NBA Opening Night Schedule 2013: Complete Viewing Guide and Predictions
The 2013-14 NBA season finally begins Tuesday night with three games, two of which will be nationally televised.
Hardcore hoops junkies and casual fans alike aren’t going to want to miss a minute of this thrilling action, as these contests promise to be some of the year’s best.
Let’s take a look at this trio of matchups, highlight where you can watch them and make some predictions about the outcome.
|Matchup||Time (ET)||Away TV||Home TV||Nat. TV||Prediction|
|Orlando at Indiana||7 p.m.||FSFL||FSMW||IND|
|Chicago at Miami||8 p.m.||TNT||MIA|
|LA Clippers at LA Lakers||10:30 p.m.||TNT||LAC|
Orlando Magic at Indiana Pacers
This will be the only game relegated to local television during the season opener, but fans in Indiana and Orlando—along with League Pass adopters—will want to tune in to catch this 7 p.m. ET tipoff prior to the TNT doubleheader.
Indiana is going to be one of the Eastern Conference’s top teams this year and will be looking to push the Miami Heat for the No. 1 seed come playoff time. With the conference finals going the distance this past spring, home-court advantage will be critical.
Which team will win this game?
Unfortunately, the team will be without Danny Granger for this game and over the first three weeks. The oft-injured swingman is sitting out with a strained left calf, per ESPN.
Orlando is kicking off the second year of its post-Dwight Howard rebuilding effort and could make some major strides. With young, upcoming talents like Nikola Vucevic, Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris and others on the roster, the Magic could surprise in 2013-14.
Expect the Pacers to win this one handily, as they have more experience and more on the line, but Orlando will eventually turn some heads and should finish better than expected.
Prediction: Pacers 97 – Magic 86
Chicago Bulls at Miami Heat
This is the marquee matchup of the night, as two Eastern Conference powerhouses clash in what could be one of the best battles of the campaign.
Derrick Rose is slated to make his much-anticipated regular-season return in this one, and it could not come at a better time. With four scheduled meetings between these two fierce rivals, every single outcome will be critical.
D-Rose will be expected to play at a high level immediately and provide a spark on offense to a team that survived almost exclusively on its ability to lock down the opposition in 2012-13.
If the Bulls can bring that sort of defensive intensity to South Beach on Tuesday and get a scoring explosion from Rose, they could definitely win this one.
That is much easier said than done, as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are back and hungry for a third straight title. They have a revamped supporting cast that features more size and should be able to trade blows with the Bulls down low.
Anything could happen when these fierce competitors step onto the court, so make sure you flip over to TNT at 8 p.m. ET to catch all the action.
Prediction: Heat 95 – Bulls 94
Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers
The battle for Los Angeles will rage as soon as the new season gets underway, but the Lakers will be missing one of their top weapons.
His absence will make it tough for the Lakers to remain competitive, especially against some of the Western Conference’s top teams—one of which is the Clippers.
This squad brought in some new pieces and has an immense hunger after falling in the first round of the playoffs last year.
The Clips brass jettisoned head coach Vinny Del Negro and replaced him with Doc Rivers, formerly of the Boston Celtics. The Clippers also upgraded their three-point shooting by bringing in J.J. Redick, brought in a versatile swingman in Jared Dudley and bolstered the frontcourt by signing Antawn Jamison and Byron Mullens.
Considering the Lakers' most notable offseason move was the defection of superstar center Dwight Howard, things look bleak for the Purple and Gold in 2013-14. Expect them to start the year with a loss and continue to spiral downward until the Mamba finally returns.
Prediction: Clippers 102 – Lakers 93
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