- First of all, we have to address the Hawks season opener. James Harden went absolutely ballistic in Philips Arena last night, scoring 45 points on just 19 field goal attempts (insanity) and leading the Rockets to a 109-102 win. Jeremy Lin added 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists in a supporting role, but the story is certainly the ease by which Harden did whatever he wanted offensively. On the Hawks end, I thought the results were fairly unsurprising. Josh Smith took repeated forced jump shots, finally culminating in what I thought was the biggest possession of the night. With 2:30 left and the Hawks down 3, both Lou Williams and Jeff Teague passed up open threes to swing the ball to Smith (who was admittedly open) for a three that had no chance from the time it left his hand. Houston scored on the other end, and the game was never in doubt again. Now that I've crapped on Josh, he did go for 18 and 10 despite just 9 of 21 shooting. Lou Williams led the Hawks in scoring with 22 off the bench, and I think he's the go-to-guy in late game spots offensively. Al Horford was neutralized by Omer Asik, who may be the best defensive center this side of Dwight Howard, but still played well in spots. Speaking of Asik, the Houston center is worth every penny of that deal from what I saw, as he grabbed 19 boards and absolutely locked the paint down for stretches. The Hawks rotation is going to be interesting to watch, and there's a full post coming from me on Soaring Down South about this. Stay tuned.
- David Ortiz is headed back to Boston. He and the Red Sox have reportedly agreed to terms, and I like this. Big Papi should retire as a Red Sox player, and this should take him to that point. Well played.
- In a weird MLB trade story, there was a Cubs/Angels swap of Carlos Marmol and Dan Haren reportedly "done" early on Friday, but by the end of the night, the deal was off. If it happens, I love it for Chicago, as Haren is a buy-low coming off of a rough season, and I've never believed in Marmol.
- NBA Round-Up - The Lakers are 0-3 and there is panic in the streets.... despite 40 points from Kobe Bryant, LA's defense couldn't hold up and they dropped a 10-point decision to the Clippers. It's way, way too early for panic, but it's the defensive end that's the issue, no matter what the mainstream media is painting for a picture. Orlando and Charlotte both won their season openers in nice fashion. A pure illustration of how little of an indication the opener can be on the season as whole. And finally, The Knicks absolutely blitzed Miami 104-84 in an emotional season opener following the Hurricane. NYK got 30 and 10 from Carmelo Anthony, but the biggest story was them shooting 19 for 36 from three-point distance, and that carried them to the blow-out win.
What to watch for on Saturday...
- For the full slate of college football action, check out my weekend football preview post (up Friday afternoon). In this space, I'll remind you about the top-5 matchup between LSU and Alabama live from Baton Rouge tonight. 8:00 pm. Must-see TV.
- NBA - League-Pass only on Saturday, but the free trial is still in effect! I'd recommend Nuggets @ Heat (7:30), Jazz @ Spurs (8:30), and Warriors @ Clippers (10:30). Plenty to go around!