Tonight's game will be televised nationally on ESPN starting at 7 p.m. central time.
CLE (1-0, 0-0 away)
PG Eric Snow
SG Larry Hughes
SF LeBron James
PF Drew Gooden
C Zydrunas Ilgauskas
SA (1-0, 1-0 home)
PG Tony Parker
SG Manu Ginobili
SF Bruce Bowen
PF Tim Duncan
C Rasho Nesterovic
Mohammed's minutes will likely slowly ramp up as the season progresses. You probably heard that his wife gave birth during the preseason and both mother and child fell ill soon after, causing Nazr to miss the majority of team events. Nazr's wife and child are now doing well.
Also, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan ended yesterday. Ramadan involves fasting (including no liquids) while the sun is up, which is not exactly conduscive to getting into basketball shape. (No, pregnant women, children and the sick do not fast during Ramadan.)
CLE made some big changes in the offseason. They hired two former Spur employees, Danny Ferry and Mike Brown, to fill the vacant GM and head coaching spots. They also added Larry Hughes, Damon Jones and Donyell Marshall while resigning Zydrunas.
Both Jones and Marshall provide much needed perimeter shooting, while Hughes is a young, gifted scorer who was actually named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team last year. I think that was mostly do to his leading the league in steals (by almost 0.50 SPG); he's not a great lockdown defender.
Ilgauskus was second in the NBA in offensive rebounds last year, but he's not much on the defensive end. Keeping him off the glass will be Nazr's and Rasho's primary duty tonight.
Then there's Lebron James. He's going to win the MVP award this year (by a large margin, too) and will be a top 3 player the minute he decides to play some defense. Oh, and Tony Parker is going to lead the Spurs in scoring this year. And there is a housing bubble that will burst in the next 8-12 months (maybe sooner) due to rising interest rates and the recent (as in the last 4 years) influx of exotic mortgages.
Tonight's line: SA -7.5. My pick: CLE. The Spurs are 1-0 ATS this year with an average margin of +4. Your friendly blogger who does not condone, encourage or participate in any activities related to gambling is 0-1.
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