The NBA season kicks off in Cleveland today and there will be some kind of part for the 2015-16 league champions. The city is in a rare state with both the ring ceremony and the World Series happening on the same night.
Usually, ring nights are a moment of reflection for the defending champions and the signal to shake off all the celebration that occurred during the summer months and get back to basketball. There will be plenty of distraction near Lake Erie though.
LeBron James is looking to get his mates focused on the task of defending their title and getting them ready for a possible third round of championship basketball against the Golden State Warriors.
Their opponents, the New York Knicks, will be looking to spoil a giant party just like they did during James’ first game back in Cleveland. Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah will be making their regular season debut for the Gotham franchise.
How will this go? Well, let’s look at the last three ring night openers in the NBA and see:
Golden State Warriors host New Orleans Pelicans
The newly minted champion Warriors squared off against the Pelicans and Anthony Davis during their ceremony in 2015. They basically picked up where they left off with Stephen Curry scoring 40 points en route to a 111-95 victory.
Chef Curry addressed the crowd and Drake’s music flooded the speakers as the players accepted their rings. The rough outing would be emblematic of the Pelicans entire season as they were outgunned by a dangerous opponent.
San Antonio Spurs host the Mavericks
The Spurs were coming off a shelling of the Miami Heat in the previous season’s championship series. Things would not be so easy for the defending champs as they played without their Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.
Gregg Popovich’s squad escaped with a 101-100 victory. The team got great contributions from their stars in Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker. Parker looked great as he poured in 23 points while going 4-4 from behind the arc.
Miami Heat host the Chicago Bulls
Not that long ago, James played on the shores of South Beach. Coming off his second straight championship, he wanted to send a message to all the contenders in the Eastern Conference. They won 107-95 and delivered that message.
The Heat led by as many as 25 points before they let their feet off the gas. Some timely three-pointers by Shane Battier snuffed out any chance at a comeback.
Maybe we are in store for the same sort of game tonight.