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Merry Christmas and Happy New Season

The NBA opened on Christmas after a two month long delay due to the lockout. The start of a new season is always wrought with excitement and hope (just give me one more good season, KG). In the two nights of NBA basketball since the season started, a few things have caught my eye.

1. I am shocked at the way that the league bounced back after the lockout. Neither side of the table came out of the lockout looking good. I thought for sure that there would be a dip in ticket sales, ratings and merchandising. According to Sporting News, teams open the season on par with last season’s ticket sales numbers. Those figures combined with opening night ratingsshow that the league has somehow managed to hold on to its fans despite the labor battle.2. Shaquille O’Neal was not a great addition to the TNT in-studio crew. In fact, he was a poor addition to the Emmy winning team. He has seemed, if this is possible, small. His personality has yet to shine next to the intelligent wit of Ernie Johnson, the big mouth of Kenny Smith or Sir Charles’s homegrown wisdom. It’s lackluster and a little disappointing.

3. The idea of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin playing together is a lot more formidable than the Chris Paul-Kobe combination that almost was. Blake Griffin has made it this far on raw talent and sheer power alone. Soon he will actually learn how to play basketball and with Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups doing the teaching, yikes.

4. The idea of fouling a person to send them to the freethrow line as a defensive tactic is disgusting. Especially as implemented by the Golden State Warrirors against the Clippers in the FIRST game of the season. I understand the tactic as it relates to the end of a close game in a high stakes situation. But this was four intentional fouls in the third quarter of a game that was pretty much already decided.

5. I’m somewhat starting to come to terms with the end of Kevin Garnett’s career but I will never ever not be heartbroken when he misses a game-tying jump shot.

I’m just excited that the NBA is back and I look forward to the season, no matter how short.