15 Footer: Once More, From The Top, Shall We?

A multimedia experience is called for here, is it not?

Now.

Let’s begin.

REASONS TO WATCH THE GAMES OF THE NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION TONIGHT:

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels…Oh, Hi Delonte. Fancy Seeing You Here. (Celtics at Cavaliers, 7:30PM EST):

“No, I’m the biggest badass in the playground that got tossed by the Magic!”

“No, I am!”

The Cavs were embarrassed, the Celtics just looked played out. Both need to start the year sending a message. Last year Boston took it, despite Cleveland looking better for much of the game. That ended up not mattering in the slightest, but the battle itself is what’s important. Both teams know LA is sitting at the end, and they can’t have any distractions with the Eastern Conference. They have to run roughshod  over the entirety of the Eastern elite to build the invincible vibe.  You may recognize that vibe if you’re from Boston as how you felt before Christmas of last year, and if you’re from Cleveland, the swelling in your chest following dispatching Atlanta. Before that nasty Magic episode. Vicious warlocks.

Not much changes for either team, but the inevitable Mo Williams-Anthony Parker-Jamario Moon-LeBron James-Big “Poppa” Z lineup will be interesting to watch. Marquis Daniels is going to need to do some damage too, because hurting the Cavs bench is a vulnerability. Oh, and seeing how many fouls the Celtics rack up without Glen Davis to defend O’Neal should be amusing. Someone get Perk a meathook!

No. NO! You Do NOT Get To Play The Injury Pity Card! That’s OUR Card! (Wizards at Mavericks, 8:30PM EST):

Josh Howard’s a scratch for what may end up being weeks, but the Wizards would like you to know that unless your guy has an axe sticking out of his chest or the black plague, they’re unimpressed. With Jamison on the shelf with a shoulder, the Wizards may actually resemble a normal team at times tomorrow. Scoring point, amalgam 2 guards, versatile three, and brute force big dude. So how does that match up with the Mavericks? Answer: not well. Arenas will likely be able to get buckets, but the Mavericks are going to have fun, fun, fun, till Coach Carlisle takes their T-Bird away. The Mavericks’ offense has too much weaponry and the Wizards’ defense is unlikely to be at a dominant point to slow them down, meaning the Wizards have to find a way to get buckes and lots of them. Barring a Mike Miller shooting show or Caron Butler spiking his usage like Grandma spikes the punch, it’s going to take a frozen night from Dallas to get the Wiz in a winning position.

Not Such A Tough Guy Now Are You? Ow! Okay, Still Pretty Tough. Well Played. (Rockets at Blazers, 10PM EST):

The Blazers have to be licking their chops at getting revenge on the Rockets without Yao,who absolutely steamrolled them in the first round last year. Heads up, LaMarcus Aldridge has done well against Scola, but Scola has done all the little things he’s famous for en route to a 6-1 record against Aldridge. If Greg Oden was every going to come out with a dominant start to his season, this is it. Chuck Hayes, for God’s sake. David Anderson. The Rockets might as well put out a cardboard cutout of Yao. Would be more effective. I think the Rockets will somehow, amazingly, be better than expected, but the Blazers have too many weapons and need a win too badly to quiet the chemistry worry warts. Plus, you know, they’re in the Garden, which is like the Romans going to the jungle to fight the lions.

I… Clippers Fans… I… I Mean… I Just… (*hug*) (Clippers “at” Lakers, 10:30PM EST, TNT):

Artist’s rendition of a Clippers fan after this.

If you see a Clippers fan, hug them.

Hug them well.

Matt Moore

Matt Moore is a Senior NBA Blogger for CBSSports.com's Eye on Basketball blog, weekend editor of Pro Basketball Talk on NBCSports.com, and co-editor of Voice on the Floor. He lives in Kansas City due to an unbelievably complex set of circumstances and enjoys mid-90's pop rock, long walks on the beach and the novels of Tim Sandlin.