Opening night for the 2018-19 NBA approved division will accord admirers a attending at a advantageous Boston Celtics aggregation in a beginning Eastern Conference rivalry. In the additional bisected of the doubleheader, we’ll see the Golden State Warriors clearly alpha their adventure adjoin a three-peat championship run.
There’s a slight affliction for one of the regular-season openers. Oklahoma City Thunder bouncer Russell Westbrook hasn’t been austere for abounding acquaintance afterwards adeptness arthroscopic knee anaplasty September 12, per ESPN.com’s Royce Young:
“Russell Westbrook is ‘progressing’ and accepting nearer to a return, Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan said Thursday, but has not been austere for full-contact convenance yet, abrogation the All-Star point guard’s cachet for the division opener in question.”
Dennis Schroder would acceptable run the Thunder’s breach if Westbrook doesn’t clothing up for Tuesday’s challenge adjoin the Warriors.
Celtics advanced Gordon Hayward will acknowledgment to regular-season activity afterwards he suffered a confused abate and burst tibia in aftermost season’s opener adjoin the Cleveland Cavaliers. He’ll face the Philadelphia 76ers, who absent to Boston in the Eastern Conference semifinals during the 2017-18 postseason.
Before diving into predictions for Tuesday’s games, analysis out the examination advice beneath to tune into the action:
Schedule for Tuesday, October 16
Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics: 8 p.m. ET, TNT, NBA Alliance Pass
Oklahoma City Thunder at Golden State Warriors: 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT, NBA Alliance Pass
Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics
LeBron James’ accommodation to leave the Cavaliers for the Los Angeles Lakers opens the bank for a new baton in the East. The Sixers trusted the activity and assuredly saw actual after-effects aftermost year, abiding to the playoffs for the aboriginal time aback the 2011-12 campaign.
The Sixers came up abbreviate adjoin the Celtics, but there’s cogent progression with brilliant players Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid arch the way. Both battled injuries afore their careers started but played the majority of amateur aftermost term.
Simmons showed his arresting accomplishment and adeptness to administer the ball, averaging 8.2 assists per contest. Philadelphia Inquirer anchorman Keith Pompey bent a glimpse of the ascendant Rookie of the Year cutting from a distance:
Of course, Sixers admirers appetite to see those shots classy the net during games, but it’s a footfall adjoin convalescent his cutting range. In the meantime, the Sixers will angular on J.J. Re, Robert Covington and Dario Saric to beating bottomward triples adjoin the Celtics defense.
Markelle Fultz is the agrarian agenda in this contest. Did the second-year bouncer fix his jump shot? How will the Celtics’ ambit aegis affect his stroke? Boston captivated opponents to .339 percent cutting from above the arc aftermost year—best in the league. Philadelphia placed additional in the class at .342 percent.
Kyrie Irving and Hayward’s absences during the 2017-18 appellation helped atom advance for Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier. Now, with Boston’s stars aback in action, Philadelphia’s aegis matches up adjoin an alike roster, with eight players who can accomplishment with double-digit-scoring totals on any accustomed night. That accumulation includes Marcus Morris, Marcus Smart and Rozier off the bench.
The Celtics exhausted a advantageous Sixers aggregation 4-1 in the postseason, and they’re abacus Irving and Hayward to the mix. Boston wins this antagonism at TD Garden.
Prediction: Celtics 104, 76ers 98
Oklahoma City Thunder at Golden State Warriors
As time progresses, Kevin Durant’s battles adjoin the Thunder lose its sizzle, abnormally with Westbrook on the sideline. Secondly, the d takes abode at Oracle Arena, area the army will abutment the backstab NBA Finals MVP.
There’s a little bit of allocution about what Durant will do already the division ends. He has a 2019-20 amateur option, per Spotrac. Nonetheless, bouncer Stephen Curry accustomed the aggregation has its architect set on a three-peat, per ESPN.com’s Nick Friedell:
“We allocution about the three-peat aloof because it’s in advanced of us. I don’t anticipate that’s article that’s again every distinct day. But back we alpha the season, acutely we lay aggregate out on the table, what’s at pale in agreement of our expectations.”
The Warriors active DeMarcus Cousins, but arch drillmaster Steve Kerr hasn’t put a calendar on his return, per San Francisco Chronicle anchorman Connor Letourneau. Jordan Bell will attending to accomplish a green bound assimilation in account at center. He’ll accommodate some attrition on the interior:
Paul George and Steven Adams will advance the Thunder on both ends of the cloister after Westbrook in uniform. Don’t belittle Andre Roberson’s absence on the arresting end. He’s still convalescent from a burst patella bond and suffered a contempo setback, per Young:
Schroder served as appropriate starting point bouncer for the Atlanta Hawks over the aftermost two campaigns. He averaged 19.4 credibility and 6.2 assists per airing during the 2017-18 term. The 25-year-old doesn’t accompany the aforementioned akin of comedy on aegis as Westbrook and Roberson, which may become a botheration if Curry or Klay Thompson starts the division with hot hands.
There’s little agnosticism George will advance the aggregation in scoring, and Adams should accomplish the Warriors afflictive in the paint. On the added hand, the Thunder don’t accept the scorers to accumulate clip with the ascendant champions.
Prediction: Warriors 112, Thunder 92
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