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Discussion Starter #41
More fizzle than sizzle

Finally, the Rockets opened the 2006-07 season — roughly 40 minutes of basketball after the Utah Jazz did.

After waiting six months to salve the pain of a lost season and debuting a roster filled with renewed health and widespread renovations, the Rockets were in no hurry to do much of anything Wednesday night.

The Rockets did not begin to match Utah's effort and intensity until the fourth quarter. By then, it was enough only to get the Jazz to swat them one more time to close out a thorough 107-97 win before 18,133 in the Delta Center. Despite their late chance to steal a win, the Rockets were outplayed in almost every way.

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Discussion Starter #42
Magic looks Bullish

About the only way the Bulls didn't go south Wednesday was geographically.

It took a lot less time than the 35-minute flight up from Miami to realize the Bulls weren't going to have their way with the Orlando Magic as they did with the Heat in the season opener less than 24 hours earlier.

Even the 109-94 winning margin for the Magic belied the way Orlando dominated. The Magic, which shot above 60 percent through three quarters, led by 25 points and, at times, looked like it could come close to the 42-point loss the Bulls laid on the Heat. The Bulls did lead once, 1-0, on a free throw by Kirk Hinrich 39 seconds into the game.

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Discussion Starter #43
One for win column

The three things the Suns need to make the difference between last season's Western Conference finals and this season's title aspirations were a night tardy.

Better late than 0-2, 0-for-LA and "Oh, no."

The Suns went to 11-4 in US Airways Center home openers, shaking off Tuesday's meltdown against the Lakers in Los Angeles to take care of Southern California's better team Wednesday. Phoenix beat the Clippers 112-104 thanks in part to the boosts the Suns are hoping to get this season from improved depth, better defense and Amaré Stoudemire's return.

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Discussion Starter #44
Healing process continues for L.A.

There are scars on the Lakers that don't belong to Kobe Bryant or Phil Jackson, no matter the attention their respective knee and hip have gotten in the past month.

The one in Lamar Odom's heart following the death of his infant son Jayden never will heal. The one running down the middle of Ronny Turiaf's chest is a reminder of all he has overcome.

Neither Bryant nor Jackson was in the building Wednesday night as the Lakers spoiled Don Nelson's return as coach and the Golden State Warriors' home opener with a 110-98 victory.

The good feelings extended throughout the Lakers, now 2-0, but especially to Odom and Turiaf, whose stories are unique in the NBA.

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