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Let the games commence

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Citizen Journalists

Written on Saturday, 10 December 2011 00:31

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(Cameron Larkin is a freelance journalist and BPL contributor.)

Thankfully, the NBA is about to get on with what it does best. Playing ball.

Personally, I was getting sick and tired of the big names ‘allowing' their agents to seek â€˜opportunities' in overseas  leagues. Opportunities which were never going to eventuate I must add.

We can now look forward to a 48-game season commencing on Christmas Day with a triple-header getting the party started: Boston versus New York, followed by last season's NBA finals rematch - Dallas v Miami - before the league's MVP, Derrick Rose, and his Bulls take on Kobe Bryant's Lakers.

Although what stands before us is a shortened season, many questions yet to be answered make it extremely enticing.

Let me start with Dallas. The Mavericks are the reigning champions after taking out the 2011 finals series 4-2 against the star-studded Miami. Can they go back-to-back or are they a one hit wonder?

That leads me to the Heat. What did LeBron, Wade and Bosh discover from last year's finals performances? Miami went into the '11 finals series as heavy favourites but left only with criticism and question marks hanging over their heads. For the big three it is time to step up and step up big.

Miami needs to forget about winning four, five or even six rings. They must focus everything on one. One ring. If 'King' James is to be considered in the same breath as MJ, then he can't go missing when it counts in the upcoming season.

The old guys on the block are surely the Celtics and Lakers. For both teams it means another year and both teams are not getting any younger. Will the lockout play out as a positive for them?

The Lakers now have Mike Brown at the helm. The shortened season may impact the success of his game plan and style of play being effectively implemented, although the possible (and controversial) recruiting of Chris Paul can only help.

Chicago has the league's MVP in Rose. If the team is to be a real contender, then the Bulls staff and owners must surround Rose with championship talent. If they don't, then the best they will do is potentially winning the jersey-selling title and miss out on that cherished ring.

In the Northwest Division of the Western Conference, the Oklahoma City Thunder has two paths in front of them. Will they be the NBA's next San Antonio or Sacramento? The former tasted success; the latter didn't. The Thunder are young and highly promising with Durant and Westbrook leading the way, and they possess inside talent also with Serge Ibaka. Big watch.

In New York, will Stoudamire and the Knicks step up and be a serious contender or another just making the news and numbers?

Orlando and New Orleans receive mentions due to two players. Howard and CP3. Questions linger over Dwight Howard's future and whether he might even join forces with Paul at the Lakers. Kobe, CP3 and Howard in LA. Wow.

It is time to forget what happened before and during the lockout and focus on what lies ahead.

Let's play ball, gentlemen.

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