And they’re off

I love the smell of a freshly waxed and polished hardwood court. It smells like victory. On Tuesday, the National Basketball Association kicked off its season with some heavy hitting games.The first was between the Miami Heat and the “underdog” Boston Celtics.

If this game was any indicator of the season, it will be one to remember.

Over the summer, teams had facelifts while others went back to the gym.

The two biggest trades of the NBA off-season would have to be that of All-Star Center Chris Bosh and two-time NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James.

Both chose to opt out of their contracts with the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers, respectively, and head to sunny South Florida. With the addition of the two, many people think that the Heat now have what it takes to get another championship.

Fans and Dwyane Wade are counting on what we shall call the “Boston Phenomenon” to strike Miami. The “Boston Phenomenon” is what happened to the Boston Celtics during the 2007-2008 NBA Championship campaign, during which three big- name players were brought into the organization. Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce were three players who individually had always succeeded but never had the pieces around them to get the trophy. The summer of 2007 was one of many questions as to how this mutual union would work or were there enough shots on the floor for Pierce and Allen.

Despite its kinks and roadblocks, the pairing worked in their favor. The “New” Big Three of Miami now have the task of fulfilling the wishes of those around them for a championship as well as the hype that comes with the territory.

The Celtics, on the other hand, have an uphill battle of trying to prove that they can get back to the sultry days of June and win the big one. For the first time in a few years, they are the underdog of the NBA.

Though they made it all the way to the Finals last season, a trip to the big dance is not always guaranteed and must be attained through hard work and perseverance.

Chinks in the armor of the 2007-2008 Championship team began to show last season, but it does not seem to faze the players. The main concern with their team now is age. The Big Three are not the feisty 20-somethings they used to be and now must rely on wisdom to play the game.

In the East, Celtics fans and Heat fans duked it out. Meanwhile, the Western Conference of the NBA was glued to the screen watching the 2009-2010 NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets open up their seasons. The Lakers have been the team to beat in the West since the beginning of the new millennium and seem to show no signs of slowing down.

Kobe Bryant is the main piece of machinery that powers the master plan of architect Phil Jackson. Lamar Odom, Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar have proved themselves as important components of the Lakers Triangle offense. The Lakers bench has some summer additions as well, such as forward Matt Barnes and Devin Ebanks, which could prove useful. The Lakers have dominated the West for years and if everything goes the way it usually does, could make a repeat appearance in the Finals.

Do not make the mistake of thinking the Lakers will not be challenged because the Houston Rockets could give them a run for their money. Under leadership of veterans like Shane Battier and the skill of those like Aaron Brooks and Courtney Lee, the Rockets have what it takes to be a force in the West.

One of their roster losses that pleased some of the fans was Tracy McGrady, who wanted out of Houston after so many years of being with the team. Ishmael Smith of Wake Forest University is a rookie Rocket who shows much promise.

Overall, these two games will set the benchmark for the rest of the season. Matchups like these will keep NBA fans entertained and hyped up.