NBA Schedule 2010-11: 10 Games We’d Rather See on Opening Night
Pencil in Oct. 26 for the season premier of “Miami Thrice,” starring LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.
After all the free-agency drama and player movements that happened during the NBA offseason, tip-off night between the Heat and Celtics is a must-see. And this time, the showing will be in Beantown.
There’s no better matchup between the three South Beach Boys versus the original Big Three (Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen).
Or is there?
Houston Rockets vs. LA Lakers. Anyone?
While the Heat and Celtics will get all the attention that night, people watching from the Eastern and Central time zones would probably watch the Rockets and Lakers game until half-time, then go to bed.
It would be interesting to watch Ron Artest finally participate in the Lakers’ ring ceremony and former Laker Trevor Ariza watch from the sidelines. Wait, scratch the Ariza part (he got traded).
It would be interesting to see how Yao Ming’s foot is doing.
But the NBA could’ve scheduled a better opening night. Many would rather watch the Lakers play (fill in team’s name).
It’s OK, there’s always the Phoenix Suns and Portland Trailblazers playing that night, too.
Oklahoma City Thunder and L.A. Lakers
What makes the Thunder more interesting to watch than the Rockets on opening night?
For one, the Thunder know how to crash the Red Carpet.
Many didn't anticipate the Thunder to make it that far in last season's first round playoff series with the Lakers.
The Thunder almost pushed a game seven and they proved that the Lakers are beatable. That was enough to boost the confidence of other playoff teams playing the Lakers.
A rematch between the Western Conference's sleeper team and the 2010 NBA Champs would be interesting to watch.
Plus, a Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant match-up (assuming both play shooting guard) would be more exhilarating than Kobe-Kevin Martin.
Orlando Magic and L.A. Lakers
At this point, any opponent for the Lakers seems better to watch than the Rockets.
OK, maybe not any, per se.
But next to the Celtics and Heat, the Magic are one of the threats from the East.
This game would be a rewind of the 2009 NBA Finals.
It could make many nostalgic for the time when they discovered that Dwight Howard really does have humongous shoulders and biceps.
It could make Lakers fans wish they still had Shaquille O’Neal on their team so that Pau Gasol wouldn’t get so banged up by Howard at the post.
Boston Celtics and L.A. Lakers
If only the Celtics could immediately fly over to L.A. after their game with the Heat, and if recovery wasn’t necessary in sports, then opening night would be a sweet treat.
Generally, the best way to open the NBA season would be a rematch of last season’s NBA finals.
The Celtics would be oozing green for revenge, but they’ll have to wait for their chance.
The Celtics haven’t changed much this offseason, except for a couple of wrinkles. There were fears of Paul Pierce and Ray Allen leaving Boston, but they re-signed.
They would love to ruin the night at the Staples Center when the new rings are presented. And Shaq would be back. Boy, would this be great.
But, to fit the televised schedules and to make sure that the Lakers don’t have a three-hour sleep advantage, the NBA did what it had to do in terms of scheduling.
Chicago Bulls and L.A. Lakers
Speaking of time zones, Chicago and L.A. are only a two-hour difference.
But that’s not the only reason why they would be a more viable opponent from the east to challenge the Lakers on opening night.
The Bulls made one of the biggest splashes in free agency and they sure did get bigger with Carlos Boozer.
Overall, the Bulls are a whole new and improved team with Boozer, Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer. But don’t forget rising-stars Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.
Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz
Yes, that's Kyle Korver on the right in a Jazz jersey. This photo is outdated.
How coincidental would it be if the Bulls and Jazz tipped it off on opening night?
The Bulls did strip Utah of their big man, Boozer, and other former-Jazz Korver and Brewer.
Though this matchup wouldn’t exactly be the most anticipated game in the NBA, let alone to start the league’s season, it would be more interesting to watch than the Suns and Trailblazers.
Fans would be treated to watching two of the league’s top point guards (Deron Williams and Derrick Rose) duke it out. And this time, Boozer won't be there for Williams.
Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics
Before the Heat became contenders, the Magic and Celtics were the Eastern Conference powerhouses.
They still are, but now they have to make room for the Heat.
Unfortunately for Orlando, Miami is now the hottest city in Florida and many would rather see the Heat play on Opening Night than the Magic.
Orlando Magic and Miami Heat
What a night it would be in Florida if the NBA chose this instead.
Maybe this game could be played in the Miami Dolphins’ Sun Life Stadium? It would accommodate more fans.
Heck, if the Toronto Raptors and New Jersey Nets get to play in London, then why not?
Obviously because it’s not plausible, but it was just a thought.
Imagine all the fireworks booming with an interstate showdown.
Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat, BUT in Cleveland
As much as many can’t wait to see LeBron return to the city of LeBron-less, where its only claim to fame was being the home of King James, this game will have to wait.
Plus, having the Heat and Cavs jump-start the NBA season would just be a cruel thing to do.
Opening Night is about the game of basketball. Spare all the drama and emotion for later.
Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat
After endlessly courting LeBron and doing as much as they could to widen their cap space, that romance between LeBron and the Bulls was a summer fling.
Plus, the Bulls looked to be the front-runners for both LeBron and Bosh, and even Wade.
But the trio smacked Chicago in the face.
With Rose as the centerpiece, the Bulls are potential sleepers in the East and have been in talks about giving the Heat a run for their money.
L.A. Lakers and Miami Heat
Maybe the NBA schedule-makers didn’t want to release an early preview of the 2011 NBA Finals just yet.
Is it too early to make predictions on the finals?
Anyway, the NBA is saving this game as a Christmas present.