The defending champs, the Dallas Mavericks, received their fancy rings and then faced a serious test from one of the best teams in the league and came out looking ready to defend their title against anyone in the league. Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki started his night slowly on the offensive end as he had voracious Joakim Noah in his face. Caron Butler, who has missed the majority is the last 2 seasons, was quick to pick up the slack and show that he is back better than ever after season ending knee surgery. Butler was productive all game shooting 10-14 from the field.
The Bulls were lead by their superstar, Derrick Rose, who controlled the pace of the game for the Bulls, got to the line often, but shot poorly from the field. The Mavs also were deeper than the Bulls. The Mavs will play 12 players most night and got solid production from almost everyone off the bench.
OKLAHOMA THUNDER @ LOS ANGELES LAKERS
In the headliner of the evening, the juggernaut Lakers faced the Thunder fresh off their trip to the Western Conference Finals. The Lakers struck first with an early knockout blow in this heavyweight fight when the Thunder’s superstar Kevin Durant got two quick fouls in the first 90 seconds of the game and sat out the rest of the quarter. When Durant returned to start the 2nd quarter he picked up ANOTHER foul and sat the rest of the first half. The Durant-less Thunder were succeptible to a motivated Kobe Bryant who came out and scored 18 in the first half helping the Lakers take a 25 point lead at halftime. It looked like Kobe’s controversial illegal(in the US) vampire surgery worked as Kobe looked like he was in midseason form (and like he turned back the clock 5 years).
Durant returned in the second half and scored 28 points (31 in the game) but it was too little too late. The Lakers’ Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum outplayed the Thunder’s big men (Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka).
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