Golden State Warriors @ Brooklyn Nets – 7PM ET
The NBA season is finally here and the first game sees Kevin Durant play in his Brooklyn Nets debut against his former side, the Golden State Warriors. It has been 561 days since Durant played in an NBA game (not including preseason) and he is looking like his usual self. In the Nets’ last preseason game, Durant scored 25 points on 9/16 shooting whilst adding six rebounds and three blocks.
On the other side of the court, his former running mate Steph Curry will look to spoil the party with his new look Warriors team. Curry has averaged 29 points and 5.5 threes in his last two preseason games and has added some firepower in Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre Jr since Durant left in the 2019 offseason.
BALL ON A STRING… Where else can you see Kyrie Irving’s mesmerizing handles? #OnlyHere
— NBA (@NBA) December 13, 2020
Curry missed most of last season with a broken hand and is back to full health and looking to have the same on-court success that he is used to. Many think that the Warriors are locks to be back in the playoffs but face a tough opening test in the Nets.
Brooklyn doesn’t just have Durant, but Kyrie Irving is a perennial All Star and can score at will. Irving missed a big chunk of last season with a shoulder injury but has looked great in the preseason, dropping 17 points, seven boards, five assists and two steals in the Nets’ last preseason game.
Both teams will take some time to adjust to their new pieces, but the Nets have two All Star level players and elite scorers. Look for Brooklyn to make a statement in the first game of the season on their home floor.
NBA Pick – Brooklyn Nets (-270).
Los Angeles Clippers @ Los Angeles Lakers – 10PM ET
The Battle of LA on opening night. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George vs LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Both teams have new pieces and are ready for another installment of this vicious rivalry.
The Los Angeles Lakers, on the back of their 2020 NBA Championship win, overhauled their roster and improved all over the board. They added savvy veterans in Was Matthews and Marc Gasol whilst also bringing in first and second place in the 2020 Sixth Man of the Year, Dennis Schroder and Montezl Harrell.
The signing of Harrell in free agency adds another layer to this contest, as the former Clipper had some nasty remarks about his former team when moving down the hallway to the purple and gold locker room. Some Clippers players were shocked and upset about the signing and the comments made, giving this one some extra spice.
The Los Angeles Clippers made some moves of their own, bringing in Luke Kennard and Serge Ibaka to bolster up the rotation. Ibaka was teammates with both Leonard and Gasol on the Toronto Raptors when they won the 2019 NBA Championship and the former was a big reason why the forward ended up in a Clippers uniform for this season.
Eurosteps, crossovers, monster dunks…
Where else can you see Anthony Davis handle the rock like a guard but finish with authority like a center? #OnlyHere @AntDavis23 and the defending champion @Lakers face the Clippers opening night – Tuesday, December 22nd on TNT pic.twitter.com/nAY32Y5uwj
— NBA (@NBA) December 14, 2020
Anthony Davis reminded us how great he is in the Lakers’ last preseason game against the Phoenix Suns, when he exploded for 35 points on 68.8% shooting, with six threes, six boards, two steals and three blocks to go with it. With that being said, both Davis and James only played in two of the Lakers’ four preseason games, given their NBA Finals trip finished just 10 weeks ago.
The Lakers have more new pieces to introduce, have had a much shorter break than the Clippers and on the Lakers’ ring and Championship banner night, the Clippers will be hungrier than ever to get a win. Take the Clippers to win the first round of this battle.
NBA Pick – Los Angeles Clippers (+110).
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of PointsBet.