We are just a little over 24 hours away from the tipoff of the 2022-23 season. The Charlotte Hornets aren’t in action, but the NBA did a very good job putting very intriguing match-ups in the spotlight for opening night. Here’s the schedule:
- 7:30 pm EDT - Boston Celtics vs Philadelphia 76ers
- 10:00 pm EDT - Golden State Warriors vs Los Angeles Lakers
We have both NBA Finals participants in action. The Eastern Conference champion Celtics face off against the 76ers which has a decent case as the most significant rivalry in the Eastern Conference. The Cetlics loaded up on veteran depth in the offseason with Malcolm Borgdon, Danilo Gallinari, and Blake Griffin, though they’ve already lost Gallnari for most if not all of the season with a torn ACL. They join a core of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Al Horford in the hopes of making a return trip to the Finals. They face a 76ers team with a reportedly rejuvenated James Harden and breakout candidate Tyrese Maxey supporting MVP hopeful Joel Embiid.
That game is followed by the defending NBA Champion Warriors going up against the storyline heavy Lakers. The latter has dominated the headlines of late once again, with Russell Westbrook’s status as a starter getting more attention than just about any other story in the league in the leadup to the season. He might be literally physically incapable of coming off the bench, as he tweaked his hamstring five minutes into his first appearance off the bench, leaving him questionable for opening night. The rest of the Lakers roster is LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Meanwhile, the Warriors are the Warriors and look to start their title defense on the right note with pretty much the same roster that won them the title. They’ll also be looking to get contributions from James Wiseman, who they elected to pick in 2021 NBA Draft with LaMelo Ball on the board.
DraftKings Sportsbook has the Celtics (-145) and the Warriors (-245) as the favorites for tonight’s games. The Celtics and 76ers game is pretty much a tossup with Boston’s home court advantage the only thing giving them a slight edge. The 76ers have looked very sharp in the preseason and have less tumult to deal with entering the season. If I were a betting man, I’d take them money line to pull off the upset on the road to start the season.
This is the second straight season that we get Warriors vs Lakers to cap off opening night. Last year, the Warriors took the contest 121-114 in Los Angeles despite a cold night from Stephen Curry and the absence of Klay Thompson. They are the much better team and shouldn’t miss a beat coming off a championship run followed by almost no roster turnover. I’d take the Warriors to come out of type and cover the 6 point spread in the process.
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