The NBA season is back! And it’s kicking off with the Celtics vs the Cavaliers in the Cleveland followed by the Rockets vs the Warriors in Oakland. The first game tips off at 5pm PT today. Here are is my pre-game take on these games.
For the Celtics vs Cavs game, my decision is mostly based off Lebron playing or not. Recently, Cavs Head Coach Tyronn Lue made it known that Lebron may sit out the season opener due to an ankle sprain he suffered late in the season and has been giving him issues ever since. On Sunday he tested the ankle out during practice although as of now it is unclear if he actually will play. Since Lebron rejoined the Cavs in 2014, they are 4-19 in games James does not play in.
Teammate JR Smith is quite optimistic that Lebron will suit up stating after yesterday’s practice (in which Lebron tested his ankle out), “Oh, he’s gonna go, he’s gonna go trust me that. I don’t care what he’s gotta do, he’s gonna play.”
JR also reminded the world (like we needed one) that Lebron has not missed a season opener since he was “8 years old.” Whether if that is an accurate age or not, it’s a testament to Lebron’s drive to make sure he starts seasons the same way he’s been ending them, on the court battling in a jersey rather than on the bench watching in a suit.
Kyrie Irving will be making his Celtics debut in Cleveland ironically after his trade request. Kyrie will look to play at his highest level of course while building chemistry with his newfound teammates. The Celtics only have 4 players returning from their roster that made it the Eastern Conference Finals. This roster may be even better than last year’s as well pending their chemistry but for tonight, they will not be good enough to defeat the Cavs IF Lebron plays.
The defending champions will host the Rockets in Oracle Arena for the season opener. The Rockets recently acquired Chris Paul this offseason giving the Rockets the 2 most ball-dominant players in the league. The acquisition of Paul gives the Rockets a boost on offense although it may not have the same effect on the defensive end.
Draymond Green stated, “I don’t know how seriously they take defense.”
They can’t take it too seriously in a system that’s revolved around basically outscoring the opponent straight up by playing a lot of pick and roll, shooting a lot of 3’s, and playing fast. Offensively they have what it takes to keep up but their lack of defense will ultimately destroy their chances of winning this game against 2 top 5 offensive players in Steph Curry and Kevin Durant.
The Warriors are better this year than they were a year ago. Not just on paper but just knowing that Kevin Durant is year into his relationship with this team that helped him earn his first NBA championship and Finals MVP gives everyone that feeling that they can only get scarier. The Warriors entire core is returning (Kevin Durant took less money to return to help the cause) while the rest of the league, including the Rockets, are working on becoming the best teams they can be in efforts to take the Warriors down. The Warriors are looking to open this season differently than they did last year when they lost their opener to the San Antonio Spurs. They have a statement to make to the rest of the league letting them know that regardless of superstars teaming up on other teams, they will not be able to touch the Warriors this season. The statement will be made successfully today, but will they be able to back it up for 82 games plus the playoffs? We will have to wait and see..