Every night the NBA can be a cold hard reality — there are winners, there are losers. It’s the nature of the game. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to bring you the best and worst of the NBA each week night. Here’s what you missed while watching the Giants beat the way more fun Royals…
Chris Bosh, Miami Heat. On the first play of the first real game for the Heat without LeBron James, Miami looked confused and out of sync in their offensive set, so when they needed to be bailed out of the possession right before the 24 second clock expired they threw the ball to their new max-contract player — Bosh. Who drained a corner three. All night looked like a guy who is a legit No. 1 option, scoring 26 points on 50 percent shooting (3-of-4 from three) plus pulling down 18 rebounds. If you thought he forgot how to play in the post, you should have seen him school Marcin Gortat. The Heat caught a depleted Wizards roster, they needed to take advantage, and Bosh was the guy that made sure they did.
Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets. The man is earning those big checks… okay, he’s not getting the big checks from his new four-year, $48 million extension yet (next season) but come crunch time he played like a guy who earned it. The Hornets came out in the sweet teal uniforms on the sweet honeycomb court and shot poorly despite some good looks, which is why they were down 24 in the third quarter. Those misses including Walker, he shot 34.6 percent on the night. He took 26 shots to get his 26 points on the night, but when they needed him to force overtime…
And then when they need a game winner in OT… it’s all Walker again.
Milwaukee Bucks. Loser seems harsh here, you can say this is a learning experience for a young team, if you want. But the Bucks were up 24 points in the third quarter and lost this game. For more than a half they looked like the fun, athletic, young team that we all hope they can become, led by Brandon Knight with 22 points (on 29 percent shooting) and 13 assists. But when the Hornets started to hit their shots and crank up their defense the Bucks struggled — in the final 23 minutes of the game (from the midway point of the third quarter) the Bucks shot 39.4 percent and had 9 turnovers. Rough.
The Portland Trail Blazers. In Portland they believe this Trail Blazers team can take a step forward off the 54 wins and second round of the playoffs they reached last year. Most of the basketball world isn’t as sold. But one of the keys to winning big in the NBA is take advantage when you get team that’s shorthanded — like the Thunder right now. Portland opened the season with a quality 106-89 win. Russell Westbrook had 38 points but only 2 in the forth quarter for the Thunder. LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points, Wesley Matthews had 22 points and was 5-of-9 from three.
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers. For the second night in a row he’s put up pretty good if inefficient numbers — 31 points, on 11-of-25 shooting, he hit a couple of threes, had a few assists. Again he played as well as one should expect, and again the Lakers got crushed (119-99 to Phoenix). Why he gets on this side of the ledger is how frustrated he is just two games into the season. See for yourself.