NBA Teams Are Full Of Surprises
It happened in the NFL this season and now it’s happening in the NBA. The teams expected to dominate aren’t doing that. and others are doing surprisingly well.
When the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs played for first place the game hadn’t been chosen for national television.
In the NBA the Miami Heat were pre-season favorites but lost four of their first nine games. The Lakers got off to an 8-0 start but lost their next two to Denver and Phoenix.
I don’t know anyone who expected New Orleans to be the NBA’s only undefeated team but the Hornets were are 8-0 before losing.
The lesson here is that time is required to see how new players fit into a team, most notably LeBron James in Miami.
After Miami lost to Boston for a second time James complained about playing 44 minutes, saying it was too much.
This is not a good way for a new player to talk as he adjusts to a new coach, in this case Eric Spoelstra.
Perhaps James and his new teammates merely need time to flourish. Or perhaps the Heat won’t make it to the NBA Finals. The Celtics, who were there last season, quietly added centers Jermaine O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal while the Heat’s acquisition of James and Chris Bosh commanded all the attention.
In the two Boston-Miami meetings the Celtics’ superior size has been a major factor. They tower over the Heat and Bosh, a very good player, looks like a small forward when matched against the Celtics’ centers.
And, of course, injuries will always be a factor in who wins. The Lakers aren’t the same without Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom. Bynum hasn’t played yet because of a knee injury and Odom is bothered by a foot injury. He was kept out of the fourth quarter of Friday’s loss in Denver and was called for a key technical foul loss Sunday against Phoenix in Staples Center.
Now 37-year-old Theo Ratliff has suffered a knee injury that will keep him out for at least a month. The Lakers were happy to sign a backup center with 15 years of NBA experience, But the downside is that he has a lot of miles.
A reminder here. It’s a long season and trends forming in November don’t always last.
I annually remember it’s a marathon instead of a sprint So let’s see what the upcoming months bring.
Steven Lieberman contributed to this report