Overtime: NBA Preseason Heats Up

Image courtesy of www.pbleed.com

Image courtesy of http://www.pbleed.com

 The NBA preseason is just over a week old and the newest dynamic duo to hit the hard court is already making an impression on their opponents.  Shaquille O’Neal and LeBron James joined forces to the make their debut as teammates when the Cleveland Cavaliers soared to a 92-87 win over the Charlotte Bobcats.

James donned a pink pair of his signature sneakers in recognition of breast cancer awareness month as he went for 5-of-7 shooting, scoring 15 points in 14 minutes.  O’Neal, who has vowed to “win a ring for the King” scored six points, and added three rebounds and one block to his stats as a Cavalier; both players sat out the entire second half. 

Charlotte suffered its five point loss without their starters Tyson Chandler (ankle surgery) and Boris Diaw (ankle sprain).  Head coach Larry Brown, who has been outspoken about the NBA’s choice of replacement refs while the regular refs remain locked out due to contract negotiations, was called for a technical foul; he expressed his displeasure with the replacements after the game stating that all he wants from the “younger guys” is “consistency.”

Noticeably absent from the Cavs’ starting lineup was guard Delonte West.  West, who is battling with bipolar disorder, was arrested last month on weapons charges when Maryland police found him carrying three loaded guns while riding a three-wheel motorcycle.  Although the Washington D.C. native faces a league suspension, he was seen 90 minutes before the preseason opener warming up with his team.  Coach Mike Brown expected him to play at least 15 to 20 minutes but West refused to join the Cavs’ bench just minutes before tip-off.

Around the league, the Memphis Grizzlies’ newest addition in former MVP Allen Iverson will have to put his return to the court on hold.  During a scrimmage on Sunday while at training camp in Birmingham, Iverson strained his hamstring which caused him to miss Monday’s practice; the former Philadelphia 76er is scheduled for a MRI today.

Washington Wizards fans can finally exhale after suffering through a season without their superstar Gilbert Arenas.  After three knee surgeries on his left knee in the last two years, Arenas returned to the Verizon Center for a 101-92 victory over the Iverson-less Grizzlies.  Arenas assisted on the Wizards’ first seven baskets and came up with ten assists; slowly making his way back to the MVP candidate caliber player that averaged 27.7 points per game from 2004-2007.

The preseason continues today when the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers take on the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics visit the Houston Rockets.  For a full schedule visit www.nba.com

Statistics courtesy of www.yahoo.com/nba/recap and www.espn.com

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