Philadelphia 76ers at Orlando Magic– The Eastern Conference champion Orlando Magic open up at home tonight to face a new BRAND of Sixers basketball. That’s right folks, Elton Brand is back, but to what will he be a high impact player immediately as we begin a new season? Tonight should answers many questions regarding Brand’s status as he goes up against a very tough team. While Iguodala will fill up the stat lines helping create shots for his teammates, one answer is for certain, Iguodala’s distribution will not be enough to help lead the “true point guard-less 76ers past the Magic.
Cleveland Cavaliers at Toronto Raptors- After a very sloppy, disappointing loss at home, the Cavs looked to keep working on getting on the same page in Toronto tonight. The Raptors have had a very successful summer adding Hedo Turkoglu as well as a variety of role players who should help the Raptors make their case in the East this year. Both teams made big offseason moves and in the process of gelling together. With one game under their belt and a loss last night, there’s no way I can take the LeBron losing two games in a row.
Cavs- 102 Raptors- 94
Indiana Pacers at Atlanta Hawks– Danny Granger a.k.a. The Lone Ranger takes his Indiana team to face the Hawks in a matchup the kicks off regular season play for both teams. Atlanta closed on their preseason play by getting embarrassed by the Magic and didn’t look have much going for them. While I’m not putting to much assessment into a preseason game, I do have my worries about the home opener for Atlanta due to the Pacers style of play. I’m going out on a limb and making this the upset game of the night, Pacers team defense and Granger’s offensive performance ultimately will defeat the Hawks.
Pacers- 106 Hawks-102
Charlotte Bobcats at Boston Celtics– Coming off a big first win on the road, the Bobcats stand no chance in stopping the Celtics in their home opener. Too much hype, too much energy will be in the building for the Bobcats to even find a rhythm early (something that’s critical to the Bobcats having any chance of success). Arguably their second best overall player in Boris Diaw is unsurprisingly not in the shape he could be and Gerald Wallace can’t do it all himself. Easy win for Boston at home.
Celtics- 109 Bobcats-90
New York Knicks at Miami Heat– The Heat is rising in Miami am I’m not talking in terms of success, instead about the heat of discussion involving Dwyane Wade’s future in the M.I.A.. The Knicks not only roll into town as opponents on opening night but also as a potential target for Wade’s new home next year (though I truly feel Wade will make a homecoming in Chi-Town). This matchup isn’t the greatest in terms of great teams, but will definitely be an exciting one. As the final buzzer sounds look for the Heat to come up on top in this one.
Heat- 112 Knicks- 106
Sacramento Kings at Oklahoma City Thunder- This is the youngest matchup of the night, but unfortunately the Thunder are so much more polished than the Kings making this one an easy blowout win. Since this game isn’t interesting enough to follow, let’s try to make it somewhat interesting by posing a tough question. Of the two Kevin’s who will score more points? Kevin Durant or Kevin Martin? I’m going to go with Kevin Martin. Who you taking? (leave a your answer as a comment) It should be a close one in that regard!
New Jersey Nets at Minnesota Timberwolves– Looking at this matchup, first thing that came to mind was Al Jefferson vs. Brook Lopez. That in itself might make it fun to tune into, although Jefferson has been battling an injury that may limit his production and/or minutes. Whether Jefferson plays the entire game or not, the Timberwolves sadly don’t even have a chance at winning this game, even if it’s at home. One side note: Please begin watching the progression of Terrence Williams, he’s a sleeper candidate for Rookie of the Year.
Nets- 95 Timberwolves- 83
Detroit Pistons at Memphis Grizzles– This game would’ve been a lot more interesting if Allen Iverson was planning to suit up but that isn’t the case. This may be shocking to some, but I truly feel this game will be a close one all the way down to the end with the Grizz putting up a fight. Nonetheless I got the Pistons pulling this one out on the road. Be sure you don’t overlook Sam Young this year, as the season progresses he should find himself some extended minutes.
Pistons- 101 Grizzles- 93
New Orleans Hornets at San Antonio Spurs– It’s sad because in year’s past I would predict this game to be pretty even matchup. This year things have changed for the worst in New Orleans as Chris Paul now rely to heavily on two very streaky, aging shooters in Morris Peterson and Peja Stojakovic. I’ve lost all confidence in the Hornets after last year’s embarrassing prediction that they’d beat the Nuggets in the first round. Until Okafor and “the shooters” show they can assist Paul on a nightly basis, I have no faith in them matching up against any of the elite teams in the NBA. Spurs come up big in home opener.
Spurs- 103 Hornets- 91
Phoenix Suns at LA Clippers– Knock on wood Suns fans, Amare makes his return against the Clipper team that unintentionally forced him to sit out the rest of the season, resulting in the loss of any type of playoff hope. While all Suns fans already realize that, not to worry, unintentional karma (and just plain bad luck) struck back on the Clippers, losing top pick Blake Griffin for six weeks. But even without Griffin, the Clippers are fortunate enough to have depth at the post positions and I think the matchup is about even. The game will come down to which of the two close friends (Step-Brothers haha) will outplay the other in Baron Davis and Steve Nash. I love the point guard matchup for both the starting unit and the second unit. As Sebastian Telfair and Goran Dragic also have a lot in common (think about it…). In the end, I’m going with the run and gun Phoenix Suns to put on a much too powerful offensive display for the Clippers to stop or keep up with.
Utah Jazz at Denver Nuggets– This is my matchup of the night as I feel the NBA world is in store for a good one inside the Pepsi Center. Boozer is back, Kirilenko has returned to a starting role for the Jazz. For the Nuggets J.R. Smith is out serving a suspension, Aaron Affalo is given a chance to start, and Carmelo could go out an have a career year this season. Despite the suspension to key member Smith, I’m going with the Nuggets at home, though it will be a close and interesting one. Possibly even a final shot…
Nuggets- 102 Jazz- 101
Houston Rockets at Golden State– As much as I hating on the Rockets lately, they actually have a chance at winning this game on the road. Stephen Curry will have first game gitters and Aaron Brooks/Kyle Lowry will be applying tough ball pressure all night. I’m very concerned about Golden State taking care of the ball and feel points off turnovers will carry the Rockets to victory. It also helps that the Rockets already have a game under their belts. I got the Rockets. I know I’m stating the obvious here but be sure to keep an eye out for Anthony Randolph.
Rockets-98 Warriors- 95
Three Things Worth Noting:
- 1. Will Channing Frye have more 3 pt attempts than rebounds?
- 2. While they brought the refs back, can they please bring back the old referee jersey, the new ones are a failed attempt to look sleek and stylish. (Shout out to P-Jones)
- 3. I had a rough predicting night last night, I apologize, let me work out the kinks, it will get better! I currently stand at 2-2 on the season.