Nightly Grades: Heat sizzle, Bulls fizzle in Rose's return
Nightly grades covering the action in the NBA, featuring Derrick Rose's return, Indiana-Orlando and Clippers-Lakers on opening night.
Jumped out to a 12-point lead, then fell behind at the half, then came out blistering in the second half. Shot 57 percent in the 3rd and 4th, holding the Magic to 36 percent. Roy Hibbert was an absolute beast, with 8 points, 16 rebounds, and 7 blocks.
While the conversation was mostly about Danny Granger's return and then injury in preseason, but Lance Stephenson added 19 points and was is usual fire bug self. And Paul George looked like an even better player from last year. Back to business for Indiana.
You know, this wasn't that bad from a Magic standpoint. They came back from a big deficit, got some good performances from young players, and gave good effort. They're a young team, and those teams struggle with consistency. The second half falloff against a legitimate title contender and elite defense is to be expected.
They've got some goods stuff there and will be competitive all year long.
In the first quarter of the Bulls-Heat game, it was Chicago reestablishing themselves as the equal of Miami. The defense was suffocating and the Heat couldn't quite fine their rhythm for the first few minutes of the game. Everybody was reminded of just how impossible scoring against them can be. In the second quarter, the Heat reminded everybody why they were handed party favors from last season's NBA Finals.
The bench came into the game and broke it open with outside shooting, ball movement, and supporting the stars of the team just like they signed on to do. The Heat hit five 3-pointers in the quarter and held the Bulls to just six made shots overall. The bench scored 18 of the 37 points for Miami in the quarter with the Bulls scoring just 18 points total in the quarter. The Heat had no problem reminding them that they were champions because they weren't only a good defensive team but they were the best offensive team in the league last season.
Derrick Rose back, bad Bulls offense still the MO. Here's the Bulls outside of the restricted area tonight via NBA.com:
The Heat are an elite defense, but a title contender shouldn't get blown out by this. Final score doesn't reflect it after the Heat took their foot off the pedal, but there are serious problems with the bench unit's scoring, at least to begin the season.
Derrick Rose finished 4-of-15 for 12 points and four assists.
The Lakers didn't need their starters in the fourth and won by double digits. This is the polar opposite of the team that got beaten down by the Mavericks on opening night. Underdogs, hard working, fun to watch, no egos. There will be tougher days ahead, but for a night, the Swag Time Lakers ride high with no expectations, no doubts, and no fear.
You are supposed to be a championship contender. You are supposed to be the dominant team in LA. You are the team that added the high profile coach and the big name acquisitions in free agency.
And you just got housed by a team treading water till next summer without Kobe Bryant, and who didn't need their starters in the fourth. The defense was deplorable. DeAndre Jordan looked better for a while, but his rebounding let the Lakers hang and then completely take over offensively. The offense wasn't good enough, the defense was worse.
It's one game, no need to overreact, but this was an awful, horrible, no-good loss.
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