Chicago Bulls @ New York Knicks (Espn) 8 pm
Derrick Rose will finally return for regular season action. He looked aggressive and fast during the preseason but those stats don’t mean anything. It will be exciting to watch Rose play again in real action.
The New York Knicks are a different team this year. New players in the starting lineup and a new system with rookie head coach Derek Fisher. There are so many questions heading into this game for both teams.
It’s a home opener for the Knicks so they will come out with a lot of energy. Carmelo Anthony will look to get his teammates involved early on. Jose Calderon will get a lot of open three pointers. Amar’e Stoudemire will get into the game early and contribute. Melo will get his points and finish with a double-double.
The Bulls will try to make it an ugly game. However many will be surprised by their offense. Pau Gasol, Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic will give them a boost. Rose will look to attack because the Knicks do not have a rim protector. The game will be close but not a low scoring affair. Carmelo Anthony will make the big shots in the fourth to lead the Knicks to victory.
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Portland Trail Blazers (Espn) 10:30
With Kevin Durant out it will be the Russell Westbrook show for OKC. He will be aggressive early and often. The Thunder will be without Reggie Jackson, Anthony Morrow, Mitch McGary, Perry Jones and maybe Jeremy Lamb. Steven Adams will be in the starting lineup to provide toughness for this banged up Thunder team.
The Blazers have their All-Star tandem of LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard. Lillard will not be guarding Westbrook often so he will get his shots on the offensive end. Wesley Matthews will have the assignment of checking Westbrook.
In the first half the Thunder will keep it close because of Westbrook’s energy and Serge Ibaka’s defense. The Blazers have too much depth and will hit a bunch of three pointers in the 2nd half. Expect the Blazers to pull away in the 2nd half as the shorthanded Thunder fail to keep pace.