On Oct. 16, the 2018 NBA regular season began with games featuring the Boston Celtics versus the Philadelphia 76ers and the Golden State Warriors versus the Oklahoma City Thunder. Despite the efforts by 76ers guard Ben Simmons and center Joel Embiid, who both recorded double digit points and rebounds, the Celtics earned a huge 105-87 victory over Philadelphia. The Warriors also won their matchup against the Thunder with a score of 108-100, led by guard Stephen Curry (32 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists) and forward Kevin Durant (27 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists).
Prior to opening night on the 16th, many headlines dominated the offseason. One noteworthy story was Manu Ginóbili’s retirement after 16 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs. His time there was highlighted by two All-Star selections as well as four NBA Championships. The Spurs also lost forward Kawhi Leonard in a trade with the Toronto Raptors, but in return the Raptors sent guard Demar Derozan to San Antonio.
Several intriguing free agency signings occurred over the summer as well. The Golden State Warriors signed center DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins, giving them a starting five made completely of All-Stars once he returns from injury. After 10 years with the Los Angeles Clippers, center DeAndre Jordan became a Dallas Maverick, while center Dwight Howard joined the Washington Wizards, his sixth team in 15 seasons. The Houston Rockets looked to bolster their lineup with the addition of forward Carmelo Anthony and the Charlotte Hornets sought veteran leadership when obtaining guard Tony Parker. Future Hall-of-Famer Dwyane Wade returned to Miami and will play one last season with the Heat before retiring.
LeBron was perhaps the most significant news this summer, as LeBron James signed a 4-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers also acquired several other prominent players, including guards Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson and center JaVale McGee. The new-look Lakers have not gotten off to the hot start many anticipated, losing their first three games of the season. However, they did manage to provide some excitement early on in a more unconventional way.
During their match against the Houston Rockets on Oct. 20, Lakers guard Rajon Rondo and Rockets guard Chris Paul got into a heated exchange. When the fight became more physical, Lakers forward Brandon Ingram joined in and the players began throwing punches, resulting in ejections for all three. When the dust settled, Paul, Rondo and Ingram received suspensions of two, three and four games respectively.
The Charlotte Hornets, whose arena is roughly a 30-minute drive from Winthrop, have gotten off to a mediocre start. Through five games they have two wins and three losses. However, one loss was only by one point and another was by just two. The Hornets are led by all-star guard Kemba Walker, who is averaging 31 points per game. With lots of young, talented players, like guard Malik Monk and forward Miles Bridges, Charlotte is still hopeful to return to the playoffs this year after missing out the past two seasons.
As of Oct. 26, teams that were still undefeated included the Toronto Raptors (5-0), Detroit Pistons (4-0), Milwaukee Bucks (4-0) and New Orleans Pelicans (3-0). Teams without a win yet were the Oklahoma City Thunder (0-4) and Cleveland Cavaliers (0-5). With each team scheduled to play 82 games, there will still be plenty of chances for every team to make a statement and push their way to a spot in the NBA Playoffs.
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