After four months without NBA basketball, it finally returns with exciting curtain raisers in both the Western and the Eastern Conferences. It’s somewhat fitting that it all begins right where the last one left off, in TD Garden as the Boston Celtics take on the Philadelphia 76ers. Meanwhile, a little closer to home, the Los Angeles Lakers travel to San Francisco to face the Golden State Warriors. Yet, despite the obvious factor of the Los Angeles Clippers’ closest rivals taking to the court, there is likely to be more that fans from this side of The Crypt will be watching out for in the Chase Center and beyond.
For a start, the Celtics and the Sixers are two of the teams being hotly tipped to come out of the Eastern Conference. With the Clippers harboring championship aspirations, either of those two teams could be the final obstacle between themselves and a title. While it’s a familiar face for fans on one of the benches in Doc Rivers, his opponent Joe Mazzulla is lesser known in terms of coaching ability, though that is unlikely to hold his team back this upcoming season.
In Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics boast a young star duo with so much to offer to the league for many years to come. On the other side, the Sixers have a duo of their own in Joel Embiid and James Harden, who will both feel they have a lot to prove going into a campaign with a roster constructed to play to their strengths. The duo that has the better night is likely to be the one that ends up on the winning team.
76ers (Moneyline), 30+ (Joel Embiid points), 20+ (James Harden points) —+750
Celtics (Moneyline), 30+ (Jayson Tatum Points), 20+ (Jaylen Brown Points) — +750
On the West Coast, Clippers fans will likely have an even closer eye on the Lakers-Warriors matchup. The Purple and Gold have had another rollercoaster preseason, ending with a blowout loss to the Sacramento Kings — and a couple more injury issues to contend with. Meanwhile, Golden State would’ve been coming into the season full of confidence had it not been for Draymond Green’s attack on teammate Jordan Poole in practice. Though the matter seems to have been dealt with swiftly by the organization, it will leave question marks over their cohesion this year.
Again, it could be a game dictated by the biggest stars, with Stephen Curry and LeBron James on opposite ends of the floor. The pair from Akron, Ohio have had some huge battles down the years and both will be keen to prove themselves as the leaders on two teams coming into a campaign with doubts about their squads.
- Lakers (Moneyline), Yes (LeBron James Triple-Double) — +1500
- Warriors -6.5 (Alternate Spread), 30+ (Stephen Curry Points), 5+ (Stephen Curry Assists), 5+ (Stephen Curry Rebounds) — +625
Keep an eye out on opening night, Clippers fans. These teams could yet have a big say on what becomes of our season.
Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation.