The NBA Returns

The NBA returns tonight with two matchups that feature both the Eastern and Western conference champions. The Boston Celtics take on the Philadelphia 76ers at 6:30 PM (CT) and the defending champions the Golden State Warriors take on the Los Angeles Lakers later in the night at 9:00 PM (CT). While the Bulls don’t get to kick off the NBA season, they will start their season with a highly competitive matchup in Miami on Wednesday night.

A Tone Setting Matchup

The Chicago Bulls struggled last season against top tier competition. Well, they’re opening up their season on the road against a Miami Heat team that finished as the first seed in the Eastern conference a year ago. This matchup is a huge opportunity for the Bulls to set a tone that they are ready for tough competition. A win in Miami to start the season would be a huge confidence boost for a Bulls team that is lacking a key role player (Lonzo Ball) for at least the first few months of the season.

The Key to Victory

For the Bulls to come away victorious in this matchup, Ayo Dosunmu must show that he is ready to take over the starting point guard position by providing consistent play that the Bulls can rely on. Billy Donovan has yet to name the starting power forward for the Bulls season opener, but stated that it will either be Javonte Green or Patrick Williams. Javonte Green provided excellent play in the preseason, showing hustle and effort on every play, while Patrick Williams was able to show his scoring skills in the final preseason game. Either way, whoever starts will have to show high energy and hustle to be effective on the defensive end and rebound over Miami’s big front court. Zach LaVine and Demar DeRozan will have to carry the offensive load and set the tone as the two primary scorers on the roster. Vucevic will have to show that he has improved defensively to be able to hold Bam Adebayo in check. The bench unit will have to show that they can score the ball. Last season, the starters weren’t able to rely on the bench to consistently get stops and score on the offensive end, which lead to an increased deficit when the starters re-entered the game. Expect an entertaining, high level basketball game between two teams that want to set the tone early tomorrow night.

Photo: David Banks/USA TODAY Sports

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