The 72nd season of the National Basketball Association (NBA) will tip off on Wednesday with regular season games and end on April 11, 2018 while the playoffs will begin on April 14, 2018. This was done to reduce the number of “back-to-back” games, reduce travel stress and provide players with more recovery time. Action starts a week earlier for the 2017-18 NBA regular season unlike other seasons, and will be extended by a full week. Teams will no longer play four games in five nights marking the first time in the NBA’s 72-year history with no four-in-fives.
In the opening night, 2016 champions Cleveland Cavaliers are scheduled to host Boston Celtics at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio while reigning champions, Golden State Warriors face Houston Rockets later that day. Warriors will raise their second championship banner in three seasons presented with their championship rings.
For the first time, there will be no coaching changes but during the off season, there were retirements.
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*In July, Paul Pierce officially retired as a Celtic after playing 19 seasons and winning one championship with the Celtics.
* James Jones was announced to be the vice president of basketball operations for the Phoenix Suns, which signified his retirement after playing 14 seasons and winning two championships with the Miami Heat and one championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
*In August, Jason Maxiell and Tayshaun Prince officially retired after playing 14 and 15 seasons respectively for Detroit Pistons.
*On September 2, 2017, Primož Brezec announced his retirement after 21 professional seasons.
Golden State Warriors
After their second NBA title in three years, the Golden State Warriors will possibly continue to make history. Key thing for the Warriors is that they were able to retain key members of the squad with an upgraded bench. With Fatigue the only factor that might stand in their way to another title.
The Cavs were busy during the offseason as they signed Dwyane Wade, had Veteran NBA free agents Jose Calderon, Jeff Green and Derrick Rose all were added in July. The biggest news came at the end of August when Cleveland honoured All-Star guard Kyrie Irving’s trade request in exchange for Isaiah Thomas. Left to be seen if Thomas will replicate Irving’s qualities at Cleveland.
Oklahoma City Thunder
OKC rejuvenated bringing in two new All-star players Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Russell Westbrook now has the biggest contract in the league as he signed a $205, five-year extension deal weeks ago. Mr triple-double as he is fondly called, has the two all-star players to help him in his quest for a title but the ability to play together will go a long way to determine if they want to knock off the Warriors in the Western Conference.
The Houston Rockets.
James Harden and his teammates were a beauty to watch last season and could be more after adding Chris Paul in the summer. If the Warriors for some reason falter, the Rockets need to be ready to capitalise.With a roster that isn’t as deep as it was last season, the Rockets will be counting on their supremely gifted backcourt to help them surpass last season’s 55 wins.
Kyrie Irving wanted his own team so he had to move on. Playing alongside Gordon Hayward, and Al Horford is sure going to be interesting how they intend to topple LeBron and his Cavs in the Conference finals.
The 2017-18 NBA season finally tips off tonight with an epic doubleheader. Cleveland Cavaliers will square off Boston Celtics in an Eastern Conference Finals rematch, followed by the 2017 champions Golden State Warriors raising a banner ahead of their meeting with an improved Houston Rockets squad.
Former Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving returns to face his former team in front of a hostile crowd at Quicken Loans Arena. But unfortunately for the Cavs, LeBron James might not feature due to an injured left ankle which he suffered in practice on September 27. J.R Smith is expected to replace him in the starting five.