The vastly improved and now relatively healthy Celtics are off to the start I anticipated, as are the Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets. Orlando, who I thought had no chance of repeating, especially in light of no more Hido, and with the addition of perennial loser Vince Carter, have added a few top subs, in particular Matt Barnes and Ryan Anderson, who make them stronger than I anticipated. Cleveland has re-tooled, but the horrible lack of chemistry continues, the idea of 90-year-old Shaq meshing there looks far-fetched, and the Delonte West situation will sooner or later blow up in the NBA’s face.
Last night in Houston confirmed a couple of things. First, the Rockets are a good team, even without Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady, and despite an inconsistent night, Trevor Ariza is a blossoming star who the Rockets can rely on (despite Fisher’s last-second steal), and whom the Lakers will sorely miss. Next, Even without Ariza, the Lakers are odds on to again reach the Finals, and should only be able to be taken by a healthy Celtic team, if by anybody. Finally, I stand by my position that ron artest is a disaster waiting to happen; that the team would be infinitely better, and better off, with Ariza, and that it is extremely unlikely that they will get through the entire season without artest having a melt-down, potentially costing the team dearly.
Andrew Bynum’s injury has come early this season. Hopefully Pao will be back within a weak, uh, week, and all will be well till that point that never happens until late in the season, when the Lakers are at full strength.