Welcome all! To the beginning of a new NBA season! It’s the time of year we’ve all been waiting for where beer will be flowing, games will be streaming, and all will be well in the world (except for… you know… everything…) I’ve got my last Preserved in Three Dimensions double IPA with simcoe and sabro hops from Hop Butcher for the World and a new jam from Illuminated Brew Works, Mugwump Brunch, a sour double dry hoped double IPA with orange juice, set aside for tonight’s games (Chicago beer for the win. Let me know what you’re drinking for tonight’s games.)
The plan is to watch both games, but the west coast can be a pain, and I have work in the morning and 10 hours of blissful beauty sleep doesn’t happen on its own accord.
Admittedly, the night is a little dampened due to both Zion and Paul George being out more than a month, but there is still plenty to be intrigued about with tonight’s matchups. How will the Raptors fair with Kawhi moving on to LA? Will Siakam fill some of that scoring? Can OG slide back in and make an impact after having his sophomore year cut short due to injury? For the Pelicans, Zion might be gone, but there is still the young Laker core of Lonzo, Ingram, Hart, alongside the vastly underrated Jrue Holiday, and newcomers JJ Reddick and Derrick Favors. And don’t forget the other rookies. Nickeil Alexander-Walker looks like he can make an immediate impact and both Jaxson Hayes and Zylan Cheatham might surprise some people.
While expectations and intrigue in LA are much higher, there’s not much to be said that hasn’t already been said before. See you back here tonight at 7pm Central.
18:10 - Hopping into the pregame now. Talking about the height measurement rule change. Feel like height gets overblown too much. But in other news Mugwump Brunch is a solid sour double ipa.
18:14 - D Wade on the TNT show now. As a Chicago guy, I feel like he’s a bit overrated. He was already banged up by the time LeBron showed up in Miami and LeBron is probably the only guy who could’ve gotten Wade to another ring.
18:15 - Don’t get me wrong, he was great and a hall of famer, but there’s been a bit too much hype around him.
18:27 - Do ring ceremonies really need to be televised though..?
18:45 - The board of director folks handing out rings like they’re best friends with the players. How many interactions do you think they actually have in a season together? Over/Under 2.
18:47 - Lowry trying to do the banner reveal as a team while Marc just out in his own world staring at the ring. If Zion were playing tonight he’d be dunking all over Marc as he daydreams about his new ring.
19:05 - And we’re off!
19:08 - JJ gets the start with Zion’s injuries. And C-Webb makes a good point; weird to see Vanvleet starting, makes Toronto so small. Be funny to compare this lineup versus Philadelphia’s.
19:11 - The Pelicans have four willing passers in the starting lineup, five if we are counting Zion, and then Ingram, who is quickly becoming a black hole. Don’t think he knows what a bad shot looks like. He’s knocking down now, but I’ll be keeping an eye on this.
19:15 - Lonzo could be a good pick for Most Improved this year. I don’t think he’s taken a shot yet, but he is such a great passer.
19:28 - Nick Nurse using a coaches challenge on an offensive foul against Powell. Won’t win it cause Powell just straight up elbowed Hart in the face on the drive.
19:31 - Pelicans with a true second unit out there. Not a single starter. Meanwhile Toronto has Gasol, Lowry, Siakam along with Ibaka and Powell. Seem to be holding their own though.
19:35 - Feel like there hasn’t been a made field goal for three minutes until that last second lay-in from Okafor.
19:42 - New Orleans has played twelve guys already. Still no starting in there. Still have the lead.
19:47 - This dude from Italy stroking threes for the Pels.
19:51 - Vanvleet with 15 already. Hasn’t missed a shot.
19:52 - Terence Davis, our of Ole Miss, making his NBA debut for the Raptors here in the second quarter.
20:04 - Davis looks like he can easily fill the McCaw role from Toronto this year. Probably provide more on both ends. Even after bricking that three pretty badly.
20:06 - Pelicans up two right now. But even when they had an eight point lead, it’s always felt like Toronto has control. The championship pedigree comes through in their pace, their patience, and communication. Pelicans feel very jerky on offense to where they aren’t really sure how the play is going to go.
20:07 - A beautiful reverse from Ingram down the baseline off a pass from Favors, which was made possible from Lonzo’s movement with the ball to get it to Favors at the free throw line.
20:09 - JJ firing from deeeeeeeeeeep early in the shot clock to play the clock.
20:09 - Lowry hit with the eight second violation! Giving Pels the ball with 16 seconds left already up five.
20:10 - Holiday loses the ball to end the half.
20:28 - Second half starts with a tough finish from Vanvleet. He continues to impress as a starter.
20:31 - Jrue seems to be struggling to find his footing with this Pelicans team. While he is the one returning starter, Lonzo and Ingram have the most chemistry, JJ can fit anywhere, and Favors is struggling too.
20:32 - Lonzo with a three followed by a banked three from Gasol!
20:38 - Siakam trying to knock down the little post-up fade like Kawhi but comes up short.
