This time last season, we were in the midst of an NBA lockout and the regular season eventually didn’t begin until Christmas Day. This season will tip off on time as Tuesday holds a trio of games – although one will stand above the rest.
Washington and Cleveland will get things started in a battle of two teams trying to show growth. Meanwhile, Boston heads to Miami in a matchup of hated rivals and that animosity should be ratcheted up a notch because of one player’s move from Beantown to South Beach. In the nightcap, the Los Angeles Lakers welcome Dallas to the Staples Center but both teams could be without their franchise players due to injury.
Washington Wizards @ Cleveland Cavaliers
NBA Betting Lines: Cavaliers -5.5
Neither of these two teams have high expectations for the 2012-13 regular season and they should be just aiming to get better for the future. The Wizards will be without point guard John Wall, who is rehabbing a knee injury and he is the key to their improvement this season. If he can take better care of the ball (Wall led the league in turnovers last season), Washington will get better. The Cavaliers have their own star at the point in Kyrie Irving, who broke his hand this summer, but he’ll be ready to go on Tuesday. This could be a sloppy game to watch, but there will also be a couple of “WOW” plays as well.
Pick: Cavaliers -5.5
Boston Celtics @ Miami Heat
NBA Betting Lines: Heat -6
Ray Allen’s move to Miami may been the biggest of the offseason and it angered many involved with the Celtics, from fellow players to fans and everyone in between. That makes this first rematch between last season’s Eastern Conference finalists that much more highly anticipated as the Heat begin their defense of their conference and league titles. Against the Celtics, we saw LeBron James really assume his role as the “King” of the league and his 45-15-5 in Game 6 in Boston may be the defining point of his career to date. But even he’ll take a backseat to Allen’s first game against his former teammates.
Pick: Heat -6
Dallas Mavericks @ Los Angeles Lakers
NBA Betting Lines: N/A
The Mavericks will go into the regular season without their star, Dirk Nowitzki, who is still making his way back from knee surgery and he’ll be out for a while yet. The new-look Lakers could be without Kobe Bryant, who is being bothered by an ailing foot and he could sit out the first few games of the season as well. The Lakers made some monster splashes in the offseason by swooping in for Steve Nash and Dwight Howard and even though it was a bit of a rocky preseason, that hasn’t stopped the Lakers from being named the favorites in the West, especially after Oklahoma City dealt James Harden to Houston. Meanwhile, the Mavericks swung and missed in their attempts to land Nash, Howard and their big target, Deron Williams, who signed with Brooklyn.
Pick: Mavericks To Cover, Lakers To Win