The NBA season tip-offed last night with some excited games between the Lakers and Mavericks and the Heat and Celtics, but the real regular season schedule begins today as 16 NBA clubs make their 2012-2013 season debuts. NBA fans, it’s time to celebrate and bettors, it’s time to place your bets. Here are three games from today’s slate you won’t want to miss.
Houston Rockets at Detroit Pistons
One game on today’s schedule that has suddenly become more intriguing is the Houston-Detroit matchup. Linsanity certainly upped the watchable factor for this one before the season began, but the latest trade sending James Harden to Houston has increased interest even more. The Rockets look like a team determined to make a run in the West this season and they begin that quest in Detroit against the Pistons.
There will be some question marks surrounding both teams entering today’s contest. For the Rockets it will be chemistry and for the Pistons it will be youthful inexperience. I think the Rockets are the more talented team and in the long haul of the NBA season will be better, but they will probably have some kinks to work out with their new acquisitions. Look for Detroit to cover -3 at home today and start off the season with a win.
San Antonio Spurs at New Orleans Hornets
Unlike many of the teams featured here, the San Antonio Spurs are relatively unchanged from last season and why would they want to fix something that isn’t broken? This is the team that has led the league in regular season wins two years in a row. Meanwhile, the Hornets will debut another youthful front five that includes top draft pick Anthony Davis this year. Davis already excited NBA fans while helping the Kentucky Wildcats to a NCAA Championship last season, but he added to the hype by averaging nearly a double-double (14.9 points and 9.9 rebounds) during the NBA preseason.
This matchup is youth versus experience and although the Hornets have a lot of buzz (pun intended) surrounding them this season, expect nothing less than a easy win for the Spurs today. The Hornets definitely have potential and should be vastly improved this season, but the Spurs will undoubtedly be one of the best teams in the league again. Take San Antonio to cover -6.5 points today.
Los Angeles Lakers at Portland Trail Blazers
We will see if the Lakers can bounce back off last night’s loss and see how Kobe Bryant will holdup after playing on his sprained right foot against the Mavericks. Bryant and the Lakers’ new additions actually played quite well, but the Mavericks bench outscored LA’s and it was enough to make the difference. Tonight the Blazers will look to start their season right give the Lakers an 0-2 record.
We saw how effective Dwight Howard, Bryant and Pau Gasol can be in the offense last night, but the Lakers will need more production out of Antawn Jamison and Steve Blake tonight to beat Portland. The Blazers are returning most of their squad from last season, including LaMarcus Aldridge and Nic Batum, but they will introduce J.J. Hickson and rookie point guard Damian Lillard to the home fans tonight. I have to say I like Portland’s balance of experience and youth and I think playing two nights in a row will be tough on the Lakers and on Bryant’s foot. Look for Portland to get the win here.