Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Noodle in a Haystack

With the NBA season just around the corner, it is time to take a peek at the schedule. As hard as it is to follow a league that doesn’t include Meadowlark Lemmon, I’ll give it my best.

November 2nd: Opening Night

No one cares who wins when the Pistons and Sixers tip it off. All the attention is squarely on the pregame fashions. Will Iverson and ‘Sheed obey the Stern dress code? You know that a policy is unpopular with the players when even Tim Duncan calls it retarded. Either that or he was really just looking forward to wearing ‘Sheed’s heavyweight title belt. My only real concern is that the dress code doesn’t water down the joy I get from the NBA Draft Fashion shows. Who could ever forget about the Rifleman in a pink and white tux?

December 25th: Lakers at Heat

While Kobe and Shaq apparently never got along well enough to give each other Christmas presents, the NBA has decided to match them up for a second consecutive yuletide tilt. As recently as 3 years ago, Kobe was on track to be the next Michael Jordan, but after a career detour more befitting Mike Tyson, followed by a messy fallout with Shack and Coach Phil Jackson, he finds himself at a crossroads in his career. While it’s unlikely that this one will turn Larry Johnson / Alonzo Mourning ugly, we can dream right? After all, there will be a Van Gundy present to do any needed ankle biting.

January 16th: NOK Hornets at Bobcats

It seems like only yesterday that the Hornets were in Charlotte. Two years and two cities later they return as the NOK Hornets. This perversion of an abbreviation combines NO & OK using their common O. In both cases the O stands for “Oh, we have a basketball team?” Do the Hornets miss Charlotte yet, or will that sink in next year when they play half their home games in San Juan, PR?

January 30th: Knicks at Hawks

After an off-season filled with questions about his heart, and I don’t mean that metaphorically, Eddie Curry faces the team that knows all too well how serious of a matter this is. Following his breakout campaign a year ago, Curry was part of an off-season trade to New York after he refused Chicago’s request for him to take a DNA test that could help determine the seriousness of his heart ailment. Curry may hope that ignorance is bliss, especially after skipping college, but something tells me that the questions will be just a little bit tougher to shrug off on this night. It will be awfully tough to ignore the absence of Jason Collier, a man who would have guarded Curry in the post had he not passed away from (according to preliminary findings) heart abnormality of his own.

February 4th: Trail Blazers at Nuggets

This game marks the beginning of a season-long seven game road trip for the JailBlazers. Fittingly they start their trip in Denver. The Blazers have a long and sordid history with the Nuggets, and I’m not talking about Alex English. In this post 9/11 era of tightened airport security, you have to wonder how the Blazers plan on getting their stash past the checkpoints, especially when they have to go through customs in Toronto midway through the stretch. Let’s just hope that they have refined their technique a bit since 2003, when Damon Stoudamire was foiled by airport metal detectors after he wrapped his weed in, I couldn’t make this stuff up, tinfoil.

February 23rd: Pacers at Pistons

This is a game that need no introduction The Brawl, which Creek still refers to as the greatest day of his life, will stay with these teams far longer than any of the players involved. For all the hype surrounding this one, I can’t help but wonder if the Motor City Bloodlust will have been quenched by the return of the NHL to hockeytown. One thing is for sure though, if Ron Artest gets hit by an octopus, it’s on!

That about wraps it up for my NBA season preview. I'll be back next week with more musings from the world of sport, as long as the check clears. What, you don't expect me to do this for free, do you? I've got Latrell Sprewell's family to feed.

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