October 10,2018 at 8:00 PM
10/16/2018 8:00 PM
Celtics Host Sixers in Season Opener
The Philadelphia 76ers travel to Beantown to play the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on Tuesday. It's strange to say that a season opener may be a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals, but most people expect both of these teams to go deep into the postseason. Not only did both teams finish top-three in the east last year, both of these franchises are on the uptick. These are brilliant young cores mixed with a perfect blend of veterans and it's a treat for NBA fans to see them square off in the opener. The Sixers growing pains were on display for the whole sports world across the last decade but the "trust the process" mantra has officially come to fruition. The fact that Philly never cracked a .500 record for the last 12 years made last season's success even more fruitful, as they posted a 52-win season en route to the three-seed in the east. That's their third-best mark since 1985, which is a scary thought for the rest of the league considering this team is still up-and-growing. With a young core of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz, the Sixers have built themselves a franchise through the draft. The development of Fultz may be the biggest factor for this team, as he has the talent to take the Sixers to the next level. He's already been announced as the starter and it will be fascinating to see all of these number-one picks playing together for a whole season. The Celtics may be the only other team in the league who have developed themselves better than the Sixers, as they've set themselves up for success for years to come. The depth is what truly makes this team dynamite, as they have a bench that could be a starting five for a handful of teams. Players like Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier saw major growth last season, as they were asked to step in for a couple injured stars. Those studs are fully healthy coming into this season though, with Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward both fully recovered from their leg injuries. That's insane considering the Celtics were just one game away from reaching the Finals last season, as this is truly a team where the sky is the limit. Getting all of these pieces on the same page is the only question mark with this bunch, but a mad scientist like Coach Brad Stevens should have no problem with having too much on his plate. Despite the fact that Philly won their most recent regular season game against Boston, the Celtics prevailed in 14 of their previous 15 meetings.
October 10,2018 at 10:30 PM
10/16/2018 10:30 PM
Durant and his Warriors Host Thunder in Season Opener
The Oklahoma City Thunder travel to Oakland to play the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on Tuesday. The Thunder have an almost identical roster to the one they built last season, as many experts aren't exactly sure what to expect from this team. The departure of Carmelo Anthony appears to be a win, but the fact that this team was so close to missing the postseason has to be worrisome for fans. A 48-win mark looks like an impressive record, but the Denver Nuggets were just two games behind them in the nine-seed in an unbelievably stacked Western Conference. That's scary considering the west is on the uptick, as it may take a 50-win season to reach the postseason this year. What's also frightening for Thunder fans is the status of Russell Westbrook. The MVP point guard had yet another unexpected knee surgery about a month ago and no one knows whether he'll be ready to suit up for this game. Without Westbrook, this is an average team at best and they simply can't compete in the Western Conference without him. That's why Dennis Schroder was the only major acquisition in the offseason, as he could be asked to take on a huge role if Westbrook is to miss time. The Warriors have built themselves a dynasty, as they come into this season as overwhelming favorites to repeat yet again. Not only has Golden State won the championship in three of their last four seasons, they've added to an already dominant roster. It's wild enough that this team had four all-stars last year but they added arguably the best big man in the league in the offseason. That happens to be DeMarcus Cousins, who is expected to be out a couple more months, as he continues to recover from an Achilles tear. That adds another dynamic to an already dominant team and it's hard to understand how they added someone so good. It's really not about Cousins though, as the core of Draymond Green, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson is the bread and butter of this franchise. That's already a championship team and adding Cousins into that mix is simply not fair for the rest of the league. Despite the fact that these teams split their four-game season series last year, the Warriors have defeated the Thunder in 12 of their last 15 meetings dating back to 2014.