- The Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers will tip-off the 2017-18 NBA season on Tuesday, Oct. 17 in Northeast Ohio. The foes faced off in last season’s Eastern Conference Finals, where the Cavaliers handled the Celtics with a four-games-to-one series win.
To say that these teams look different from when they last faced each other, although it was just a few months ago, would be an understatement. Both the Celtics and the Cavaliers have experienced makeovers in terms of their lineups in massive ways, with both teams having signed big named players to bolster their chances at sitting atop the East. Additionally, the two teams conducted the blockbuster trade of the summer with one another, swapping their respective all-star point guards in late August.
The Celtics had quite possibly the most eventful offseason in the entire league, as they only have four players from last season returning this year. Those returning players include Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, Terry Rozier, and Marcus Smart.
Boston started off the summer with a bang, using their number three pick in the NBA draft to bring in the dynamic rookie, Jayson Tatum. The Celtics also landed one of this offseason’s most coveted free agents in Gordon Hayward, who will be re-teaming with his college coach from Butler in Brad Stevens after choosing to leave the Utah Jazz.
What was probably the most talked about event of the offseason, however, was the trade between the Celtics and the Cavaliers that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston.
Rumors of an Irving trade began soon after Cleveland’s Finals loss to the Golden State Warriors, as the four-time all-star felt that he was at a point in his career where he wanted to lead a team, as opposed to being the second option behind LeBron James. Irving’s wish was granted in his move to Boston, as he will likely be the first option with other great players like Hayward and Horford backing him up as he prepares to face his former team in this season opener.
The Cavaliers did not come away empty-handed in the trade however, as they also received an all-star guard in Isaiah Thomas. Although Thomas will be out until January with a hip injury, his 28.9 points per game average from last season gives Cleveland something extremely optimistic to look forward to when he is healthy. Elite defender Jae Crowder was also sent to Cleveland in the trade, and his addition to the Cavaliers’ rotation will give them some needed wing defense.
While the Cavaliers await Thomas’s return, they will have the newly added former MVP, Derrick Rose, fill in at the starting point guard spot to start the season against Irving and the Celtics. Additionally, Dwyane Wade has come over to Cleveland after being bought out from his contract with the Chicago Bulls.
This matchup between last season’s one and two seed of the Eastern Conference could give audiences an early look at how the East may shape up this season. Although it is the opener, and both the Celtics and the Cavaliers will be looking to find their grooves with their newly formed teams, the intensity of this inter-conference rivalry should set the stage for both organizations’ progress through the season.
It will undoubtedly be an exciting matchup, as two of the league’s most elite teams go head to head in the season tip-off. With names like Irving, Hayward, Horford, James, Wade, and Kevin Love facing off, it will be an exciting and energy-charged matchup that will hopefully start this NBA season the right way.
The two teams will face off on Oct. 17, on TNT at 8 p.m.