Opening Day Links and League-Wide Predictions

Thomas Gardner, Othello Hunter, and Mario West are excited they made the team. As well they should be.

Due to his guaranteed contract, Thomas Gardner was hopeful but uncertain of making the team:

"It was good for me to have a little security but then I get to training camp and I get hurt. And that feeling comes back. The security goes away real quick. So for me it became about learning the defensive principles, knowing the spots and the intensity and then trying to guard Joe [Johnson] every day or Mo Evans, guys that have will make you challenge yourself. But you just can’t take anything for granted. You’ve got to improve every single day. No matter if you have a contract or not, or how many years you think you have, you have to keep playing every minute like it’s your last.”

Mario West:

"I’m just excited and glad to have that name across my chest. It’s a wonderful feeling. And I’m just as happy now as I was last year. It’s like I’m re-living the whole process all over again. I have another opportunity to live my dream and it’s a great feeling."

Mike Woodson:

"Mario West is just a guy that has a lot of heart. He makes things happen and he changes the game when he’s out there on the floor...I think Mario knows what we’re about. He knows how I like guys that play hard. And sometimes playing hard will overcome some of those other deficiencies in your game.”

No comment yet from Othello Hunter on his blog.

Elsewhere...

CAN MIKE D'ANTONI TURN WATER INTO WINE, OR DOES THAT ONLY WORK WITH FAST-MOVING WATER?

"That particular water is still so toxic I think a mutation is more likely than a pleasantly intoxicating transformation."

Anyone interested in (making fun of) my NBA predictions, please click through...

EASTERN CONFERENCE

1. Boston

2. Detroit

3. Philadelphia

4. Cleveland

5. Orlando

6. Indiana

7. Toronto

8. Miami

9. Chicago

10. Washington

11. Atlanta

12. Charlotte

13. Milwaukee

14. New York

15. New Jersey

1ST ROUND

Boston def. Miami 4-1

Detroit def. Toronto 4-2

Philadelphia def. Indiana 4-1

Cleveland def. Orlando 4-2

CONFERENCE SEMI-FINALS

Cleveland def. Boston 4-3

Detroit def. Philadelphia 4-2

CONFERENCE FINAL

Cleveland def. Detroit 4-3

WESTERN CONFERENCE

1. Lakers

2. New Orleans

3. Utah

4. Houston

5. San Antonio

6. Portland

7. Phoenix

8. Dallas

9. Denver

10. Golden State

11. Minnesota

12. Sacramento

13. Clippers

14. Memphis

15. Oklahoma City

1ST ROUND

Lakers def. Dallas 4-1

New Orleans def. Phoenix 4-0

Utah def. Portland 4-2

San Antonio def. Houston 4-2

CONFERENCE SEMI-FINALS

Lakers def. San Antonio 4-2

Utah def. New Orleans 4-3

CONFERENCE FINALS

Utah def. Lakers 4-3

NBA FINALS

Utah def. Cleveland 4-2

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