20:41 - Toronto takes the lead here with six minutes to go in the third. 76-77.
20:42 - Really liking what OG has been doing tonight. Would love to see him be more assertive and more of a focal point for the Raptors.
20:52 - NOLA with an unsuccessful challenge here in the third quarter.
20:54 - Nicolo Melli is 4/4 from three. A 28 year old rookie from Italy is killing it for NOLA. Love to see it.
20:55 - Vanvleet a little banged up falling out of bounds near the end of the third. Hope nothing is wrong because he’s been killing it tonight.
21:04 - Some interesting matchups out there with Jrue guarding Siakam.
21:11 - This game definitely looks like it’ll come down to wire, as Siakam knocks down his first three of the night to take the lead. Pelicans haven’t played great, but the Raptors, even occasionally with Kawhi, exert this “we don’t want to pull out ahead too far” feel to their game where players like Siakam maybe try too hard to assert themselves above their ability and others like Lowry can disappear a little bit.
21:15 - Lowry picks up the tech. Missed what happened though…
21:20 - Pelicans bench seems to have a little more chemistry than the starters. At least for now, the starters are just over matched and have to find wins elsewhere. And it’s working so far as Jackson dots a three to extend the lead to six.
21:30 - Pelicans played twelve guys, all within the first half. And that’s without Zion, and Jaxson Hayes never saw the floor either.
21:33 - Hart (who apparently is closing the game out) knocks down a three to five the Pels a lead.
21:34 - Eaigufouk play from the Raptors out of the timeout to give Vanvleet a wide open three to tie the game and give him his career high at 31.
21:34 - JJ right back to give the Pels a two point lead again!
21:35 - And now JJ draws the offensive on Siakam to foul him out! Siakam ends with a 34-18-5 line, which is outstanding.
21:37 - Lowry ties it up from the free throw line. 117-117 with 29.2 to go.
21:38 - Finished Preserved in Three Dimensions from Hop Butcher for the World. It’s so damn good. HBftW are wizards with sabro hops. Diving into their pale ale collab with Revolution, Base, now.
21:39 - I don’t get why Lonzo isn’t in your crunch time lineup. When the out of bounds play breaks down, you need someone who can create a shot for you. Raptors ball with 8.9 left still 117-117.
21:40 - Ingram defending Gasol.
21:41 - Weird setup for Toronto. Powell stagnant with the ball at the top of the three and chucks it from fifty. Overtime here we come.
21:44 - Lonzo is back in. At least they are listening to me.
21:49 - Still watching OT but the bottom crawl shows Lakers up 11-2.
21:50 - Vanvleet knocks down his fifth three of the night to open the lead to five for Toronto. He’s been killing it all night. So fun.
21:53 - Lowry with a theee to make it an eight point lead. That should wrap it up out in Toronto. Have to give credit to the Pelicans. Although a lot of people think Toronto is a lame duck without Kawhi, they are still a solid team in the middle of the pack in the East.
21:54 - And we are off to LA!!!
21:55 - Rondo and Kuzma our for LAL. PG out for LAC.
21:56 - AD is just so damn good with the baby hook over guys. You gotta be seven foot tall to stop that.
21:59 - Had no idea Ty Lou is on the Clippers coachin staff now.
22:11 - Dwight Howard swatting the shit out of a Lou Williams drive but his entire body falls on Lou, sending him to the line.
22:12 - Chicago’s own Patrick Beverley drawing the charge on AD. You love to see it.
22:15 - Once LeBron left the floor, the gap closed slightly. Then AD left with two fouls, and it closes even more. Depth is going to be a struggle for the Lakers in the regular season. It’ll be interesting to see how that depth effects them in the playoffs.
22:20 - Leonard is just so damn good. He doesn’t have a domineering presence like LeBron, but he doesn’t force others to change how they play either. He just makes shots and kicks down on D. I really wish we could rewind to the Zaza ankle break and see what would’ve happened.
22:21 - Harkless making an immediate impact with a steal and dunk.
22:36 - Clippers are just so much better than the Lakers. Period. End of story.
22:37 - Beverly facing AD for a jump ball telling someone “I got this” and waving them away like it’s no big deal. Safe to say he did not win that one.
22:40 - Lakers down five but the next four minutes to close out the half will be important. AD at the five, LeBron at the four, alongside Green, KCP, and Cook. That 4/5 pairing is going to be crunch time and they need to find the players who will work around them down the stretch when the game is on the line.
22:43 - Kawhi Kawhi Kawhi.
22:46 - Kawhi. He has a killer instinct. He gets buckets, he locks down, he closes out important games. He might not be a playmaker, but he can make the right pass to get the W. Reminiscent of a great, more so than anyone else playing this year.
22:49 - That’s all for me tonight folks. Screw your west coast.
09:35 - Throwing the score in here for my own records. No surprise though. I counted LeBron out before last season even began and his performance last night only strengthens my position. Kawhi is king.