The 2013 NBA season kicks off on the 10 year-anniversary of LeBron James’ first career game with a renewal of one of the league’s best rivalries. The Chicago Bulls will take on the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena at 8 p.m.
This game is not only the first primetime game of the season, but it also marks the much-anticipated return of Bulls’ superstar point guard Derrick Rose.
The Heat and Bulls always put on a dramatic performance. LeBron and the Heat are trying to get off to a strong start in hopes of making their fourth consecutive NBA Finals appearance and to win their third straight championship. Rose is playing his first regular season game since having reconstructive surgery on his ACL. The Heat are putting their newest championship banner in the rafters. All of those things are the ingredients to make tonight’s game an NBA classic.
After Rose’s phenomenal preseason, the hype has never been bigger for the former league MVP. Rose has something to prove and after sitting out the entire year 2012-2013, he might be the healthiest he has been in his career.
With the exception of Jimmy Butler, the Bulls’ starting five is the same as it was the last time Rose was healthy. It will be interesting to see if Butler can continue to build on the impressive breakout season he had last year in the absence of Rose.
Rose will need time to get back into the groove of things not only with the starting players, but also with the new group of role players the Bulls signed in free agency. The familiar faces of Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, Omer Asik and CJ Watson are gone and have been replaced with guys like Mike Dunleavy, Kirk Hinrich, Tony Snell and Marquis Teague.
Rose is sure to put on an impressive performance, but that will not be enough to get the Bulls a victory tonight.
First off, the Heat haven’t lost a home opener since losing to the Detroit Pistons 91-80 during the 2007-2008 season.
Also, the Heat are deeper than they have ever been, adding free agents Greg Oden and Michael Beasley into a rotation that was already nine men deep. Oden might not see a lot of time tonight, but if he does he will be able to help neutralize Joakim Noah’s impact on the boards.
LeBron James is playing the best basketball of his career and is continuing to improve his game. LeBron showed that his newest improvement is his turnaround jump shot, something that he has struggled with in recent seasons.
James seems to be excited about tonight's matchup, even taking to twitter to get Heat fans excited for tonight.
Dwyane Wade received a decent amount of playing time during the preseason, which is very encouraging. Wade’s problematic knees seem to be fully healthy for the first time since the Big Three assembled itself.
Chris Bosh is playing, like the other two members of the Big Three, for a new contract. It appeared as if Bosh’s production would begin to decrease after he struggled in the NBA Finals, but a rejuvenated Bosh had a very productive preseason shooting the ball and on the boards. Bosh’s ability to stretch the defense, especially when the frontcourt consists of Noah, Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson always pays dividends in games like this.
Expect this matchup to be a battle. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see both LeBron James and Derrick Rose score above 30 points and even have a triple double.
Prediction: Heat 102, Bulls 97