The long off-season is finally over, preseason has also ended. The 2014-2015 NBA season tips off tonight, with over 40 plus games in the week. While everyone will be making mountains move in their lives as to not miss their favorite team open their season, we’re here to provide you with a few games that might take precedence over your team. Or at least the contests that highlights simply won’t do enough justice. Decisions will be made this week regarding DVRs, NBA packages and more. Here’s the games that you just can’t miss this week and a couple of reasons as to what you’re missing out on if you do choose to forego watching or don’t hit the red button on your DVR.
Dallas at San Antonio: Tuesday, October 28
It’s only right that the champs be crowned on opening night, the Spurs will once again be defending a title. On ring night, the schedule makers felt no compassion as one of the few teams in the Western Conference that consistently gives the Spurs post-season struggles is coming to town. The Dallas Mavericks have a few new pieces, including the center piece of their championship defense in their 2011 title run in Tyson Chandler. Rick Carlisle also got a great new toy to play with in the often underrated and under-appreciated Chandler Parsons. Death, taxes, and the Spurs being the Spurs. It will be a great battle to start the season, as both teams have two hall of fame bigs in Dirk Nowitzki and the Tim Duncan.
San Antonio Spurs say Kawhi Leonard (eye infection), Tiago Splitter (strained calf) and Patty Mills (shoulder) are OUT for tomorrow’s game.
— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) October 28, 2014
Houston at LA Lakers: Tuesday, October 28
The return of the “Mamba.” That simple, right? While no one knows what to expect out of these new look Lakers and coach Byron Scott, it is worth tuning in to see how former Laker Trevor Ariza fills in for the aforementioned Chandler Parsons. While Ariza is seen as a “3 and D” guy (can knock down the three and a good wing defender), there were many small things Parsons did on the floor that were integral in Houston’s success last season. The “Beard” vs the “Mamba” is not a bad matchup on opening night either, we all know that Kobe isn’t going to just hand the torch to anyone. Dwight Howard will also get another chance to remind the Lakers of what they missed out on when they let him leave LA. Last but not least, the first look at rookie Julius Randle.
Washington at Miami: Wednesday October 29
One of the NBA’s brightest backcourts was set to take on a much different looking Heat team, with Beal’s injury (out up to 8 weeks) the Wizards will be missing his presence on the court. All-Star point guard John Wall will have a new backcourt partner in Glen Rice Jr or Otto Porter Jr, while they aren’t Beal they are still two talented young players. Washington has a very deep roster and should be able to hold down the fort until Beal gets back. The Miami Heat begin the post-LeBron era as well, after a historic four year run that brought four consecutive NBA Finals appearances (two titles) the Heat are ready to move on. While losing the best player in the league would obviously hurt any team, the Heat aren’t as bad off as most think. Chris Bosh is now the number one option and Heat “lifer” Dwayne Wade is still in the fold, with a couple new faces both young and old. Miami may not be a shoe-in for title contention, but if healthy (Wade), they can certainly make a postseason run.
Chicago at New York: Wednesday, October 29
Derrick.Rose. That’s it really, the former MVP will be back in action after two horrific knee injuries. The blue collar Chicago Bulls have their star player back and he may finally have the type of help he’s always needed. The front office made some key additions in free agency and in the draft the past two years to give the Bulls a much better roster when their franchise player returned. A Pau Gasol-Joakim Noah pairing in the front court will certainly be fun to watch, but more importantly it’ll help the team on both ends of the floor. A better, more developed Jimmy Butler along with Tony Snell and Doug McDermott on the wings give Chicago options on the wings. The Knicks are different as well, they were able to keep Carmelo Anthony in the off-season, but there are also some new faces. Starting with first time Coach Derek Fisher, a Phil Jackson disciple that has already installed the famous “triangle” offense. The triangle should make life easier for Melo as it’ll be much harder to double-team him. The younger players should also thrive in this system, the Knicks could be in the playoff hunt this year. We’ll get a first glance of them as the take on Derek Rose and company.
