LeBron James got his first NBA Championship ring before the Heat began their title defense with a win over the Celtics, while Dwight Howard bricked his way through his first game in L.A. as the Lakers get stunned by a Dirk Nowitzki-less Dallas Mavericks team.
In Miami, the Heat took care of business following a ceremony before the game that honored the champs with their new hardware. LeBron had 26 points and 10 rebounds while Dwyane Wade scored 29 as the Heat picked up right where they left off. Ray Allen contributed just what Miami hoped he would, getting 19 points on 5-7 shooting including two 3-pointers and he hit seven of eight from the free throw line.
In Los Angeles, the Lakers had some trouble shooting the ball, particularly Metta World Peace going 1-8 from the field and Dwight Howard going 3-14 from the free throw line in an eight point loss. The Lakers were a miserable 12-31 from the charity stripe and that is just inexcusable and is basically why they lost.
Outside of that, L.A. played the game they wanted and had to be mostly happy. Kobe Bryant was 11-14 from the floor in just under 35 minutes, ending up with 22 points. Howard finished his Laker debut with 19 points and 10 boards, but the focus is on how awful he was from the line. Dallas looked sharp, efficient and more athletic than the Lakers.
Steve Nash finished with just seven points and four assists, and hit only three of his nine shots. He needs to be more involved, and that will come with time. With 81 games left, including a road game tonight in Portland, it’s hardly panic time for the Lakers, though I’m sure plenty of fans will be freaking out.
Also last night, the Cavs beat the Wizards by ten.
There are nine games around the league tonight, including new look Houston with their back court of Jeremy Lin and newly acquired James Harden visiting Detroit.