The Pistons open the season tonight (8pm, TNT) in Miami against a Heat team that was absolutely embarrassed in last year's season opener, a 108-66 thrashing at the hands of the Chicago Bulls that basically set the tone for a disappointing season. Tonight, the Heat hope to start things off differently. From the Ira Winderman in the Sun-Sentinel:
"The mentality of that team last year was totally different from the mentality of the team this year," Mourning said Wednesday, as the Heat completed preparations for tonight's season opener against the visiting Detroit Pistons. "We've got a totally different mentality. I think we're a lot hungrier. I think back then we were fat and happy. We really were."
"I think this year we're going to take the regular season a whole lot more seriously than we did last year," Mourning said. "We won't write these games off and say, 'Hey, we can turn it on when we want to,' because we know that's not the case."
Sound familiar? It should. Detroit fans always talk about the whole "flip the switch" mentality, but honestly I think it's something I think the entire league battles with, especially teams that have enjoyed a taste of postseason success.
In any case, it's on tonight. As mentioned earlier, Rip Hamilton and Amir Johnson are out tonight, with Arron "Spellcheck" Afflalo expected to replace start. The Heat will be without Dwyane Wade, though they do have Shaquille O'Neal, who somehow made it through a grueling preseason in which he played three games and 14.7 minutes per. As usual, leave your thoughts and observations in the comments. (And if you haven't already, make your predictions for the season over here ...)