NBA: What We Learned on NBA Opening Night
The NBA regular season tipped off on Tuesday night. There were two games that were played. The Brooklyn Nets took down the Golden State Warriors in the first game easily by a final score of 125-99. The Los Angeles Clippers took down the Los Angeles Lakers in the second game by a final score of 116-109. So what are some of the things we learned on opening night?
Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors are going to be just fine this season despite getting blown out on the road. Even though they don’t have Klay Thompson this season, they could be a 7th, 8th, 9th, or 10th seed in a very tough Western Conference.
Golden State needs their role players to step up and they also did not have Draymond Green as well here in this game on Tuesday night.
Steph Curry is going to have some nights where he carries this Warriors team and he still has it. Curry scored 20 points on 33 percent shooting from the field. He also grabbed four rebounds, recorded 10 assists, and recorded three assists. His 10-assist game goes to show that he will trust his teammates.
Second overall pick James Wiseman made his NBA Debut. He was in the starting lineup. Wiseman is going to be a very good basketball player and he will get better as the regular season goes on. He scored 19 points on 53.8 percent shooting from the field. James Wiseman also grabbed six rebounds and recorded two steals.
Andrew Wiggins needs to become more reliable for Golden State. If he struggles all season long, the Warriors are going to be in for a very long regular season in a tough Western Conference. Wiggins only scored 13 points on 25 percent shooting from the field. He also grabbed two rebounds, recorded one assist, and blocked one shot.
Next Game: At Milwaukee Bucks on Christmas Day.
The Brooklyn Nets look like they are going to be for real this season. Brooklyn is very deep and they are the first team in NBA history to use all 15 players on the bench in an NBA game.
The Nets have the talent to win an NBA Championship and dethrone Lebron James, Anthony Davis, and the Los Angeles Lakers. Brooklyn is going to be a headache for teams every single night. They have tremendous ball movement and this team may have the best ball movement since the 2013-2014 San Antonio Spurs under Head Coach Greg Popovich.
San Antonio defeated the Miami Heat in five games in the NVA Finals that season. Steve Nash is the current and new head coach of the Brooklyn Nets. The one thing that Nash is going to preach is ball movement and team defense. That is something he did very well within his time in the NBA with the Phoenix Suns.
This was Kevin Durant’s first game back in a year with the Brooklyn Nets since tearing his Achilles back in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals with the Golden State Warriors against the Toronto Raptors.
Durant scored 22 points on 43.8 percent shooting from the field. He also grabbed five rebounds, recorded three assists, blocked one shot, and recorded three steals.
Kyrie Irving was a beast and is one of the best players in the NBA when he is healthy. Irving scored 26 points and shot 62.5 percent from the field. He also grabbed four rebounds and recorded four assists.
Caris LeVert is not in the starting five this season and he will have a chance to excel in the second unit. It is very possible that LeVert can very well win the Sixth Man of the Year Award over Lou Williams of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Caris LeVert scored 20 points on 35.3 percent shooting from the field. He also grabbed nine rebounds, recorded five assists, blocked one shot, and recorded two steals. LeVert can get streaky at any moment in a basketball game.
Next Game: At Boston Celtics on Christmas Day.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers took the Los Angeles Lakers ring ceremony personally. Tyronn Lue is the new head coach after they fired Doc Rivers last season after blowing a 3-1 series lead against the Denver Nuggets.
Lue won an NBA Title with the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2015-2016 NBA Season and they came back from a 3-1 series deficit against the Golden State Warriors with Lebron James and company. Tyronn Lue will have his players more accountable and locked in, including his superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
In the first half, it looked like Paul George was pandemic P, but was much better in the second half. George is the heartbeat and the heart and soul of the Los Angeles Clippers. He needs to be consistent all season long.
In the first half, it looked like he stole a five-year max extension worth $226 million from Los Angeles, but he made up for it in the second half. George finished the game with 33 points on 72.2 percent shooting from the field. He also grabbed six rebounds, recorded three assists, and recorded one steal.
Kawhi Leonard had another quiet and effective game for the Los Angeles Clippers. He scored 26 points on 38.5 percent shooting from the field. Leonard also grabbed two rebounds, recorded three assists, and recorded two steals.
Serge Ibaka was a solid offseason signing and he could be a major upgrade over Montrez Harrell depending on how this season goes. Ibaka was in the starting lineup at the center position and his acquisition in the offseason pushed Ivica Zubac off the bench.
Serge Ibaka scored 15 points on 71.4 percent shooting from the field. He also grabbed six rebounds and blocked one shot. Ibaka played with the Toronto Raptors the last couple of seasons. He won an NBA Title with the Toronto Raptors in 2019 against the Golden State Warriors in six games and he was teammates with Kawhi Leonard.
The Los Angeles Clippers were the number two seed last season in the Western Conference and will be slept on all season long, which is something they might want and feed off of all season long.
Next Game: At Denver Nuggets Christmas Day.
Los Angeles Lakers
Before the game, they received their championship rings for the first time since the 2010 season opener after defeating the Boston Celtics in seven games. The Los Angeles Lakers are looking to be the first team to go back-to-back since the 2017 and the 2018 Golden State Warriors in five games and a sweep against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Los Angeles has not gone back-to-back since 2009 & 2010. The 2009 title was against the Orlando Magic in five games.
The Lakers have some new pieces on the roster this season under Head Coach Frank Vogel. It is going to take some time for them to gel and they defeated the Miami Heat in the 2020 NBA Finals in six games last season.
They could experience some championship hangover, but they will be just fine moving forward.
Lebron James scored 22 points on 41.2 percent shooting from the field. He also grabbed five rebounds and recorded five assists. James is one of the best players in the world.
Anthony Davis scored 18 points on 53.3 percent shooting from the field. He also grabbed seven rebounds and recorded two assists.
Dennis Schroder was acquired in a trade this offseason from the Oklahoma City Thunder. He is an upgrade over Rajon Rondo and Rondo will be missed dearly by the Los Angeles Lakers. He signed a 2-year deal worth $15 million in the offseason with the Atlanta Hawks.
Schroder scored 14 points and shot 33.3 percent from the field. He also grabbed 12 rebounds and recorded eight assists. Dennis Schroder almost recorded a triple-double in his Los Angeles Lakers debut.
This team is very deep and maybe better than last season, but we will see if this results in another NBA title or not. The quest for championship No. 18 lives on.
Next Game: versus Dallas Mavericks on Christmas Day.
What did you think we learned on NBA Opening Night? Leave a comment below.
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Follow Glenn Kaplan on Twitter @glennkaplan13.