By Griffin Finch
Opening night on TNT featured a double header filled with highlights that made basketball fans across the country rejoice in the fact that another NBA season is upon us. The games featured included a rematch from the Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers. The evening’s night cap included the NBA defending two-time champion Golden State Warriors taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The first game of the evening was packed with spectacular plays that was put on display. The individual talents of many players on both sides were shown. From Ben Simmons slicing apart the Celtics defense with his precision passing ability and superior court vision, to Terry Rozier’s massive block on Embiid or his alley-oop lay in that sent the crowd in Boston Garden into a frenzy. As far as the game goes it was fairly close throughout with Boston maintaining a small lead until the end of the fourth quarter when the guys in green broke away finishing the game with an 18 point lead, and a final score of 105-87. The young players from both teams showed great improvement. Jayson Tatum’s workouts with Kobe were clearly effective and educational just after one game, and even Markelle Fultz showed a couple of flashes of why he was taken number one overall in last years draft. Considering that both of these teams are very young and already the cream of the crop in the Eastern Conference it appears that a rejuvenation of one of basketball’s oldest rivalries is inevitable.
The second and final game of opening night between the Warriors and the Thunder didn’t tell us as much about the new season as the first game, but it was still very entertaining to watch. With all of the stars Golden State boasts as well as Paul George on the other side. Unfortunately for basketball fans, Russell Westbrook and Demarcus Cousins were sidelined with injury. They would have definitely brought a level of intensity and emotion to this game that could have made it even better. Similar to the Boston Philly game, Golden State held the lead the majority of the game with OKC only able to snatch the lead for short periods throughout the game never managing to gain any breathing room on the champions. Unlike the first game however, the Warriors never truly broke away. The game ended with a Final score of 108-100 marking one of what will surely be many Warrior victories this year. This game did not tell us many new things but it did reaffirm things we already knew. 1. The Warriors are a very dominant team and should be favored to win it all again an complete their three-peat and 2. the Thunder have enough talent to win any particular game, but ultimately won’t go very far in the loaded Western Conference.
Opening night in the NBA is always an exciting night full of possibilities and those of us that analyze the game enjoy picking it apart to try and decipher what the games tell us about the rest of the season to come. The 2018-2019 season openers were no exception. While one game was more informative than the other, my biggest take away from the evening was that if the two games last night were a sign of things to come than basketball fans are in for one hell of an exciting season.