NBA Opening Night Predictions
With the NBA season set to tip-off on October 17th, TNT will feature a double-header that will see the Cleveland Cavaliers face the Boston Celtics, which just recently became one of the most interesting match-ups of the season following the Kyrie Irving trade. However, this possible rivalry is matched by the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets game. Golden State, the league’s powerhouse, has forced every other contender to go all out at trying to build the best possible roster. Houston is one of those teams. With the addition of Chris Paul and signing James Harden to that massive contract extension, Houston has attempted to solidify themselves as a top-five team. So let’s take a look at each of these match-ups individually.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Boston Celtics
Although this match-up is probably the most anticipated game of the night, there are many injuries that could play a huge role in the match-up. For one, and most definitely the most impactful injury of them all, LeBron James is doubtful for the game due to an aggravated ankle injury. This rules out any possibility of seeing the much anticipated LeBron-Kyrie match-up after everything that happened with them this offseason. Also, Isaiah Thomas, who was betrayed by his former organization after the best year of his career, and the most emotional of his life, was traded to Cleveland and will be out with a hip injury.
However, Boston should be at full strength as their “big three”, in Hayward, Irving, and Horford should all be present at Tuesday nights game. So let’s check out both the starting lineups for the game. Believeland will start Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, J.R. Smith, Jae Crowder, and Kevin Love. Cleveland’s leading scorer should end up being Dwyane Wade, as I see this game as a chance for him to solidify himself in the organization as the second best player. For this reason, I see Dwyane Wade dropping 25 points on opening night versus the Celtics.
As for Boston, they will sport a starting lineup that includes Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Al Horford. Also nearly a completely different lineup, the Celtics top scorer for the match-up should be Kyrie Irving, as this was a key reason he left Cleveland. He wanted to be the go-to guy offensively and have the ball in his hands. An absurdly great offensive talent, I could see Irving scoring up to 40 points on his former team.
Final Score: Cavaliers: 99 Celtics: 104
Golden State Warriors Vs. Houston Rockets
Slotted at the premier game spot of the night, this opening night game at Oracle will see the Golden State Warriors once again raise a championship banner and receive their championship rings. Houston will get their first look at how their newly formed lineup performs against the best in the league. The Warriors will start the following players in their opening night game: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and Zaza Pachulia. You probably notice that this is the exact same lineup the Warriors sported last season. Why fix what’s not broken? As for Houston, the Rockets lineup will see Chris Paul, James Harden, Trevor Ariza, Ryan Anderson, and Clint Capela.
Now obviously the Warriors are heavy favorites heading into this game as the reigning NBA champions, and the Rockets are still working out the kinks of their newly formed lineup. Also, the Oracle crowd will be as loud as ever, trying to solidify themselves as the best fan base in the NBA. However, if the Warriors struggle early and Houston comes out guns blazing from three, the Rockets could steal this game on the road. That is highly unlikely, and even if it does happen, Golden State can close up to a 20 point lead in a matter of minutes. For Houston, I see James Harden once again obtaining the dominant scorer job, finishing with up to 34 points in this game. As for the Warriors, Stephen Curry is a player that thrives off the Golden State crowd and I see that happening Tuesday night. It’s for this reason that I believe Stephen Curry will start out the season with an amazing 45 point night.
Final Score: Rockets: 105 Warriors: 120