No matter who you are, as a team, you always want to start off on the right foot. With that in mind, try not to mirror your performance after the Lakers’ opening two nights. For some teams, this is easier than others. In the Atlantic Division, we have seen mixed results thus far. Boston fell to the champs on the road, but they weren’t necessarily supposed to dethrone the King in South Beach.
The Philadelphia 76ers did exactly what a team is supposed to do at home on opening night: take care of business. The Denver Nuggets came into town looking for a road victory in Andre Iguodala’s first game since parting ways with the Sixers over the summer. But Philadelphia, a city that predicates itself on toughness, was the stronger team in this matchup.
Spencer Hawes was phenomenal off the bench leading the team with 16 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocks. The Sixers managed to get five guys in double figures, whereas the Nuggets only had three. Both teams struggled from the field; however the Sixers continued to attack inside, giving them the advantage of converting on 12 more free throws than the Nuggets. Both teams have high expectations this year, but Doug Collins’ squad was more prepared on this night.
The 3rd opener within the Atlantic division took place in Indiana between the Pacers and the Toronto Raptors. Kyle Lowry, in his first game with Toronto, had a breakout performance scoring 21 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds, and 5 steals. Lowry showed he is certainly capable of running the show for the Raptors and may be the team’s most valuable player. The Raptors shot only 36% from the floor, but managed to stay ahead for the majority of the game as they took great care of the ball by committing only 10 turnovers (8 less than Indiana).
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Unfortunately for them, the Pacers fought back and closed the game on a 16-4 run culminating in a game winning shot from George Hill. Toronto played a good game, but they may find it will take great performances to beat the upper echelon teams around the league. Kyle Lowry will be the player to keep an eye on in Toronto as this young team will continue to develop and learn how to close out games on the road.
Due to the devastating circumstances of Hurricane Sandy, the scheduled intrastate matchup between the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets will be postponed to November 26th. The Knicks will now open their season at home against the reigning champions Miami Heat tonight on ESPN. Brooklyn is scheduled to play their first game this Saturday at home against the Toronto Raptors.