9 Intriguing Matchups Of The 2012-13 NBA Season
Now that Coach K – who has a breathtaking vertical leap by the way (via Bleacher Report) – and USA Basketball have completed the chase for gold, it’s time to get back to the NBA offseason. Here are a few of the leading storylines from the offseason thus far, along with nine of the most intriguing matchups to watch out for this upcoming season (all times ET).
2012 NBA Offseason: Leading Storylines
- The Los Angeles Lakers brings in yet another franchise center in Dwight Howard, along with two-time MVP, Steve Nash.
- New York lets Linsanity flee to Houston (while signing three soon-to-be members of the AARP).
- Jesus Shuttlesworth leaves Boston, crosses enemy lines and joins the champs in Miami.
- Brooklyn puts together an Eastern Conference-contending roster, featuring Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, to open up the Barclays Center.
2012-2013 NBA Season: Intriguing Matchups
So it’s settled. Dwight Howard is a Laker. The first game for Howard (and Nash) will be at home against the Dallas Mavericks. This situation brings forth a few storylines. Nash played six seasons in Dallas before returning to Phoenix, where he would go on to win two MVPs. Howard on the other hand, has been (rumored to be) interested in going to Dallas after his contract is up after this season. Opening Night (and every night) will be a scene at the Staples Center for Dwight, Kobe, Nash, Pau and the Lakers.
With a new arena and roster, the Nets franchise is finally on its way to Brooklyn. The stage is now set for this renewed rivalry, as Melo and the Knicks come to Brooklyn on opening night. How will Melo, Amar’e and Tyson fair in their second full season together? Will Deron and Joe Johnson be able to coexist? Only time will tell if The Takeover (via UMG) is in store in New York.
How will Knicks fans react to Jeremy Lin’s return to MSG? Lin only started 25 games for New York, so a standing ovation would be a bit over the top. However, the way Linsanity electrified and revitalized the Garden last year, anything but a positive reaction would be uncalled for.
Does it get any better than a Christmas Day NBA Finals rematch? The newly acquired Ray Allen gets added to the fold for Miami, providing instant offense off the bench. The Thunder has its core coming back for another run at the Heat, but will it be enough? The additions of “franchise center” Hasheem Thabeet and rookie Perry Jones may not provide enough depth off the bench for OKC to get over the hump, especially with the Lakers now in the driver’s seat in the West.
Pat Riley and the Miami Heat make their first trip this season to LA to face the Lakers. This could be an NBA Final preview, as both the Lakers and Heat have geared up this offseason for title runs. A star-studded affair is in store with Nash, Dwight, Pau and Kobe facing off against LeBron, DWade, Bosh and Ray Allen.
Another superstar faces off against his former team, as Ray Allen makes his first trip back to Beantown since leaving for Miami. Jason Terry, the newest (and another aging) Boston Celtic, could prove to be the X-Factor this upcoming season, but he may not be enough. This matchup always makes for great basketball, as the Celtics look to dethrone the Heat and continue to battle for Eastern Conference supremacy.
Before the Miami Heat became the final destination for LeBron, there was much speculation that King James was leaning towards joining Jay-Z’s Brooklyn Nets. Unfortunately for the Nets, they were still in Newark, NJ at the time. LeBron’s first trip to the Barclays Center will undoubtedly provide for an electric atmosphere in Brooklyn come January 30.
After ten years in Phoenix, where he led the NBA five times in assists and won two MVPs, Steve Nash will make his much-anticipated first trip back to Arizona. Nash is as classy as it gets in the NBA and deserves a long and emotional standing ovation from the Suns faithful. The Nash-Amar’e-Marion run and gun Suns of the 2000s were simply one of a kind. Now it’s time for Nash to go for the elusive ring he has been searching for.
Steve Nash, Ray Allen and Jeremy Lin returning to their former teams’ arenas are not as highly anticipated as the Lakers heading to Orlando this upcoming March. Hope you have NBA League Pass because Dwight Howard will be heading back to Orlando, and in a Lakers jersey. For Magic fans, one can only imagine how heartbreaking this is: Shaq fled to LA and now Dwight has followed suit. The way Dwight has handled himself to this point has been disgusting. Period. Thus, every single time “Superman” touches the ball, he will not just hear the loudest boos of his NBA career, but he will also hear the cries of disgust from all of Orlando.
Sleeper Game Alert:
This mid-December matchup is for the die-hard NBA fan, but could be enticing for the casual fan to see some of the young guns of the league. If healthy, Ricky Rubio will team up with the rejuvenated Andrei Kirilenko, the “Comeback Kid” Brandon Roy, and the “Unofficial Photographer” of USA Basketball, Kevin Love. For Monty Williams’s Hornets squad, New Orleans has revamped its CP3-less roster with Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon and the #1 and #10 overall picks respectively, Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers.