1. NBA Opening Night
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz open their season tomorrow. With the clock ticking, we look at 50 things for Jazz fans to be excited about leading up to the 2021-22 NBA season. Coming in at number one, opening night across the NBA.
Opening Night Across The NBA
The Utah Jazz open their season tomorrow night against the Oklahoma City Thunder, but for die-hard NBA fans, the season officially opens tonight as the Milwaukee Bucks will host the Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers will host the Golden State Warriors.
The Bucks enter the season as the reigning champions but had to make some roster adjustments in the offseason. PJ Tucker who started in the Finals left Milwaukee for Miami while the Bucks added former Jazzmen Grayson Allen, Rodney Hood, and George Hill.
The Nets meanwhile have been embroiled with controversy despite having perhaps the most talented roster in the league. Kyrie Irving will not be with the team to open the season as he has refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine which New York City requires for anyone wanting to attend indoor gyms, including the Barclays Center.
In the evening game, both the Lakers and Warriors are expected to be significantly more competitive this season after LeBron James’ team was eliminated by the Phoenix Suns in the opening round of the playoffs and Steph Curry’s crew lost in the play-in tournament to the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Lakers completely retooled the roster around James and Anthony Davis, including the addition of All-Star Russell Westbrook while the Warriors are expecting Klay Thompson to return to the team early in the season after missing each of the last two campaigns with injuries.
The action really starts Wednesday night when the Jazz host the Oklahoma City Thunder and 22 0f the remaining 26 teams make their season debut.
Only the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta Hawks, and Dallas Mavericks must wait until Thursday to open their seasons.
The Jazz enter the season looking to defend the best record in the NBA and avenge last season’s early playoff exit. The Jazz should be near full strength when they take the floor as everyone on the roster with the exception of newcomer Rudy Gay should be available.
Rookie Jared Butler had a brilliant preseason leading the team in both scorings at 18 points per game and assists at 4.3 per game. The only question now is whether the 10th man in the Jazz rotation can find his way into Quin Snyder’s traditional nine-man rotation.
The Thunder continue their slow rebuild but field a talented team with the outstanding backcourt of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Lu Dort. Gilgeous-Alexander is one of the NBA’s most underrated stars while Dort is a true lockdown defender on the perimeter.
The Thunder will also play former Jazzman Derrick Favors who was sent to OKC in a salary dump by the Jazz over the summer.
Wednesday night’s other premiere games include the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns facing off in a rematch of their Western Conference Semifinal series. The Suns swept the shorthanded Nuggets in four games in a series that included a brawl between the two teams in the series finale.
The Boston Celtics, now with Dennis Schroder and Al Horford will travel to face the New York Knicks who will see Kemba Walker make his Madison Square Garden debut.
Meanwhile, the revamped Chicago Bulls now featuring Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan will travel to Detroit where they will face off against Pistons’ number one overall pick Cade Cunningham.
With the league back in action, opening night across the NBA tops the list as the most exciting storyline entering the 2021-22 season.
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