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One day down and, what, only 168 more to go? It's almost time to talk magic numbers.

Always the 100-yard sprint that starts a marathon season, the NBA's opening night took on a new dimension this season with the Heat and Celtics enjoying a playoff-like atmosphere in Boston. But with 81 games to go, instead of something between three and six in a playoff series, SportsNation blogger cvgolfguy takes some solace in the parallels with another debut flop.

brennangh

The Heat came within 3 in the fourth quarter, despite the fact that dwayne wade was suffering through one of the worst games of his career, which was an aberration, not the norm. That's a fact.

-- brennangh
rocafella248

Nice win by the Lakers Last night! I loved our bench they really stepped up big time. And the Rockets got my respect they showed they really wannna fight for a playoff spot this season. But to me Shannon Brown & Steve Blake stole the night!!

-- RocAFella248
mr%20ntense

i am about ready to trade hill, lopez, and frye. Give hills position to josh or try to get carmelo, and get some descent bigmen

-- Mr Ntense

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A consolidation of player power in Miami is the talk of the offseason, for obvious reasons. But when do we talk about a diffusion of power in the Western Conference?

Phoenix moves on without Amare Stoudemire but with Hedo Turkoglu. Utah has to hope Al Jefferson and Raja Bell equal the departed Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver. Dallas kept Dirk Nowitzki, no minor feat, but it's hard to envision Tyson Chandler as the missing piece of the puzzle. Will impending free agency distract Carmelo Anthony? Will Yao Ming stay on his feet for an entire season? Should we just let the Lakers skip ahead to the NBA Finals?

In following Horace Greeley's advice, Al Harrington said he picked the Nuggets instead of the Mavericks based on each team's potential (the extra money inherent in suggestions that the Mavs were loathe to give him five years probably didn't hurt). We say if Harrington can judge Western Conference potential, he's a better man than us.

jay (uptown dallas)

are the mavs seeking ant other trade scenerios right now

ESPN Dallas' Jeff Caplan
Matt Williamson

Jay, Donnie Nelson says the team will be as active as ever. They'll continue to probe New Orleans about Chris Paul. the Hornets just fired GM Jeff Bowers, so things are in flux there and Paul is getting increasingly uneasy about the direction of the franchise. Otherwise, the Mavs will keep calling clubs for trades, kicking around Carmelo, as if that's going to happen, but yes, they will be looking for trades, particularly a blockbuster to land a star to pair with Dirk. I think the percentages are low. Full transcript

mcbrinkosu

Great signing by Denver. Al Harrington was the only bright spot on a horrible Knicks team. He's young and from NJ so you know he has energy and toughness.

-- mcbrinkosu

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When you're an NBA big man dependent on other people getting you the ball, can you really put a price on something like playing with one of the greatest passing point guards in league history? Well, yes, and it appears $100 million is a pretty good place to start.

That's the total the Knicks will shell out for Stoudemire, give or take a few million, when free agents are officially allowed to sign contracts later this week. It remains to be seen if signing Stoudemire will help (or hurt) lure any other big names to the Big Apple, but Steve Nash definitely won't be coming with him. And in New York parlance, that strikes some SportsNation bloggers as akin to paying $100 million for a Mario Batali restaurant and staffing it with the local McDonald's crew.

bitter_walnut

And all the years of the Knicks being the toilet of the league and this is the game changer? They've mortgaged their future on Elijah Price.

-- bitter_walnut
golamb

Stoudemire got his numbers by playing alongside and continually being fed by one of the best point guards in league history. Lee's just a gamer who isn't in it for flash or notoriety. HUGE difference. Just wait... you'll see.

-- golamb

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How do you know the Suns and Spurs have a real honest-to-goodness rivalry? It has its own Wikipedia page. Or you could just watch the games, but come on, we all know which of those is the real judge.

The Suns made a statement Wednesday by donning their "Los Suns" jerseys in what owner Robert Tarver made clear was a protest against the new Arizona immigration law. Then they made a statement of the basketball variety by seizing a 2-0 lead in the latest series against the Spurs. It's the fourth playoff meeting between the teams since Steve Nash arrived in Phoenix, but it's the first time the Suns have enjoyed a 2-0 lead.

The 2006-07 team won 61 games with Nash, Amare Stoudemire, Shawn Marion, Raja Bell and Boris Diaw running Mike D'Antoni's system to perfection. But with a new cast of characters around older versions of Nash and Stoudemire, are these Suns better?

Dan (AZ)

Are we watching the best Steve Nash Suns team? Watching them recover from the two second half runs from the Spurs makes me think that this version is a better basketball team than the previous incarnations.

John Hollinger
John Hollinger

Still would like to see what the first team would have done if Johnson had been healthy, and I still think the '07 team with the nose-bleed/suspensions was the best of them all ... but the West isn't quite as strong at the top as it used to be, so this could be the one that breaks through as a conference champion. Full transcript

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Sometimes you're the dog, and sometimes you're the hydrant. Or in the language of the NBA playoffs, sometimes you're Michael Jordan against anyone. And sometimes you're Charles Smith against the Bulls.

The postseason has arrived, and for the first time in his career, Kevin Durant gets a shot (or more likely, 20-plus shots per game) to forge his own primetime reputation on the big stage. You know it's the big stage because Phil Jackson is already taking subtle swipes at Durant and either getting in his head or poking the bear, depending on your perspective.

In all honesty, the No. 1 seed's first-round series is usually only slightly more interesting than Duke playing Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the first round of the NCAA tournament, but thanks to Durant's expected duel with Kobe Bryant, it appears all eyes this year will be on the Lakers and Thunder.

Not that every SportsNation blogger expects the series to be all that close.

Mikeyho (Taiwan)

Hey Chris. Just heard several analyst label the Cavs as "much better" than the Magic. This year's additions put them over the top. I feel like I'm watching last years comments. I'm not saying the Magic should even win. Just want to know if you think it'll be really competitive (around 50/50), or slightly competitve (Cavs's clear favorites)?

Chris Sheridan
Chris Sheridan

Right now I would pick the Cavs in 7 in that series, but I would not label them heavy favorites. Both teams are so much different than they were a year ago (Jamison, Shaq, Vince, Barnes) that it makes comparisons between last year's series and this year's somewhat irrelevant. What's relevant is whether Shaq will be able to contain Dwight and whether the Magic will still find the individual matchup they can exploit. And Stan Van Gundy is good at that. Full transcript

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