Games begin at 3PM EST, 4 10 minute quarters, next game starts 20 minutes after the last one ends, all games available on the Magic's website.
THE MOST MASSIVE MATCHUP OF ROOKIES EVER! MONDAY, MONDAY, MONDAY! BE THERE!!!!: Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley face off today as Chicago meets Miami in the second game today. Unfortunateley, Beasley won't have Dwyane Wade and Shawn Marion to give him some help. He'll have Kasib Powell and Mario Chalmers. This is Chalmers first chance to try and show the Heat that they don't need to bargain basement deal Marion or Haslem for a point guard. On the other side, the Bulls should KILL this team. Keith Langford is still a deadly shooter and probably would have gotten called up last year had he not headed overseas for the cold, hard, cash. Tyrus Thomas is still a beast from time to time, and if he's going to be on a mission to rehab his image after last season's disasters, this is a good time to start. And oh, yeah, Joakim's there too! Party on Jo! Party on Ty! Biggest reasons to watch this game? It's the last chance this season you may have to watch Beasley play at the 4, and seeing him go up against Ty Thomas is the stuff Upside is made of.
The Oklahoma Whatchamacallits: I seriously support this being the actual name of the club. I think it would be great. They would get killer marketing dough from Hershey, and the Bill Walton clips alone would be comedy gold. Anyway, the "new" (?) team debuts today against Indiana in the opening game, so that should be fun. Things to watch for? The biggest thing is going to be Russell Westbrook against Earl Calloway. Calloway's a D-Leaguer, and a top-flight one. He's got good size, athleticism, and a solid shot. Westbrook could get taken down a notch today. Also Jeff Green will be around, dunking. Hurrah!
Styles Clash: It's Orlando's size versus New Jersey's athleticism in the nightcap. Orlando has Gortat, who's blogging, Courtney Lee, Justin Reed, and James Augustine, while New Jersey counters with CDR (who will hopefully come out with a vengeance and kill everyone), Will Conroy, who is one of the fastest D-League players I've seen, and who an assistant coach said he would immediately take if he gets a chance next year in the D-League, Brook Lopez, Sean Williams, and Julius Hodge. Hodge worked with Arenas' shooting coach over the summer. Two coaches have told me that shooting was the only thing standing in his way of an NBA comeback.
Watch Your Back, Jack: The scariest part for coaches from June to November is injury. It's one thing to lose your guy in transition defending the break against the Lakers. It's another to come down with a bad leg trying to stop a D-Leaguer who's going to do anything short of stabbing you to get a guaranteed contract so he can stop stealing cracker packets from Wendy's for meals. Beasley is going to be playing with a chest protector today for his sternum, but you can bet he'll get yanked at the first sign of trouble with it. Rose's ankles have been problematic, and who knows what's wrong with Courtney Lee. The longer this thing goes, the more frantic you're going to see coaches.
Why For, No Playoff?: I know these are just coaching things, and there's nothing serious about them. But come on. What better way to judge what a player has inside him than putting him in a miniature playoffs situation? Put up a small amount of money and have the two teams with the best record at the end of the week play in a game for it. Come on, it'll be fun! No? Really? No? And why aren't these things televised? And why can't I get any damn crackers at Wendy's?! Oh...