The 2017-2018 NBA season is upon us, and I speak on behalf of millions of basketball fans when I say that this opening night has a little more excitement than we might imagine. As if opening night doesn’t bring enough excitement to the fans, it will surely spoil the new showdown between the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cavs suffered a series of losses in the final quarter of the season, giving up the top spot to the Boston Celtics heading into the NBA Playoffs in 2017. That didn’t seem to matter, as they nearly swept every team in their path. , surrendering. just one loss to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals.
While the Cavs have a guy named LeBron James to attribute much of their success to, it could be argued that Kyrie Irving also played a key role in his three consecutive NBA Finals appearances. After all, he made a 3-pointer over Stephen Curry to give the Cavs the lead in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, ultimately helping them win the championship.
Kyrie asked for a trade and moved to Boston for the summer, making this conference rivalry a personal matter. Look at the moment when he found out that the trade took place.
Given that Kyrie asked the Cavs for a trade, people might think that Cleveland’s fanbase will be hostile towards him when he visits the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland tonight. According to an interview with Rachel Nichols, Lebron and D-Wade think “everyone is going to be fine” when it comes to all the players coming home from trade this summer. Judging by his tone, there will never be a more hostile environment than when Lebron first returned to Cleveland. “They were throwing batteries at us,” says Lebron. See the full interview below:
– Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) October 17, 2017
Because of all the success that Kyrie Irving helped bring to the city of Cleveland, his fans will be extremely welcoming. But whether they say this on camera or not, that personal revenge still exists on the court to some extent, and it will be exciting to see what happens when they are together on the court.
The details of the exchange are as follows (ESPN):
- Boston Celtics acquire Kyrie Irving
- The Cleveland Cavaliers acquire Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick in 2018.
This trade raises a number of questions:
- What will the chemistry of each team be like?
- Which team is better after the trade, Celtics or Cavs?
- Will Jazz be irrelevant again?
- Will Lebron leave Cleveland AGAIN?
Tonight’s game is just a small event that will help us answer these questions, except the one related to Jazz; the answer is “yes, they will be irrelevant again.”
Honestly, both teams face challenges as the season progresses. The team’s chemistry problems are going to be present, on both sides, without a doubt. These issues are only temporary and will be fixed as the season progresses. In terms of who “won” this trade? Again, only time will tell.
In addition to chemistry issues, the Celtics also face a leadership challenge. His lineup was the one that changed the most in this exchange, and that can alter leadership dynamics in big ways. However, head coach Brad Stevens developed a deeper chemistry, on and off the court, with Gordon Hayward. As Hayward’s head coach at Butler University, Stevens knows him and his style of play very well, because it helped him become the player he is today. Sometimes those meaningful relationships can affect communication within a team in a good way, which will definitely be the case in this scenario.
On the other side of the coin, the Cavaliers face leadership and chemistry issues at a similar level. The Celtics and Cavs traded bases, only for Isaiah Thomas to be out until January with a hip injury. Meanwhile, they have an injury-prone former MVP in Derrick Rose coming forward to start, with José Calderón coming off the bench. The underlying stories between these two teams will make for an interesting Eastern conference showdown, to say the least, as it adds a bit more mystery than in recent years.
And in case you were waiting for my thoughts on Lebron’s trip to Los Angeles, here you go. There have been rumors that Lebron will migrate to Los Angeles for the 2018 season. As a Lakers fan, that would be extremely exciting. However, any of the Los Angeles teams would be up for debate if that situation arises. The idea is that you have a home in Los Angeles, your family is there, so you may want to be closer to your family at the end of your basketball career to help further develop your talented youngsters. Personally, I don’t think it’s going to happen. I also believe that whether you decide to go to Los Angeles or not, you will give Cleveland everything you have while you are there.
Now that we’ve got all that crap out of the way, here’s a look at the starting lineups for tonight’s showdown:
Boston Celtics (ESPN)
- Kyrie Irving (7th year / PG)
- Jaylen Brown (Rookie / SG)
- Gordon Hayward (8th year / SF)
- Marcus Morris (7th year / PF)
- Al Horford (11th year / C)
Cleveland Cavaliers (ESPN)
- Derrick Rose (9th year / PG)
- Dwyane Wade (15th year / SG)
- Lebron James (15th year / SF)
- Jae Crowder (6th year / FP)
- Kevin Love (10th year / C)
Coverage begins on TNT at 7 pm ET, the game begins at 8 pm ET.
Well, who do you have? Join the discussion about Twitter or Facebook!
Be sure to check out my recap of the second game on the NBA doubleheader on TNT as the Chris Paul-led Houston Rockets take on Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors.