A quick check of the latest NBA Finals Champion odds with BetRivers Sportsbook for the new NBA season reveals that the Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers are the favorites with many bookmakers to reach the Finals series.
Well, both are going to have to improve significantly on their season opener, which saw both teams lose to key rivals.
In the early game, the current champions, Milwaukee Bucks got off to a fine start with a dominant 127-104 win over the Nets.
Then in the late game, the Los Angeles Lakers went down to the Golden State Warriors 121-114 despite Anthony Davis and LeBron James combining for 22 rebounds, 7 assists and 77 points between them (Davis hitting 33, James 34).
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Giannis Shines In Season Opener
He may not have been the NBA MVP in the season he finally led the Bucks to the NBA
Championship, but Giannis Antetokounmpo was once again the main man for the Bucks against the Nets.
The Greek Freak landed 14 rebounds, 7 assists and an impressive 32 points in his season opener as he played a key role in the Bucks success.
However, he was ably assisted by Khris Middleton, who despite being linked with a move away during the summer, scored 20 points and landed 9 rebounds and 3 assists. Pat Connaughton also had a useful contribution from the bench scoring 20 points, while Jrue Holiday added 12 points in 18 minutes of action.
The Bucks gained control of the game in the first quarter, opening up 12 point lead and from then they managed to keep the Nets at bay before expanding their margin of victory in the fourth quarter.
It was a truly impressive display by the Bucks, while the Brooklyn Nets fans may well be rueing Kyrie Irving’s decision not to get vaccinated.
Without him, Kevin Durant hit 32 points, 11 rebounds and four assists, with James Harden hitting 20 points with 8 rebounds and 8 assists, while Patty Mills contributed 21 points from the bench.
However, it was, as the New York Post described it “a pretty pathetic effort” from the Nets in their season opener and one which will have fans clamoring for Irving to return.
“It doesn’t get easier from here,” stated James Harden ominously after the game, “which is something we’ve got to embrace.”
Westbrook Struggles As Lakers Lose To Warriors Fightback
Russell Westbrook (pictured) was signed to be the third superstar alongside Anthony Davis and LeBron James, but the new Lakers guard looked anything but as he struggled in the game, scoring just 8 points, with 5 rebounds and 4 assists in what was an inauspicious debut.
Indeed, if it wasn’t for the combined efforts of Davis and James, the Warriors may well have won this game far more comfortably than they did.
What was telling in this game was the difference between the teams. While Davis and James combined for 77 of the Lakers 114 points, the Warriors own NBA superstar Steph Curry had a triple-double night, with 10 rebounds, the same number of assists and 21 points.
He was the Warriors top scorer, as he usually is, but the Warriors saw Jordan Poole land 20 points, while Damion Lee and Nemanja Bjelica contributed 15 apiece off the bench, while Andrew Wiggins and Andre Iguodala both added 12 points each.
That strength in depth served the Warriors well down the stretch as they turned a six point deficit at the half, into just a two point deficit by the start of the fourth quarter and then into a seven-point victory, on the road, at the end of the game.
Sure, the Lakers are a team that do tend to start slowly, but this was a solid and impressive performance by the Warriors who seem set to improve upon their showing last season and once again be a real force in the Western Conference.
More Games Tonight
22 teams get their season underway tonight across 11 matches and of course BetRivers Sportsbook offers a wide range of betting on these games.
- Indiana Pacers @ Charlotte Hornets
- Chicago Bulls @ Detroit Pistons
- Boston Celtics @ New York Knicks
- Washington Wizards @ Toronto Raptors
- Houston Rockets @ Minnesota Timberwolves
- Philadelphia 76ers @ New Orleans Pelicans
- Cleveland Cavaliers @ Memphis Grizzlies
- Orlando Magic @ San Antonio Spurs
- Oklahoma City Thunder @ Utah Jazz
- Sacramento Kings @ Portland Trail Blazers
- Denver Nuggets @ Phoenix Suns
It is going to be interesting to see the new look Chicago Bulls in action and while the Pistons won’t likely test them a huge amount, will we see a Bulls team be competitive in their conference again this season?
The Celtics v Knicks game should also be a cracker, while it is going to be interesting to see how a very young Orlando Magic team play against the tricky San Antonio Spurs.