Every fan has their favorite sport. For me personally, nothing gets me more excited than a classic match up in the NBA. The regular season is long and grueling, but it serves a purpose. A team must sharpen their skills, hone in on their goals and peak at the right time to become an NBA champion.
Along the way there is homework assignments, quizzes and final exams to see where a team stacks up against the toughest competition. In other words, these are the games that fans tune in across the country to see. With the NBA schedule release last night, many enticing games popped up on the radar.
Whether it be LeBron flying through the air for a dunk, Steph sinking a three or James Harden putting his defender on skates, every night in the NBA offers excitement. These three players in particular have long gotten over the spectacular play. They are locked in on the process of becoming a better team so they can play deep in to the postseason.
For obvious reasons, the NBA loads up on prime time games during the opening week and Christmas. I’ll try to stay away from obvious choices. Without further ado, these are the games you need to see this NBA season.
Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers – Quicken Loans Arena, 10/17/17
The time, location and date are set…the starting line ups are another story. The Kyrie Irving saga continues. For some reason, LeBron James’ right hand man got tired of making All-Star teams, being on winning team and continuously making the NBA Finals. He is now actively seeking a trade to be the star of his own show.
If Kyrie remained on the Cavaliers, they would most likely win the Eastern Conference for the fourth straight year. However, without Irving the Boston Celtics would be in the driver’s seat depending on what the Cavs get in return via trade.
LeBron James always puts the team on his back, and could probably still get the Cavs to the Finals. The Celtics are waiting to pounce on his first sign of weakness, but in the last seven years he has not slipped up.
The atmosphere in Quicken Loans Arena will be a weird one. With fans excited for a new season while worrying about the trajectory of their favorite team will be something to listen for.
Boston comes in to this game loaded. Isaiah Thomas, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford are the new Big 3 in Boston. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are getting better by the day, but neither are of legal drinking age, so experience will be a factor for the Celtics this season. They sacrificed Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk to put this team together, so time will tell if that was the move that puts them over the top.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers – Staples Center, 10/19/17
The question everyone wants to know will be answered October 19th. Can Lonzo Ball ball? The Lakers are loaded with young talent spear headed by Ball. His triple-doubles in the summer league made headline news, and gave Lakers fans everywhere hope. His dynamic court vision and passing ability has the whole league on edge. If Lonzo lives up to his potential, the rest of the league will be in trouble in a few years.
Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope were all brought in to compliment Ball. He will spend his entire preseason finding their favorite spots on the floor and setting them up on numerous occasions. This could have been an enticing match up between Ball and Chris Paul before the latter left for Houston.
As of now, Patrick Beverly is taking over the reigns for the Clippers. His hard nose defense will make it hard for Ball to find his rhythm, so this will be a good test for the youngster.
A co-headline of the night with unfortunately be LaVar Ball. The loud mouth father of Lonzo Ball will support his son no matter what. However, some of the things he says leaves fans around the country either shaking or scratching their head.
The Battle for LA has lost a few stars over the years, but in 2017 it seems to have gotten a shot in the arm.
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Sacramento Kings – Golden 1 Center, 10/26/17
Without a doubt the most entertaining player in the NBA is DeMarcus Cousins. The most talented player? Might not be, Anthony Davis just yet, but he is in the conversation. This duo came together at the trade deadline last season, and basketball matters once again in New Orleans.
At the center position, these two players are polar opposites. Davis is long and lean, his athletic ability is off the charts, and his silky touch reminds me of a point guard. He can make every shot in the half court, and if you try to drive one him, its the equivalent of trying to score against a giraffe. “Boogie” Cousins on the other hand, will maul you if you enter the low post. His beefy frame keeps him lower to the ground, but he is still just as effective. He can create space, make foul shots and long jumpers, and is trying to work on his attitude every offseason. A huge boost in maturity could do wonders for the Pelicans.
The Kings never made the playoffs with Cousins on their roster. He was a talented head ache, and although he wasn’t the main problem in Sacramento, he was definitely the scapegoat. After the trade, Sacramento is looking to build through the draft. They have a formidable team in the works, but whether or not the pieces will work, stay healthy and meet expectations is another story.
DeAaron Fox, Justin Jackson and Harry Giles were highly sought after in the draft. The three of them on the Kings is a great start. Buddy Hield was acquired in the Cousins trade, and Sacramento also got veteran Zach Randolph in the offseason. This match up will be a good one.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Indiana Pacers – Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 12/13/17
Few players have done more for a franchise in the past decade than Paul George did for the Pacers. The driving force behind a team that made the Eastern Conference Finals, but inevitably ran in to the LeBron James freight train, George gave the city of Indiana his all. After relaying to the front office that he intended to leave the team, the Pacers had no choice but to trade him.
For George, he ended up in one of the best spots imaginable. On the Oklahoma City Thunder, he and current MVP Russell Westbrook will be a dynamic offensive duo. In the postseason, the two will rely on experience and talent to feed off of each other. With Paul George’s smooth offensive game and Westbrook’s reckless abandon, fans can’t wait to see this team take the floor.
Look for the Thunder to increase their win total and playoff seed this season. It’s too far out now, but a potential second round match up between the Thunder and Golden State Warriors is what every fan wants to see.
As for the Pacers, their rebuild starts now. They have young talent and will look to build around Myles Turner, a promising power forward with ball skills and a jump shot. Turner is becoming what most teams in the NBA are looking for, and if he can reach his full potential the Pacers will be a formidable team in a couple years.
Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Clippers – Staples Center, 1/15/18
Well this is awkward. This game marks the first time Chris Paul will be back in the Staples Center. His move to the Houston Rockets this offseason was undoubtedly the most significant. After years of unrealized potential and untimely injuries, Chris Paul took his talents to H-Town. He will team up with James Harden and an already extremely talented core of players.
Houston made a run to the conference finals in 2015, but since then have slid back to the middle of the pack in the West. With the arrival of Paul they are the top competition for the juggernaut in the Bay Area.
However, before he can even think about the playoffs, he has return to Lob City. With Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan, CP3 was able to lead the Los Angeles Clippers through one of their most successful stretches in playoff history. I’m sure a video tribute and a standing ovation will be in the works, but Paul will hear his fair share of boos, especially once the game starts. Houston should rout the Clippers, making this game an awkward one for sure.
The NBA fever is just starting to set in. Thanks to the NBA schedule release, fans can now view their favorite team’s schedule and find NBA tickets today.