The NBA season is back for another season and that means the return of LeBron James to his hometown team,
the Cleveland Cavaliers, is now official. The return of James to Cleveland was the main story line of the league’s opening week, however on Thursday night the final score of his first official game back was an unexpected one.
Despite all the pregame hype, drama, and overall buildup to welcome James back, the homecoming in Cleveland was surprisingly spoiled by the New York Knicks with a 95-90 victory. Cleveland did manage to bounce back the following night with an impressive road victory over Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls in overtime, 114-108. The east conference in the NBA is expected by many to come down to Cleveland and Chicago, however if the first three nights of NBA action this season is any indication, both teams will have hurdles to clear in order to meet those expectations.
The Bulls looked sharp on Wednesday night when they dismantled the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, however Rose sprained his ankle against Cleveland on Friday. It’s another injury concern for a banged-up Bulls team that’s worth keeping an on. Cleveland basically has an entire new team with the addition of James, Kevin Love, and a healthy mix of youth and experience to fill out the team. It’s going to come down to how quickly they can click together on the court, chemistry is a must for any team to succeed. James rebounded from a poor performance against the Knicks with a 36-point night versus the Bulls. Once all the excitement dies down, James and Cleveland should be able to get more comfortable as the season progresses.
I must not leave out the Knicks for the bounce-back performance against Cleveland after getting run out of their own building the night before by the Bulls. New head coach Derek Fisher clearly had the Knicks prepared for the hostile environment they were expecting in Cleveland. The Knicks progression this season will be one to keep an eye on, in the win against Cleveland they appeared to have uncovered a handful of role players who could prove worthy of paying attention to this season. Shane Larkin, Quincy Acy, and Jason Smith all contributed to stopping the Cavaliers. If the Knicks can get that type of production from it’s role players consistently it’ll do nothing but help their star player, Carmelo Anthony do what he needs to do when it’s the 4th quarter and the game’s on the line.
The Lakers are already 0-3 and one story line to keep an eye on is how bad will it get before we start hearing Kobe Bryant’s not happy? One thing’s for sure with them … it’s going to be a long season.
The Oklahoma City Thunder lost Russell Westbrook for what’s expected to be a significant amount of time due to a small fracture of the second metacarpal in his right hand. He suffered the injury in a Thursday night loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. The injury is another big-time blow to the Thunder, Kevin Durant is already on the injured list as well as Reggie Jackson. It’s going to be hard for Oklahoma City to keep up in the tough west, especially without their two stars. The flip side is that Westbrook and Durant are both expected back early enough for the Thunder to still be a factor come playoff time, however it remains to be seen how much ground would they have already lost by that point.
Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants for winning the World Series in 7 games over the Kansas City Royals. Madison Bumgarner was the story for the Giants, he was absolutely dominant and pitched himself into baseball history with one of the most memorable postseason performances of all-time. He’s only 25 years old, and that’s the scary part. The Giants won their third World Series in five years, it’s time to start giving Bruce Bochy his respect and more recognition as one of the best managers in the game.
Now that the World Series is over that means Alex Rodriguez is officially back in baseball. The New York Yankees officially have A-Rod back on the payroll now that his suspension for using performance enhancing drugs is now over. The Yankees will most likely temper any expectations they have of Rodriguez, he’ll be 40 years old and one year removed from the game, but he also has three years, $61 million left on his contract. This will get more interesting as the 2015 season gets closer, simply because it’s Alex Rodriguez.
Anthony Rushing is a contributing writer for Socialite Heights. He also writes for City Sports Report, OutsidePitchMLB, and EndZoneScore. You can follow Anthony on Twitter @AnthonyRushing_