Golden State and Boston, the two big favourites for the title, began their season with wins over Oklahoma City and Philadelphia. Stephen Curry and Jayson Tatum made their mark on this first North American Basketball night.
The game : Stephen Curry wears the doubles champions in title
Stephen Curry warned that the championship ring ceremony is still a ” weird night.” Special, indeed, because it crowns the victors. But strange because it rewards a title won four months earlier. Players need to “savour the moment, feed on the energy of the room, then put the Rings away, warm up for just two minutes and then play an NBA game against a white-hot opponent after attending the party,” says the double MVP. The conditions are therefore not optimal to attack the season. This can give a false rhythm. Golden State managed to avoid the trap to win against Oklahoma City but it was not without difficulty (108-100).
Paradoxically, the Warriors pretty much attacked the game against the Thunder that night. They were already leading by eight points after a quarter and then by ten in the half. But things got tough on the way back from the locker room. Because Paul George suddenly caught fire after a catastrophic first period (1/8 shots in the first 24 minutes). The Oklahoma City star, orphaned of a recovering Russell Westbrook after knee surgery at the end of the summer, took on her responsibilities. PG scored six shots in a row, three of them behind the bow, to bring his team back into contact. The Thunder even returned to the front, pushing Steve Kerr to take a time out (66-69).
George scored 15 of his 26 points in the third quarter time. But he found out he was stronger than he was. Superstar high. Curry announced the color by dazzling his class party (32 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists). The leader converted his first five shots behind the line to three points. He was everywhere, all the time and especially when the Warriors needed to score to stop the bleeding or get away. Enough to erase Klay Thompson’s clumsiness (5/20) or Kevin Durant’s passing erasure (27 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists anyway). The defending double champions ended up winning the game by managing the end of the game. It should be noted, however, that the Thunder showed the announced bench depth (without Westbrook and Andre Roberson) and that Stephen Curry is already well into his legs.
The player: Jayson Tatum on his way to glory
It’s just a game, the very first, but maybe he’ll set the tone for the season. Jayson Tatum has regained the momentum of his latest playoffs. The 20-year-old winger was the Celtics ‘ top scorer in the Conference finals lost on the wire (3-4) against the Riders of LeBron James in late May. That night, he was the most dominant basketball player on a Boston team that was loaded with talent. The brightest star in the constellation. The lone starting goal for the season kickoff, Tatum finished with 23 points to 9/17 on shots while adding 9 rebounds in just 29 minutes. He led Boston to victory over Philadelphia (105-87).
He may not be the first offensive option every night. But the sophomore is already ready to take on the role of luxury lieutenant. Maybe a little more. Let’s take the chance to get wet and see big: there’s a potential All-Star at 20 points per game this season. This first entry in the matter was just a mouthful.
Le joueur: Jayson Tatum en route vers la gloire
C’est juste un match, le tout premier, mais peut-être qu’il donnera le ton pour la saison. Jayson Tatum a repris l’élan de ses dernières séries éliminatoires. L’ailier de 20 ans était le meilleur buteur des Celtics en finale de la Conférence perdu sur le fil (3-4) contre les coureurs de LeBron James à la fin du mois de Mai. Ce soir-là, il était le joueur de basket le plus dominant dans une équipe de Boston qui était chargée de talent. L’étoile la plus brillante de la constellation. Le seul but de départ pour le coup d’envoi de la saison, Tatum a terminé avec 23 points à 9/17 sur des tirs tout en ajoutant 9 rebonds en seulement 29 minutes. Il mène Boston à la victoire sur Philadelphie (105-87).
Il n’est peut-être pas la première option offensive tous les soirs. Mais la deuxième année est déjà prête à assumer le rôle de lieutenant de luxe. Peut-être un peu plus. Prenons la chance de nous mouiller et de voir grand: il y a un potentiel All-Star à 20 points par match cette saison. Cette première entrée en matière était juste une bouchée.
The duo : Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid blackened the Leaf
The Sixers were dominated almost throughout the evening. But their two young superstars did the job. Joel Embiid has attacked the season with 23 points (9/21), 10 rebounds, 2 blocks and 5 turnovers in 37 minutes. Ben Simmons played most of the game (43 minutes) to finish close to the triple-double : 19 points, 7/14 shots, 15 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 intercepts and 2 blocks. Two very nice lines of Statistics. But a fair defeat at the finish. Because the rest wasn’t on the level. Saric, Covington and Fultz, the other three incumbents, had 19 points between them. With the exception of J. J. Redick (16 points), no substitute from Philadelphia weighed in (while Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli were bringing a lot out of the bench last year). Too light to worry Boston.