We’re nearing the start of the 2022-23 NBA season, and with that comes the release of the schedule, which is expected to be completely unveiled on Wednesday, per Marc Stein. Already we know the five Christmas Day matchups, featuring stars like Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Luka Doncic and Giannis Antetokounmpo, and now we know both games for opening night on Oct. 18.
The Golden State Warriors will host the Los Angeles Lakers, with the Boston Celtics hosting the Philadelphia 76ers on opening night, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. The Lakers and Warriors played on opening night a season ago, but that game, a Warriors win, was played in Los Angeles. This time, as the Warriors are the defending champions, they will start the season at home and receive their championship rings with the Lakers in attendance.
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As of right now, this game is a mismatch. The Warriors are the defending champions. The Lakers missed the postseason a year ago and have made no significant changes to their roster… yet. They are in pursuit of Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving, an opponent the Warriors know well. He was the one who hit the series-winning shot that ended Golden State’s bid for consecutive championships in 2016. Whether Irving is available or not, the Lakers are still pursuing trades to move off of Russell Westbrook, their disappointing addition of a season ago.
Whether or not the Lakers are able to improve, James vs. Curry is the draw here. With both in their 30s, they don’t have too many battles left against one another. Each one should be cherished by the fans. Those who attend this one in San Francisco certainly will. They could ask for no better opponent after receiving their 2022 championship rings than the man they beat to win it all in 2015, 2017 and 2018.
In the other matchup of the evening, we’ll get to see two of the Eastern Conference’s best teams face off in what could be a preview of the East finals. The Celtics are hoping to build upon last season’s success, which ended after Curry and the Warriors toppled them in the NBA Finals. With new additions of Malcolm Brogdon to the backcourt, and Danilo Gallinari off the bench, Boston should be in prime position to make another deep playoff run.
The same goes for their opponent on opening night in the Sixers, who are hoping that a full season of Joel Embiid and James Harden will be enough to get them over the hump of falling short of their championship aspirations. Ironically enough, both of these teams are rumored to be linked to landing superstar forward Kevin Durant in a possible trade from the Brooklyn Nets. If Durant lands with either team before opening night, it’ll only make this matchup more enticing to watch.