Ladies and gentlemen, THE NBA IS BACK. After four long months of waiting, basketball has returned. Though there were just three games to set off the 2016-2017 NBA season, we got a bit of everything. Highlights, lowlights, hot-takes, all around play, a scoring outburst or two. It was fun. If you missed out on some, or all of the action like I did (I didn’t watch the down-to-the-wire Jazz @ Portland game because I was too busy watching San Antonio blow out Golden State) then this piece is for you.
Knicks @ Cleveland
LeBron James overcame everything when he led the Cleveland Cavaliers out of a 3-1 deficit to win the 2016 NBA Finals. Before their season opener versus the New York Knicks, they were properly recognized for bringing the city their first professional sports title in 52 years.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) October 26, 2016
24-karat 3-1 trolling right there… (via Richard Jefferson’s snapchat) pic.twitter.com/OUyKdeWaDV
— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) October 26, 2016
Once the game got rolling, so did the highlights.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) October 26, 2016
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) October 26, 2016
The game was close throughout the first half, but by the end of the third quarter it was obvious that Cleveland wasn’t losing on ring night. The Cavs would go on to win by 29 points in a 117-88 victory.
Cavs’ Big Three:
LeBron: 19-11-14 with 1 block, 9-14 FG shooting, in 32 minutes
Irving: 29 points (in 3 quarters!!!), 12-22 FG (4-7 from 3), in 30 minutes
Love: 23-12, 6-16 FG (9-12 FT), in 25 minutes
Fun facts: This was LeBron first triple-double on a NBA opening night and the 43rd one of his career. Also, he had 14 assists, but had a potential 26 over the course of the game.
The Knicks had some standout players as well. Carmelo Anthony led the charge with 19 points, and was hot in the first quarter with 11 points. Kristaps Porzingis had 16 points, 7 rebounds, and swatted 2 shots.
Jazz @ Portland
Portland would set an NBA record with 16 straight home opener victories when they bested the Jazz in a nail biting game 113-104.
Damian Lillard led Portland to victory with with 39 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists. His fellow back-court member CJ McCollum had 25 points to add on.
Utah, however, didn’t go down without a fight. Joe Johnson, Rodney Hood, and George Hill combined for 74 points! The Stifle Tower, Rudy Gobert, contributed as well, with 12 points and 14 rebounds.
The circumstances of Utah’s defeat can be considered to be an outlier.
Jazz were down Hayward and Favors, Blazers hit 13-19 from three, and this game was still decided in the final two minutes. Utah is good
— Adithya (@brownasthenight) October 26, 2016
Of course, I’m not taking credit away from Dame, CJ, and the Blazers. The Jazz put up a great fight!
Spurs @ Golden State
Reminder: The defending champions won by 29 last night. The team that lost to the defending champions lost by 29 last night.
Outside of Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry (53 points, 20-36 FG, 4-13 4FG) the Warriors looked ugly. They were lost with the passes, and some of the half court sets looked very weird. They were sloppy with the ball (19 turnovers), missed open lay-ups, bricked 3-pointers (7-33, 21.2%), and were banished on the boards (55-35 in favor of San Antonio).
Durant’s first game as a Warrior may have been spoiled, but he himself thought it was much needed for him and the team.
The Warriors can’t get caught sleeping this season! 😴 pic.twitter.com/2zRl556vTQ
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 26, 2016
And, don’t forget, he had a good individual night.
KD’s stat line last night:
27 pts, 10 rbs, 4 ast, 2 blk, 2 stl, 0 tov, 61.1 FG%
Since 1983-84, this has been done only 7 other times.
— Liam (@KDsIntellect) October 26, 2016
But of course, a Warriors loss would lead to ridiculous questions such as…
POLL: Has Kevin Durant made the Warriors worse?
— First Take (@FirstTake) October 26, 2016
Then there was Kawhi.
He dominated on both sides of the ball yesterday. Five steals says more than enough on his defense, but look at the fluidity that he had on offense. Attacking the rim, a couple post plays, getting to the line, shooting off the dribble, some catch-and-shoot. He did everything. With Tim Duncan’s retirement last year, Ginobili being 39 on a one-year contract, and Parker at age 34, Kawhi will definitely have to carry the team a bit this season. If he has another jump inside of him I’m excited for it.
LaMarcus Aldridge was in mid-season form to the tune of 29 points last night as well.
A special shout-out to Jonathan Simmons for his play yesterday. 20-3-4 in 28 minutes off the bench!
Today the media asked Russell Westbrook about the game yesterday. He wasn’t biting.
Russell Westbrook enlightens us with what he did last night (it did not include watching a certain basketball game): pic.twitter.com/IYuVaSmCjb
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) October 26, 2016
The Cavs will be defending this title, the Death Star Warriors need to figure their team out, and the Russell Revenge Tour begins tonight. I’m here for it. I’m here for all of it. Welcome back NBA. I missed you so much.