I don’t know how you spent your Tuesday night, but since the coronavirus won’t let any of us be great, I hope you stayed your ass home and watched NBA basketball like the rest of us. But in the unfortunate event that you were off running the streets and being a super spreader like a selfish heathen, here’s what you missed during the NBA’s opening night.
First up in the NBA on TNT’s doubleheader was the Golden State Warriors vs. the Brooklyn Nets. For those of us who expected the league to continue to incorporate the grandiose digital boards and virtual fans that made the NBA bubble such a unique experience, we were in for a rude awakening. Instead, the empty Barclay Center stands were covered with black tarps—which was a bit jarring at first, but a much better alternative than the empty rec league look the league was going for during the preseason.
Also noticeably absent in the broadcast presentation was fake crowd noise, which meant fans at home were treated to play-by-play announcer Marv Albert’s loud-ass, heavy-ass breathing into our surround sound systems instead.
As for the game itself, things got ugly quick. With Draymond Green out with a sore right foot and the remaining Warriors seemingly uninterested in even pretending to play defense—or offense—Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre Jr. took turns assaulting the backboard and before I knew it, the Nets were up 40-25 by the end of the first quarter.
It only got uglier from there as flameflower Caris LeVert checked into the game off the bench and proceeded to join in on the vicious curb-stomping.
As for Kevin Durant, who was playing his first game in over a year since he tore his Achilles in the 2019 playoffs, that boy got busy. Not even five minutes into the game, he had 10 points already, but at least he was kind enough to show Steph some love before ripping out his throat.
More importantly, KD had all the confidence in the world as he continues to recover from such a significant injury and had zero hesitancy in crossing niggas up, attacking the rim, or taking charges. If he doesn’t suffer any setbacks and is able to maintain this level of play for the rest of the season, the rest of the league is in serious trouble.
Kyrie did his thing, too, looking explosive as hell while still remaining committed to moving the ball around the court (I know, I couldn’t believe it myself). He finished with 26 points and helped propel the Nets to a 125-99 victory. And afterward, he gave new head coach Steve Nash the game ball.
The second game of the night was between the Lakers and the Temecula Clippers, who have been banished from the kingdom of Los Angeles ever since they embarrassed themselves in the 2020 playoffs.
As for the game, history almost repeated itself with the Clippers allowing their 22-point lead to evaporate into thin air before the team dug deep and stopped the bleeding. Paul George, who’s been fairly criticized for not only his inconsistent play but his lack of accountability in addressing the Clippers’ shortcomings, went the entire fuck off in the second half, knocking down 10 of his 12 shots—four of which were treys—on his way to a 33-point night in the Clippers 116-109 win.
We’ll also pretend this never happened:
Kawhi did the damn thing, too, adding 26 points of his own to give Ty Lue his first win as the Clippers’ new head coach. After the game, Kawhi also addressed whether or not the team is still haunted by their unprecedented collapse in September’s Western Conference Semifinals.
“We aren’t thinking about last year,” he told reporters. “It’s a different team. I’m just happy that we kept playing basketball the right way pretty much. Even if we lost the game, the lead, we turned around, we stayed positive, we kept playing our basketball pretty much. We ran our offense. And that is what I take pride in tonight, that everyone had each other’s back and speaking positive and we kept communicating on the floor and pushed out a win.”
I just need the Clippers to keep that same energy in the playoffs. Because a win on opening night against the Lakers means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme.
All in all, it was a beautiful night of basketball. Let us hope and pray that COVID-19 stays the hell away from the NBA for as long as humanly possible.