Finals Review for the Start of the NBA Season

With your externship meetings with possible VISFs fast approaching, The Phoenix has prepared an updated cliff-notes version of the trending NBA storylines, for the times you need a break from studying organic chemistry or the art of rolling natural tea. Enjoy!

BIG (UNROTTEN) APPLE?

Knicks: with an under-control pass-first point guard managing their coterie of scorers, a silent and unmeddling James Dolan, an under control and suddenly disciplined JR smith and a motivated, conditioned Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks look tentatively, possibly, vaguely, tinntinabulatively….back. They’re not out of the woods yet: this is all happening without the Knicks 100 million dollar man Amar’e Stoudemire, and this is all still happening in December (The seasons ends in April). As many Swarthmore Students know, the first test isn’t a guarantee of anything. Time will tell if the Big Apple has finally dispelled 40 years of loser’s lurgy or if the Knicks impressive victories over the Heat (at home) and the Spurs (on the road), and their 7-0 start were just Sandy fever.

LOOKING AT A HOLLYWOOD ENDING

Clippers: Chris Paul has morphed the hitherto toy-boat Clippers into an fearsome armada of high flying big men, conducting on the floor and (many say) coaching on the bench in spite of the famously incompetent  Vinny Del Negro. Thus far, no visible signs of the Clipper curse are afflicting this high-flying group that is finally looking like a functional Lob City. That said, the reckless abandon with which star Power Forward Blake Griffin plays and the aforementioned Clipper Curse make this bandwagon, like that of the Knicks, a difficult one to jump on. That said…

PRAYING FOR A HOLLYWOOD ENDING

…The Lakers have been as consistent as….. well nothing to tell the truth. Between their chronicled coaching Drama, the extended absence of Steve Nash, the uncertain recovery of Dwight Howard, the knees of Pau Gasol, and the discontent of Kobe, the Lakers look antithetically unhealthy. There’s still tests( and possibly a Final) for the Lakers to look forward to, and a team that should only get healthier as the season goes on. It must get better if the wishes of so many Kobe fans are to be met: that Kobe and the Lakers take on Lebron James…

HOT(AND GENERALLY NOT) COLD

… And the Miami Heat.  With the exception of their retrograde fourth quarter(circa summer 2011) fumbles against league worst Washington, the Heat look like what they said they wanted to be in the summer of 2010. Opponents of the Heat must choose between Lebron and Chris Bosh inside and wide-open Ray Allen threes from outside. The latter however, is symptomatic of defensive difficulties the Heat never had before. Such difficulties might have explained the trouble the team with SI’s new Sportsman of The year had with the reserves of …

(STILL) THE BIG RELIABLE FUNDAMENTAL

…The San Antonio Spurs, who might have the best coach in the league. A beautifully engineered system, the Spurs have plugged nobodies into their system and taught them how to play with the best. Holding out their four best players, a team of Spurs reserves forced the Miami Heat to throw their best punches, when all evidence suggested that would be unnecessary. So far, the Spurs are playing to their script for the past two years: a sparkling regular season, marred by a postseason where sheer force of youth breaks their seemingly unsinkable system. The first such team to start this pattern? The (current) best of the west…

BEAR RUN

…The Memphis Grizzlies, who have solved their perimeter and wing logjams with the exit of OJ Mayo and the resolution of Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay into an intimidating forward duo. Supplemented by Randolph’s compatriot in the post (and Pau Gasol’s younger brother) Marc Gasol, the Grizzlies have morphed from a scrappy underdog to a possible overdog … and one half of a nightmare Final for David Stern.

MUGGLES OF THE NATIONS’ CAPITAL

With no John Wall, the Wizards normally look like squibs, in spite of their recent victory over the Death Eating( to Cleveland perhaps) Miami Heat. Things are looking up for the seemingly wandless Wizards, John Wall seems likely to come back. The same may not be said however…

A CITY OF BYNUM-LESS LOVE

…For the new acquisition of Philly, Andrew Bynum. After re-injuring his knee while bowling, the 76ers front office believes that Bynum may not return this season, making the city’s sports outlook as bleak as this weather is (somewhat frighteningly) not.

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