Jonesing for your pro hoops fix? The new NBA season tips off on Oct. 19 on TNT with a star-studded doubleheader featuring the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks hosting the Brooklyn Nets in Beer City, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors in Hollywood.
The NBA intends to play a full season of 82 games for the 2021-22 season compared to the 72 games it played during a reduced schedule last season. The 2019-20 season was delayed due to the shutdowns of American pro sports in March 2020 when COVID-19 escalated. The NBA restarted five months later inside a bubble at Disneyworld in August. The 2020 NBA playoffs ran from August through early October.
The 2020-21 NBA season began on Dec. 22, approximately 10 weeks after the Lakers won the 2020 NBA championship. Many coaches and players were irked by the quick turnaround, which many say contributed to several big stars being injured during the season, with mounting casualties by the time the playoffs rolled around.
Many pundits and fans vocalized their ire that the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns were only in the NBA Finals because both teams took advantage of injured opponents. The Bucks defeated a shorthanded Brooklyn Nets team in which two-thirds of their Big 3 suffered injuries in the Eastern Conference finals. The Phoenix Suns took advantage of a Lakers squad without Anthony Davis in the first round, and then defeated the LA Clippers without Kawhi Leonard in the Western Conference finals.
Brooklyn Nets at Milwaukee Bucks
Kevin Durant won a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, but he really wanted to win another NBA title. The Nets are motivated to maintain their health next season in pursuit of a championship. Not that they need any extra juice to get pumped up, but watching the Milwaukee Bucks get presented their championship rings should fire them up on opening night.
Meanwhile, Antetokounmpo and the Bucks want to prove they weren’t a fluke, and there’s no better way to shut up the trolls than to beat Brooklyn’s Big 3 at full strength to tip-off the new season. Oddsmakers opened the first game of the season as a pick’em between the Bucks and Nets.
The Nets are consensus favorites to win the 2022 NBA championship. According to DraftKings, the Nets are +210 odds to win the title while the Bucks are +850 odds to win back-to-back championships.
Golden State Warriors at LA Lakers
The NBA minted money hyping up LeBron James versus Steph Curry over the last decade. The Warriors have suffered a couple of difficult seasons with injuries to the Splash Brothers. Now, with Klay Thompson finally recovering from a torn ACL and blown Achilles, the Warriors want to return to their championship glory.
The Lakers vastly improved their squad from last season. They added Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony to the mix. Will LeBron be able to keep everyone’s egos in check to help him win one more title for the Lakers? We’ll get a sneak preview with the second game of the tip-off doubleheader on TNT.
Oddsmakers see the Lakers as a -4.5 favorite over the Warriors on opening night. The Lakers are +380 odds to win the 2022 NBA title and the second-highest favorite on the NBA futures board. The Warriors are +1000 odds to win the championship.