While we have to wait another 24 hours for the Philadelphia 76ers to retake the court in New Orleans, NBA regular season basketball is back tonight with a highly entertaining TNT doubleheader. Tune in and follow along with the Liberty Ballers community in the comments.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets - 7:30pm ET (TNT)
The reigning NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks are first up on their home court, welcoming the Brooklyn Nets following an Eastern Conference Semifinals series that was about as closely contested as they come. The Bucks prevailed in an overtime Game 7 that would have went differently if Kevin Durant had slightly smaller feet.
Milwaukee has mostly maintained its championship core from a year ago. Grayson Allen has come over from Memphis and will fill out the fifth spot in the starting lineup, as Donte DiVincenzo is still recovering from torn ligaments in his left ankle. The main rotation departure is PJ Tucker, who took his talents to South Beach in free agency.
Of course, Brooklyn has not had nearly as quiet an offseason. As of the time being, Kyrie Irving will not be playing for the Nets, with his being ineligible for home games due to New York City’s vaccine requirements and the team stating it didn’t want him as a “part-time player” this season. However, Brooklyn is as well-equipped as anyone to move forward without a player of Kyrie Irving’s ability, with superstars Kevin Durant and James Harden still around to carry the offensive load and a deep roster behind them. The Nets brought in veterans Patty Mills, Paul Millsap, and James Johnson, and LaMarcus Aldridge is back from medical retirement after receiving clearance to return.
These two teams are clearly the class of the Eastern Conference. Sixers fans should tune in to get an idea where the local team stacks up.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors - 10:00pm ET (TNT)
In the late game, we have another marquee matchup of teams that met last postseason, albeit in the play-in game. The Lakers won that contest by three points on a late LeBron James triple, and will look to have a similar result in the first game of their new 360 era, with Russell Westbrook joining LeBron and Anthony Davis. Plenty of folks are skeptical that Westbrook’s ball-dominant ways are a good match in Los Angeles; we’ll get a first look at how much validity there is to those concerns. Like Brooklyn, LA brought in a number of ring-chasing veterans — DeAndre Jordan, Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo, to name a few — and the Lakers are easily the oldest roster in the league. Time will tell whether that’s a strength or a weakness.
Meanwhile, Golden State will be trying to avoid squandering another year of Steph Curry’s prime. The Warriors have seemed undecided about serving the remaining holdovers from their championship teams and pushing forward with a youth movement. Youngsters like James Wiseman and Jonathan Kuminga aren’t helping Golden State maximize their title chances this season. Objectively, everyone just wants to see Klay Thompson back on the court for the first time since December 2018, but that’s at best a month or two away. The Splash Brothers deserve one last run together. For tonight, though, it’ll be fun to see Steph continue his one-man band routine on the offensive end.
Enjoy the action!