NBA Preseason 2013: Schedule and Predictions for Friday's Action

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NBA Preseason 2013: Schedule and Predictions for Friday's Action
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With the 2013 NBA regular season set to begin on Tuesday, Oct. 29, less than two weeks of preseason basketball remains. Before that date can come, however, the league is going international and expanding in popularity.

Here's what will happen on Friday, Oct. 18 when those games continue.

NBA Preseason Schedule: Friday, Oct. 18
Time (ET) Road Team Home Team TV Venue
7:30 a.m. Los Angeles Lakers Golden State Warriors NBA TV Shanghai, China
7:00 p.m. Memphis Grizzlies Orlando Magic N/A Orlando, Fla.
8:00 p.m. Indiana Pacers Chicago Bulls NBA TV Chicago, Ill.
10:30 p.m. Portland Trail Blazers Los Angeles Clippers NBA TV Los Angeles, Calif.

via NBA.com

Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors

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Date: Friday, Oct. 18

Time: 7:30 a.m. ET

TV: NBA TV

Venue: Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, China

Prediction: Warriors 97, Lakers 92

The Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors will meet in a clash between in-state rivals. With Kobe Bryant sidelined by injury, it's difficult to truly gauge each team's quality of play, but this game will match two of the best offensive point guards in the NBA: Stephen Curry and Steve Nash.

Prepare for what should be an exciting preseason affair.

Which team will win?

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The Warriors are a team with an extraordinarily strong core consisting of Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Andre Iguodala, David Lee and Andrew Bogut. There are questions about whether or not Nemanja Nedovic and Marreese Speights can replace Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry.

If they can, the Warriors will become NBA championship contenders.

With or without Kobe, the Lakers have a postseason-caliber tandem with Nash and Pau Gasol working the low-high attack. An improved supporting cast that includes Wesley Johnson, Chris Kaman and Nick Young should help, but for L.A. to be a notable team, Kobe will need to star again.

We'll see which team is better prepared for the regular season on Friday, Oct. 18.

 

Memphis Grizzlies at Orlando Magic

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Date: Friday, Oct. 18

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET

TV: N/A

Prediction: Magic 84, Grizzlies 77

The Memphis Grizzlies and Orlando Magic are teams with separate identities but similar dreams. Memphis has a core of veterans that are hoping to return to the Western Conference Finals, while Orlando has a cast of rookies looking to reach the postseason.

The question is, which of these teams has a better chance at living up to their differing upsides?

Which team will win?

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The Grizzlies let head coach Lionel Hollins walk after he led the team to the most regular-season wins and the first Western Conference Finals appearance in franchise history. It was a heavily-criticized and still questionable move by an organization that has never produced a consistent winner.

With a cast of veterans that know how to smother an opponent defensively, Memphis will need to start hot in a deep Western Conference.

The Magic are led by the likes of Maurice Harkless, Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic, who all had very strong 2012-13 campaigns. The true focus will be on rookie Victor Oladipo, whose position has yet to be defined.

In this game, we'll see just how well each team is coming together with new key pieces in place.

 

Indiana Pacers at Chicago Bulls

Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Date: Friday, Oct 18

Time: 8:00 p.m. ET

TV: NBA TV

Prediction: Bulls 89, Pacers 80

The Chicago Bulls have already begun to benefit from the return of 2011 MVP Derrick Rose. The Indiana Pacers are pairing one of the best starting lineups in the league with a bench that is dramatically better than a season ago.

We'll get an early look at this vicious rivalry on Friday, Oct. 18.

Which team will win?

Submit Vote vote to see results

The Bulls return Rose to a starting lineup that has three other All-Stars: Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah. Mike Dunleavy adds a much-needed sharpshooter to the bench, and Rose's return provides the fourth-quarter scoring punch that Chicago lacked in 2012-13.

For a team that was without Deng, Kirk Hinrich and D-Rose for a majority of the most recent postseason, reaching the Eastern Conference Semifinals certainly offers reason for encouragement in 2013-14.

The Pacers had a virtually nonexistent bench in 2012-13 but have added the likes of Danny Granger, Luis Scola and C.J. Watson. Granger missed all but five games last season and will offer a significant upgrade along Indiana's perimeter, while Watson's three-point shooting and Scola's post game are welcome additions.

It may be the preseason, but this should be a tension-filled game.

 

Portland Trail Blazers at Los Angeles Clippers

Sam Forencich/Getty Images

Date: Friday, Oct. 18

Time: 10:30 p.m. ET

TV: NBA TV

Prediction: Clippers 88, Trail Blazers 81

The Los Angeles Clippers are a front-runner in the Western Conference after padding their already strong squad with sharpshooters and an elite head coach. The Portland Trail Blazers had a dominant starting lineup in 2012-13, but lacked any form of a reliable second unit.

We'll see which team is more prepared for the regular season on Friday, Oct. 18.

Which team will win?

Submit Vote vote to see results

The Clippers have a star-studded rotation with the likes of Jamal Crawford, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, but have now added the likes of J.J. Redick, Jared Dudley and coach Doc Rivers. Seeing as head coaching and three-point shooting have been two of L.A.'s biggest weaknesses, those are critical additions.

L.A. was a decent 15th in three-point shooting in 2012-13, but the mediocre shooters who exceeded expectations failed to stay strong during the playoffs.

Portland has a starting lineup that consists of Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge. Center is a question mark for Portland, but the addition of players such as Mo Williams and Thomas Robinson should help Portland to cure its bench woes.

It'll be an interesting season for both teams, and this game should gauge how ready each team is to live up to its respective potential.

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