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NBA Tip-Off Preview: Day One

October 29, 2012

Basketball, NBA

So, the World Series is done. Hockey is in lockout, and while NASCAR seems to still be going on (three races at the time of me writing this), the real focus of the nation is on the ongoing NFL season, and the tipping off of my favorite sport, basketball. Tuesday represents a great day for NBA fans everywhere, as the season gets under way at 7 p.m. EST with Washington at Cleveland. Following that, probably the most interesting game of the night at 8 p.m. EST, and what will more than likely draw the most viewers, is Boston at Miami. Wrapping up the night at 10:30 p.m. EST is Dallas at Los Angeles Lakers. I’m here to tell you what you’ll get with each game, and give you a quick prediction (that you should not take into any account, but still, if I’m right, I told you so).

Washington Wizards @ Cleveland Cavaliers

Oh how the mighty have fallen. Well, for Cleveland anyway. We all know this is not the same team that went to the Finals a couple of years ago, and that the Wizards sure as heck aren’t the same team that they were several years ago either. With that out of the way, I have to say I’m quite curious as to why they (the NBA) would go with this game as their lead.

This used to be a “rivarly” (I use that term very loosely, a rivalry insinuates that both teams competed against each other, and Cleveland was never afraid of the Wizards. They had LeBron. The Wizards had Arenas. Seriously. Rivarly? ), but both teams have fallen far from that grace. Upon further analysis, I begin to understand why they are on first (but will be over shadowed by the follow up game).

This game is a great showcase for former first-rounders in John Wall vs. Kyrie Irving. (I’m slightly biased to Irving, he did go to Duke, kind of anyway.) When you look at that, you start to actually think this may be an interesting game, because both of those players are dang good players. I’d pay to watch them, and why not watch them on tv? (Granted, I’m too poor for NBA League Pass, but that’s another story).

Ahh.. when LeBron was King and Arenas was just Agent Zero.

In a one on one, I take Irving any day of the week, in the game I’m probably going to take the Cavaliers. I feel that playing at home, Cleveland is in desperate need of a return to glory, and while one win is a far cry from glory, it sure as heck doesn’t hurt. The Cavs will be playing for their season before they even tip it off. It will be the first time seeing Zeller in a game that matters in the NBA as well.

The Wizards will be throwing their fair share of punches (figuratively of course, no Ron Artest here), make no doubt about that. John Wall will not be going down without a fight, and he’s not going to be alone on the floor. Former champion and great defender Trevor Ariza, as well as reliable (somewhat) center Emeka Okafor.

The most interesting match-up outside of watching the point guards go at it, is with Zeller and Okafor (I know I mention Zeller quite a bit, and believe me, I’m not high on him at all. I’m a Duke fan after all. Honestly, the Cavs just do not have a whole lot going for them, I had to pick something, right?

I won’t give you a point total, unless you make me, but I suppose I can: Cavaliers win 95-84.

Boston Celtics @ Miami Heat

Probably the game that will garner the most views of the night is the re-match of the Eastern Conference Finals in Boston and Miami. This game will be far different from that series, mainly because of both teams baring a new look. For the most part, the main pieces are there (Garnett/Rondo/Pierce-LBJ/Bosh/Wade), but it’s the bench that makes both teams different. In my Eastern Conference previews, I already went through how the teams are different so I won’t delve too much into that here. What I will focus on very quickly is how both teams are going to go about this game.

Not half bad looking in green, right?

Long story short: it’s only one game. The Heat won their first against Boston in the lockout short season of last year: 115-107 and it was at home then as well. Biggest difference is the 28 points that were the high in the game belonged to Ray Allen, who is now (obviously) in a Miami uniform. This will be a great game to watch for the bench, as opposed to the starters.

The starters are going to make their highlight plays, but I want to see how the benches are going to mesh. I like the way Boston looks, but I’m a fan of what Courtney Lee and Terry will do for this team. I just saw an article that this team may have more talent than the championship squad of 07-08, and at first I was skeptical. But this team is much deeper, and I share more respect for Rivers as a coach at this time then I did back on 08. Celtics: 89 Heat: 85. 

Dallas Mavericks @ Los Angeles Lakers

Dallas and the Lakers both have a chip on their shoulder. So, what’s to watch for? I’m curious to watch Nash run the offense without Kobe in a game that “matters”, as well as Dwight Howard playing in an actual game that “matters” as well. I’m curious to see how healthy Dirk is, and how the team preforms with Mayo as opposed to Terry. The bench (even though weak for both teams) is where I want to watch. Who is going to step up for both of these teams, if anyone? We have seen what having a strong bench does for a team, especially in the post-season. Both of these teams are going to end up in the post-season, but are both of these teams going to first round exit? I think the bench holds the key. Same goes for this game.

If you’re making me make a prediction, I’m taking the Lakers, even without Kobe. 99-90 is my final score for them.

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About Curtis Dasch

Curtis Dasch is currently a student at Bowling Green State University, majoring in English. He is a go-to for NBA opinions and knowledge of the intangibles, but enjoys most sports in general. Considered a "jack-of-all-trades," he also hosts a weekly gaming podcast known as Satellite Gaming's Satellcasts.

View all posts by Curtis Dasch

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