The NBA is Back!

Ja Morant playing for the Memphis Grizzlies. Courtesy of the Washington Post

Ja Morant playing for the Memphis Grizzlies. Courtesy of the Washington Post

On Tuesday, October 18th, the National Basketball Association had its first games since last June, making way for one of the most anticipated seasons in recent history. From the Warriors defending their titles, the stacked MVP race, the loaded rookie class, and to Lebron James’ attempt to break Kareem-Abdul Jabbar’s all-time scoring record, this year is guaranteed to be exciting.

The season began with a duel between the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76’ers, where the home-team Celtics scored a nine point victory. Three players, Jason Taytum, Jalen Brown and James Harden scored 35 points in the opening night battle. Later that night, the LA Lakers and the champion Golden State Warriors battled it out in a Warriors blowout victory. The defending champions held a championship ring ceremony before the game, showing respect to the victorious players and staff of the previous year.

Since opening day, sixteen matches including all 30 NBA teams have been held. Some highlights include an overtime thriller between the Grizzlies and Knicks, where Grizzly superstar guard Ja Morant scored 34 points to secure the win, 115-112. Later that night, the Phoenix Suns and the Dallas Mavericks competed in a rematch of the Mavs’ upset victory in the conference semifinals of the playoffs the past season. The Suns had a comeback victory in the 4th quarter, winning the game 107-105. The season started off captivating and astonishing, with many outstanding performances from star players.

NBA stars of many championship contenders have exceeded high expectations in the first week of NBA action. The stars most apparent in making a big leap this year are Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies and Jayson Tatum of the Celtics, both showing great improvement in scoring and leadership. They both average over 35 points per game (PPG) through their first 3 matches, leading their respective teams to winning records. Both are expected to take a leap into the MVP race for the season, and the superstars show promise in achieving the leap.

One star player who has not reached expectations in his first two games of the season is Joel Embiid of the 76’ers, who has struggled to score and shoot the basketball in his opening games. This MVP candidate has only averaged 20 PPG on terrible efficiency in his first two attempts, while his teammate James Harden has carried the load averaging a whopping 33 PPG in his first two outings. Expect a comeback from Embiid in the future for the championship contending 76’ers. 

Overall, the NBA season returned strong the second week of October, storylines brewing, close games and upsets developing, and star’s showing out on the biggest stage. NBA action will continue for the coming months, and the world is watching to see who will be standing at the end.