What We Learnt From The Opening Night Of The 2017/2018 NBA Season

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The new NBA season tipped off in the early hours of the morning with last year’s finalists, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors taking the floor against the Boston Celtics and the Houston Rockets respectively.

After the madness that was the greatest off-season in NBA history, both games which were already must-see games became even more anticipated. Kyrie Irving made history when he decided to leave LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers after three consecutive finals appearances and one championship, making him the first star player in James’s 15-year career to willingly decide to leave him. Kyrie signed for the Boston Celtics, which meant he would have to go through LeBron if he wants another championship. The Houston Rockets also flexed their muscles in the summer in their bid to close the gap on the Warriors, signing future hall of famer, Chris Paul to partner James Harden in the back court.

So what did we learn from the first two games of the season?

  • This Might Be Jaylen Brown’s Year

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Jaylen Brown was drafted with the 3rd overall pick in 2016 by the Celtics and a lot was expected from the then 20-year old. Last season, he played 78 games and averaged 6 points per game and 3 rebounds playing just over 17 minutes per game. However, in this new look Celtics, he looked like a different animal. Brown finished the game with 25 points and 6 rebounds, he also played the most minutes of any Celtic and took the most shots. With the sadly unfortunate injury to Gordon Hayward, the Celtics would be looking for scoring from other people not called Kyrie Irving and it looks like Jaylen Brown is ready to step up.

  • LeBron James Is Still King

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After that shot in Game 3 of last year’s finals, there were rumblings all over.. The big question, was LeBron James still the best player in the league? Had Kevin Durant finally overtaken him? Well, while the internet kept mumbling and mumbling, LeBron was going hard in the gym and it was evident in this game. 

Even though he apparently had a bad ankle which should have stopped him from playing this game, James decided he was going to play through the pain and he had himself a night! He led all scorers with 29 points and also picked up 16 rebounds and 9 assists, shooting 63% from the field. After the game, he still said he wasn’t at his level yet and that is honestly scary.

  • The Cavaliers Have Some Things To Work Out

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Well, i guess this was always going to be an issue, especially when you change 3 out of your 5 starters into a new season. The Cavs were good but not great. They were able to get past the Celtics but that could have been different if Kyrie’s last second three point attempt had gone in. The team didn’t look like the same team that breezed through the East last year but i guess that is to be expected. The Cavs had a total of 9 assists all game and for a team that was second in 3pt% last season and hit a NBA finals record for most 3’s in Game 4 against the Warriors when they hit 24 threes, the Cavs only shot 5 of 22 from beyond the arc, just 22.7%. 

  • Nick Young Is A Perfect Fit On The Warriors
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Kevin Durant (35) and Nick Young (6) share a moment

In his first official NBA game as a Warrior, Nick Young scored 23 points coming off the bench. In true Warrior fashion, Swaggy P hit 6 of 7 shots from 3 the most of any Warrior on opening night according to the NBA. This is exactly what Nick Young brings to the Warriors, someone who can come off the bench, run off screens and hit those catch and shoot plays. It’s what Swaggy has done his entire career and now he’s on the one team that does it best.

  • The Warriors Are Not Going 82 – 0

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We can scratch that outrageous stat off the board now. 

Coming into the new season, even with all the firepower in the Western conference, some people were still flirting with the idea of the Warriors having an invincible season. With 4 All stars in their starting lineup, for some reason this outcome seemed a possibility but then opening night, after the ring celebrations they lost to the Houston Rockets 122 – 121. Yeah, Andre Iguodala didn’t play due to injury and Draymond Green missed the entire 4th quarter with a problem with his knee but that shouldn’t take away anything from the effort the Rockets put up in the final quarter to come from behind and win. You have to have luck on your side to topple the juggernauts in the West, and the Rockets had just about enough luck as Durant’s game winning shot left his hands a second too late.

The NBA season is in full flow now and the games are coming quick and fast. Will the Warriors do a back to back? WIll LeBron add to his legacy with another championship? or are we going to see the emergence of a new superpower in the West? I love this game.

 

If you plan to catch any of tomorrow morning’s games, here is my pick of the games to see.

Washington Wizards vs Philadelphia 76ers – 12am

San Antonio Spurs vs Minnesota Timberwolves – 2:30am 

 

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