Champions' Tuesday: Predictions for the opening night of NBA games

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Opening night is almost upon us. It's been six months, and Tuesday night will see the NBA return as the Cleveland Cavaliers have their championship ceremony ahead of a game with the new-look New York Knicks.

There are three games on Tuesday night as the 2015 champions and last year's beaten finalists Golden State face off against their biggest challenger in the west; the San Antonio Spurs.

The Portland Trail Blazers are also in action against division rivals Utah, and we run through what you can expect from each game as another testing campaign gets underway.

Knicks @ Cavaliers

LeBron James has never lost the opening game after winning a title. He came out on top on championship night twice with the Miami Heat and you can expect that trend to continue with the Cavaliers.

The Knicks and their revamped roster are in town, but there are still very much some teething issues that the franchise needs to sort out - the defending champions aren't the team to help solve those problems.

Derrick Rose has only played one game, Joakim Noah has admitted he feels slow on defence, and there are still some chemistry issues in the new so-called 'superteam'.

Cleveland are coming into the new campaign fresh and without any pressure following their title run. They are injury free and should pick up an easy win to go 1-0.

Spurs @ Warriors

The Golden State Warriors were 5-1 in the preseason. That means nothing. But they should still have enough to overcome the Spurs.

For all of San Antonio's detractors, they are stronger than last season. Pau Gasol is an upgrade on the Tim Duncan we saw last season, and their roster has hardly changed otherwise.

But the Spurs proved they struggle against younger, more athletic teams, and that's exactly what the Warriors are - especially with the addition of Kevin Durant over the summer.

In predictions, it's hard to see where Golden State are going to lose - of course, they will at some point - but opening night at the Oracle Arena is not one of those games. In one of the big match-ups in the Western Conference, the Warriors will prevail.

Jazz @ Trail Blazers

The Utah Jazz have been tipped by many to reach the playoffs this season, but the Blazers were strong at home last season - losing just 13 games - and should continue that tradition on opening night.

Utah has strengthened well over the summer but, without Gordon Hayward, and with their new stars still gelling, they may not get off to the start they want.

Damian Lillard was recently tipped by Steve Kerr to be a shock MVP winner and there is no time like opening night to lay down a marker to the opposition.

San Antonio Spurs
Southwest Division
Western Conference
LeBron James
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Eastern Conference
New York Knicks
Atlantic Division
Carmelo Anthony
Utah Jazz
Northwest Division
Portland Trail Blazers
Golden State Warriors
Pacific Division

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