NBA: Reasons To Watch Opening Night
The NBA is back, and here’s why you should tune into the opening night matchups.
Warriors vs. Pelicans
The Golden State Warriors are set to tipoff against the New Orleans Pelicans tonight at home. Game time is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. on TNT.
There are many reasons to get excited for opening night and the Splash Brothers are at the top of a lot of lists. Reigning MVP Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are entering a new season after dominating in 2014-15 with 67 regular season wins and an NBA championship title. Just add in that record-breaking 37-point quarter Klay had against the Kings and you’ve got an incredibly hard season to top. Not to forget, the duo combined for 525 three-pointers last season, (the most ever by two teammates).
On the other side, the Pelicans will face Golden State with familiar face Alvin Gentry, who spent last season as a part of the Warriors coaching staff. New Orleans finished last season with its first playoff appearance in four years, which was soon ended when the Warriors beat them out in the first round with a four-game sweep.
With Gentry familiar with the Warriors up-tempo style, it would make a lot of sense to use that for the Pelicans benefit. If he can figure that style to fit New Orleans best player Anthony Davis, it would help rack up more points for Davis who averaged at least 20 points and ten rebounds in each of the last two seasons. This year he’s expected to be a bit more dangerous since he’s added a three-point game. It’s expected that Davis will carry the Pelicans, especially with many of his teammates out with an injury.
The outcome of this game doesn’t look too difficult to predict.
Cavs vs. Bulls
LeBron James leads the Cleveland Cavaliers into the 2015-16 season, first taking on long-time Eastern Conference rival the Chicago Bulls. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on TNT.
Every NBA fan loves to watch LeBron whether it’s to love him or to hate him. If you’re a Bulls fan, it probably won’t be to love him.
If you recall, Cleveland eliminated Chicago in six games in last year’s Eastern Conference Semifinals. That’s four times in six seasons that LeBron has put an end to the Bulls season. Ouch.
But things are a bit different this time around.
The Bulls will start the season with new coach Fred Hoiberg. With the new coach comes a new play style and adjustments to the lineup.
Nikola Mirotic will replace big man Joakim Noah in the starting five. Mirotic averaged fewer minutes than Noah during the 2014-15 season, but managed to contribute more points and a deep-ball option; therefore, spreading the offensive floor a little more. He really stepped up in March of last season, averaging 20.8 points per game and 7.6 rebounds off the bench over a stretch of 15 games. Although Noah contributes more in the paint and on defense, 2014-15 was his worst season statistically since 2008-09.
Mirotic will join Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol, Jimmy Butler and Tony Snell (who replaced Mike Dunleavy due to injury) in the top 5.
If D. Rose plays like the D. Rose from a few years back and stays healthy, the Bulls have the potential to make this an interesting matchup. Especially this go, with the Cavs lacking Kyrie Irving and having home court advantage.
Regardless of how good Chicago plays, they’ll have little room for error against LeBron, who practically carried an entire team through last year’s finals.
Fun Fact: LeBron has reached the NBA Finals for five consecutive seasons. If he makes the finals this season, he will share the longest appearance streak in NBA history with former Boston Celtic great Bill Russell.
Hawks vs. Pistons
The Atlanta Hawks will open their season against the Detroit Pistons, who haven’t had a winning record in seven years. The game is set to begin at 7:00 p.m.
The Pistons will enter the new season with leaders Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond. Jackson, a former OKC Thunder sixth man, will enter the season as a starter for the first time. When he first got to Detroit last season, he lost ten straight with the Pistons but wrapped the season winning nine-of-sixteen.
With the Pistons having size advantage, the Hawks will likely bring Tiago Splitter off the bench and place him at center and move Al Horford to power forward from time to time while Kent Bazemore starts at small forward.
Whether your team is playing tonight or not, there's one thing to be excited about: The NBA is Back!