OKC at Portland: Wednesday October 29
The Thunder will look drastically different this year, at least for the first eight weeks or so as they’ll be without the second best player in the league in 2014 MVP Kevin Durant. In that MVP speech, Durant stated that he had a MVP caliber teammate in Russell Westbrook and it’s time for Russ to deliver on that statement. OKC will need him to do just that this season, as he’ll be leading the Thunder until Kevin returns. The Thunder have a bevy of young talent on their roster, it’ll be up to Westbrook to get those young guys involved every night. The Portland Trailblazers are fresh off a trip to the postseason where they won a series before bowing out. Boasting one of the best power forwards in the game in LaMarcus Aldridge, along with rising star Damian Lillard, the Blazers will be another tough out this season. Similar to OKC, they will need some of their younger players to step up. Don’t be surprised if this game has a postseason feel to it, even with Durant not in the lineup.
New York at Cleveland: Thursday, October 30
Two of the members of the star-studded draft class of 2003 will be facing off for the first time this year, Carmelo Anthony against good friend LeBron James. While they will certainly give each other fits, this game will be won or lost with the supporting casts and the early edge goes to Cleveland. The matchups in the backcourt will certainly be entertaining with Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters taking on the four headed monster in New York. While the Knicks may lack the “star-power” in the backcourt, they certainly don’t lack talent as they have Jose Calderon, Tim Hardaway Jr, Iman Shumpert, and J.R. Smith. Expect a ton of three pointers to be put up!
OKC at Clippers: Thursday, October 30
Who doesn’t love a Chris Paul – Russell Westbrook duel? Or watching Serge Ibaka and Steven Adams take on Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. The only thing missing will be Kevin Durant, it shouldn’t take too much away from an entertaining matchup. These two teams aren’t exactly fans of cordial, okay they really don’t like each other. With KD out, it should make it a little easier for the Clippers on the wing. If OKC wishes to pull this one out, those wings will have to produce. Being Jeremy Lamb, Anthony Morrow, Andre Roberson and even Perry Jones III.
Cleveland at Chicago: Friday, October 31
Everyone remember that preseason game where Rose went OFF???!!! Well, this is game will actually mean something so…don’t miss this one!! LeBron James, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol, Kyrie Irving, Joakim Noah and those are jus the first names that come to mind. Should be a great meeting of strength versus strength with Cleveland’s offense against that Chicago defense. Might want to keep an eye on that Chicago offense as well.
Charlotte at New York: Sunday, November 2
Why is this game (if that’s what you’re thinking)?? With all the offseason talk about the best backcourts in the league, this is a chance to see one of the newer units. It’ll be a homecoming for both of them, Kemba Walker and new Hornet Lance Stephenson. The Knicks get to play yet another playoff team on opening week (Charlotte was the eight seed) and it’ll be great to see how the New York offense does against that Hornet defense that finished sixth in the league last season. Who’s going to slow down Carmelo Anthony and Al Jefferson?
Toronto at Miami: Sunday, November 2
Playoff teams meeting on opening week, last year it was a little different as Miami was the number one seed. The Raptors were a tough matchup for Miami when LeBron was there, it’ll be interesting to see who has the upper hand at the start of the season between these two teams. Toronto’s a bit younger and will only continue to get better, after losing Rudy Gay to Sacramento they still have two freakishly athletic wings in DeMar DeRozan and Terrance Ross. Throw in Kyle Lowry and it’s easy to see why the Raptors made the playoffs last year. Miami’s wings will certainly be challenged, can Miami’s point guard by committee (Chalmers,Cole,Napier) slow down Lowry? Last but not least, Bosh taking on the team that drafted him back in 2003.
Golden State at Portland: November 2
Fire power everywhere!! Stephen Curry versus Dame Lillard, both of these outstanding young point guards led their respective teams to the playoffs last season. Everyone knows the Warriors are marksmen from beyond the arc, but the Blazers weren’t bad from there last season either!! The most important matchup will be between the bigs, how will Golden State’s David Lee and Andrew Bogut fair against All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge and Robin Lopez? Either way, three pointers for everyone!!
New Orleans at Memphis: Monday, November 3
One of the brightest young stars in the league gets his partner in the front courts, very similar to what Aldridge has in Lopez up in Portland. Anthony Davis life will be made easier as he can spend more time dominating opposing power forwards on both ends of the floor instead of dealing with centers, the Pelicans acquired Omer Asik for just that reason. They will be taking on two of the best in the league in Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. Can’t ask for a better front court battle than this to end opening week!!