NBA Opening Night Preview
The wait is over. The NBA is back.
This is definitely not your usual opening night in the NBA. Due to Covid and the late start, there will only be 72 games rather than the normal 82, putting even more pressure on these regular season matchups. To kick off the NBA's season, night one will consist of two high octane matchups between rivals.
Warriors @ Nets
Kevin Durant will be facing his former team, the Golden State Warriors, for the first time since he left them to sign with the Nets before last season. The Brooklyn Nets have a lot to look forward to this year. With the duo of Kyrie and KD, you are bound to have success in the league. However, against a team like the Warriors, players like Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris and DeAndre Jordan will need to step up big for Brooklyn. Although we have seen throughout the years that throwing stars together does not mean an automatic championship, the Nets have a strong enough rotation of role players to make themselves serious contenders.
The Warriors have a new face at the center position. James Wiseman, the second overall pick, will be making his NBA Debut Tuesday night. This has been a very hectic offseason for the Warriors. After tanking for majority of the 2019-20 season, they are now trying to get back to being title contenders. The loss of Klay Thompson for the entire season will make things much more difficult than they were before. Of course, we would all love to see the splash brothers back together, but until then, it is a must that Stephen Curry has an MVP season for this Golden State team to put themselves in a position for a title.
This has been the Steph Curry vs Kevin Durant matchup we have been waiting for. When you add Kyrie to the mix, you can see how the Nets are odds on favorites. For the Warriors to win this game, Steve Kerr will need to be in mid-season form. Kerr and the Warriors coaching staff will need to win the coaching chess match against the newly designed coaching staff of the Nets. For the Nets, they need to play within themselves. As long as their bench doesn't go cold from behind the arc, I see the Nets earning their first win of the season.
Lakers @ Clippers
The lakers begin their quest for back to back titles tonight against the Clippers. The Lakers are coming off of a 4-0 pre-season, where two of their wins came against the Clippers. A very bright spot for the Lakers has been the emergence of Talen Horton-Tucker. It seems like THT has solidified his spot in the rotation, furthering the depth of the Lakers. This will be the first time Montrezl Harrell will be facing his old squad. He signed a Mid-Level Exception contract in the off-season, surprising most of the league. Of course, LeBron and AD will be playing great ball, but it will be interesting to see how the role-players of the Lakers perform in regular season play.
It's a revenge season for the Clippers. Clippers star, Paul George, has made it clear that they are hungry this season. It's no secret that there were problems with the team last season. However, with a new coach and a new culture, the Clippers are still looking very dangerous in the west. Kawhi Leonard is coming off a season where he scored at a clip of 27 points per game and will be looking to build upon that. The addition of Luke Kennard will benefit the team's shooting, but the loss of Harrell will put a dent into their depth.
On paper, the Lakers seem like they have improved from last season. Now it's time to see how they work on the court. With another championship in sight, they can not afford too many hiccups on their path to glory. For the Clippers, they need to see better performances from their two stars. This is a very intriguing matchup, considering this has become one of the better rivalries in the league. With all this being said, I believe the Lakers will squeak away with a win to jump start their hope for an 18th title.
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