Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Hoop & The Harm: Notes from the Hardcourt

Unsafe Working Conditions

Whether it’s a slippery floor or falling debris, it seems NBA fans don’t know just what to expect when they head their local stadium this season.

On Tuesday night a regular season game between the NY Knicks and the Orlando Magic was postponed because some crap from the attic above the ceiling was fall into the arena, which included some “asbestos related materials” according to an official statement made by the Knicks.

The problem happened during the transition from a NY Rangers game to getting Madison Square Garden reset for some hoops – and MSG “apologizes for any inconvenience.”

ESPN caught up with some people who had tickets to the game as they were being turned away by stadium staff. It’s quite funny actually, of their random sampling of people, they managed to pick out a guy from Belgium who was there to see his “hero” Dwight Howard, a chap from London who brought his girlfriend (who is from Sweden) and someone else who is from out of town and sounds German. Oh, they also talked to someone from the Bronx, for good measure.

It’s not the first time this season that “unsafe conditions” have ruined the experience for basketball fans – during the preseason a game between the Miami Heat and the Orlando Magic had to be cancelled because an “oil-based cleaning solution” was applied to the court by mistake, making it wet and slippery.

So that’s two incidents in less than two weeks…what’s next?

Heat Warming Up

There was a collective gasp across the basketball world when the Boston Celtics beat the Miami Heat and held them to just 80 points on opening night of the season…

Was it an early indication of a free agent experiment gone wrong? Could the three “friends” not play together after all? Or, was it maybe a case of just getting that first game out of the way?

The Heat are five games into the season now and it looks like the answer is the latter as Miami has cruised to a 4-1 record, beating their opponents by an average of about 18 points. As for sharing the ball, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are doing most of the scoring (22.4 ppg for Wade, 20.4 for James), LeBron is averaging 7.2 assists per game and Udonis Haslem is picking up most of the rebounds with 6.5 per game.

Wait, Udonis Haslem? Chris Bosh, who is finally getting to be on TV, is averaging 13 points, 5.5 boards and 1.5 assists.

If this trend continues, you probably won’t seen any individual awards being won by members of the Heat, but you’ll probably see more 129-97 type score lines, which is more important…if you believe that egos aren’t going to play into this experiment at any point in the season!

Agent Zero vs. Wall-E

It’s probably fair to say that the Gilbert Arenas era ended, or started to end, in Washington right about the time Agent Zero picked up a 50-game suspension for bringing his guns to work.

Arenas is back, but between fake injuries and real ones he’s had a tough start to the season, but I think it is now official that the Washington Wizards are no longer Gilbert’s team. There’s a new sheriff in town by the name of John Wall, and I think it’s safe to say that he did his part to win over the hometown fans in the Wizards’ home opener on Tuesday night.

Washington beat the Philadelphia 76ers 116-115 in overtime and it was wall-to-wall Wall at the Verizon Center as the rookie put up 29 points, 13 assists and a franchise record nine steals in 45 minutes of action. He also had eight turnovers and five fouls, but that’s probably just because he was so good he was playing for both teams for part of the game.

Oh, and did I mention that he did all of that on a sprained ankle?

Never mind what he did once the game started though, check out Wall doing “The Dougie” as he’s introduced to the Washington faithful:

Arenas is supposed to return to practice today, but he had better work on his dance moves and his jump shot if he wants to be a key part of this team!

Other stuff…

If they need him, and why wouldn’t they, Kobe Bryant says he’ll suit up for suit up for Team USA at the 2012 Olympics in London. has a section on its site called “Heat or 3Peat,” for all of your Miami/LA Laker needs this regular season.

The Big Shamrock is apparently the last active player from the 1992 NBA draft…

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