest surprise of the night had to be the Hornets. Honestly, they looked hideous in the first two and a half minutes, but they settled down and used a 30-12 run spanning the first and second quarters to take control of the game. Chris Paul made some mistakes, but he stayed in control for a nice start to his career. J.R. Smith looks like an improved, more complete player. He's still got the hops though.

It was a historic night in Oklahoma City, aided by a lackluster performance from the Kings, which may have been caused by their travel problems of the previous day. For now, we'll cut the Kings some slack and will refrain from this kind of talk.
-- [The Oklahoman, Sacramento Bee]

Even more action tonight. There's a quality double-header on ESPN of course, but I'm interested in a few League Pass games...

Larry Brown coaches his first game for the Knicks tonight in Boston. The rookies in New York got solid PT in the preseason, but will Brown give them much burn in the regular season? Both Channing Frye and David Lee will benefit from the absence of Mo Taylor. Frye could see decent time off the bench and Lee avoids starting the season on the inactive list.
-- [New York Post]

I'm also interested to see how the Celtics rookies play. To all the Boston fans out there, I have received your Rookie Rankings e-mails about Ryan Gomes and Orien Greene, and let me say that I like what I've seen from both. I actually thing Greene could be starting before long, but let's not let this become a Rookie Rankings column. The Celtics youth looked good in preseason and this should be a good test for both of these restructured teams.

I'll be down the street at the Meadowlands to see the Bucks try to keep it going against the Nets. Fun matchups all around: Ford/Kidd, Redd/Carter, Simmons/Jefferson and Bogut/Krstic. Most importantly for the Nets though, Jason Collins looks to be ready to go, which should help their defensive woes of the preseason.
-- [New York Post]

Elsewhere on League Pass, Ron Artest plays in his first regular season game since the brawl in Orlando, LeBron and the new look Cavs get started against the Hornets, the Soap Opera that is the Heat makes its debut and much more.
-- [Akron Beacon Journal, Miami Herald]

T.J. is back.
(Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images)
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
New Pistons coach Flip Saunders, on how he would respond if his players brought up the fact that they've won a championship and he hasn't:

"You haven't won one this year."
-- [Detroit Free Press]

2004-05 ARCHIVE
Oct. 27 -- The Central Is Stacked
Oct. 19 -- All Dressed Up
Oct. 14 -- LeBron Out Of Hospital
2004-05 -- Archive
2003-04 -- Archive