72 Days Later, The NBA Returns

After COVID-19 led to the longest season in NBA history (354 days), we are back in action just 72 days later, the shortest break in professional sports history.

The Los Angeles Lakers celebrated their championship run with a ring ceremony at an empty Staples Center, but not before KD faced off against his former team—Steph’s Golden State Warriors.

Big Rings

Before getting into the action of last night, can we take a second to appreciate the championship rings the Lakers were presented? Most expensive ring in NBA history, with special tribute to the late Kobe Bryant:

KD and Kyrie Lead The Way

With both of Brooklyn’s stars reaching double digit points in the first six minutes of the game, KD and Kyrie led the Brooklyn Nets to a 1-0 start. Irving scored 24 points in the first half, finishing with 26 PTS on 10-16 shooting. Durant added 22 PTS on 7-16 shooting, as Brooklyn showed off their depth; all 15 team members played at least six minutes, with Caris LeVert adding 20 PTS off the bench.

KD and Kyrie putting on a show, and we should get used to this:

Clippers Spoil Ring Night

After an entertaining ring ceremony that featured appearances from the families of Laker players, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard spoiled ring night, combining for 59 points and a Clippers W. The LA battle featured new faces for both teams; Montrezl Harrell and Dennis Schroder (2020 6MOY and runner-up, respectively) made significant contributions to the LakeShow, while former Raptor Serge Ibaka finished with 15 PTS for the Clippers.

The Battle of Los Angeles will only get better this year, as the Lakers and Clippers return as two of the best teams in the NBA fighting for a championship. Current betting odds via DraftKings have the Lakers at +270 to repeat as champions, with the Clippers tied for second at +550.

The returning champs brought back their main core (LeBron, AD, KCP and Kuzma), added several key role players, but lost several important players in Rondo, Green, Dwight, and Avery Bradley.

The Clippers got rid of Doc Rivers, hired Ty Lue, and are hoping to avenge their embarrassing Western Conference Semifinals loss last year, where they blew a 3-1 lead to the Nuggets in Disney’s Bubble.

PG13 had himself a night, finishing with 33 PTS / 13-18 FG / 6 REB / 3 AST. Watch:

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