The Golden State Warriors open their 2020-21 NBA campaign against the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center.
Golden State finished with the worst record in the Western Conference last season at 15-50 and they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2012. The Dubs were able to get a new piece by drafting 2nd overall in the 2020 NBA Draft. But they lost Klay Thompson to an Achilles tear even before the season started. On the other hand, the Nets finished 8th in the East last season but were eliminated by the Bucks in five games during round one. Kevin Durant will suit up for the first time in a Nets uniform and he will join a healthy Kyrie Irving on the court. Brooklyn is one of the preseason favorites to win the NBA title.
The Warriors are coming off their worst season in the Steve Kerr era but their failure was related more to injuries than performance. This season, Golden State will be without Klay Thompson who suffered an Achilles tear while training. And although the Warriors have added Kelly Oubre and have the no. 2 pick in James Wiseman, they will have to rely heavily on two-time MVP Steph Curry.
Eric Paschall is expected to start in the absence of Draymond Green. Paschall averaged 14 points and 6.4 rebounds per game last season. Andrew Wiggins averaged 19.4 points per game in a Golden State uniform while Kelly Oubre Jr. is coming off a season where he put up 18.7 points and 6.4 boards per contest with Phoenix. Curry is coming off a season where he only put up 20.8 points and 6.6 assists per game but now that he’s healthy, we should see his MVP form back again.
The Warriors ranked 28th in scoring last season at 106.3 points per game. They were also just 24th off the glass with an average of 42.8 rebounds per game. Curry and Oubre should help them with the scoring while Wiseman should pull down some rebounds to make the Dubs respectable off the boards. Defensively, Golden State allowed the 7th most points per game last season at 115 points per game. Without Draymond Green in the season opener, that defense is going to struggle against an offensively gifted team like Brooklyn.
The Nets are looking forward to the 2020-21 season where both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are back and healthy. The Nets are among the preseason favorites to win the NBA title and with KD and Kyrie playing together, that doesn’t come as a surprise.
Durant missed the entire 2020 season due to injury while Irving was shut down at midseason due to injury. Despite the absence of their stars, the Nets made it to the playoffs as the 8th seed in the East.
Kyrie Irving led the Nets last season with 27.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game but he only played in 20 regular season games and missed the postseason. Spencer Dinwiddie was the heart and soul of this team with their stars hurt and he averaged 20.6 points and 6.8 assists per game. Caris LeVert also had a great season with 18.7 points and 4.4 assists per contest while Joe Harris, Taurean Prince, Jarrett Allen, and Garrett Temple also averaged in double-digit scoring.
Brooklyn ranked 16th in the league in scoring last season at 111.8 points per game but with KD and Kyrie back, scoring is expected to be the least of their worries this season. The Nets were 19th in scoring defense at 112.3 points per game allowed. If Durant is a good defender but he doesn’t have the Rudy Gobert game-changing defensive skills. Brooklyn was 9th in the NBA with an average of 13.1 three-pointers made but was just 26th overall at 34.3% from behind the arc.
Golden State is 3-11 SU in their last 14 games played. The Warriors are 1-4 SU in their last five games against the Eastern Conference. Brooklyn is 0-5 SU in their last five games played. The Nets are 2-4 SU in their last six games played at home.
Head to head, the Warriors have won eight out of their last 10 head-to-head meetings against the Nets. Golden State is also 4-1 SU in their last five road games in Brooklyn.
This would have been an exciting opening day matchup if both teams were complete. However, not only are the Warriors going to be without Klay Thompson here, Draymond Green will not play in this game due to a muscle strain in his right foot. On the other hand, the Nets are going to be at full strength here with Durant and Irving leading the charge.
Yes, there will be some adjustment with the new pieces and a new coach but the Nets are in much better shape than Golden State right now.
Brooklyn also has a much deeper team with the likes of Dinwiddie and LeVert. Meanwhile, the Dubs will rely too much on Steph Curry here and while I expect Curry to have a big night, he won’t be able to outgun the entire Brooklyn team in this road game. Sure, the fans won’t be here to cheer for the Nets but that won’t prevent the team from opening their season with a bang against a Golden State team that is missing two All-Star players. I’ll go with the complete team here.
Prediction: Brooklyn Nets
The Dubs are 4-2 ATS in their last five games played. Golden State is 5-1 ATS in their last six games played on the road, and 5-1 ATS in their last six December games. The Nets are 5-3 ATS in their last eight games played. Brooklyn is 5-0 ATS in their last five games played against the Eastern Conference, and 5-0 ATS in their last five games played against the Pacific Division. Head to head, the Nets are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games played against the Warriors.
Although the Warriors have dominated their head to head matchup, the Nets have been able to cover very well against the Dubs, especially at Barclays. Brooklyn is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games as the betting favorite and 13-5 ATS in their last 18 home games against Golden State. The Dubs meanwhile are just 1-5 ATS in their last six overall meetings with the Nets. The Warriors simply don’t have enough firepower to match Brooklyn in this game. Give me the Nets.
Prediction: Nets -7.5
The total has gone over in four out of the last five games played by the Dubs. Golden State has seen the total go over in four out of their last six games played against the Atlantic Division. The total has gone under in six out of the last seven games played by the Nets. The under is also 8-3 in Brooklyn’s last 11 games as the betting favorite. Head to head, the total has gone under in seven out of the last 10 games played between these two teams.
The Nets surely have plenty of firepower on their side with Durant, Irving, Dinwiddie, and LeVert. This is a team that averaged 116 points per game in the preseason with KD and Kyrie getting minimal minutes. On the other hand, the Warriors are missing a 20-point scorer in Klay Thompson but they have Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre to help fill the void. I’m not saying the Dubs are going to be the same offensively but they should provide some resistance and put up points on the board. The Nets ranked just 19th in scoring defense last season and defense isn’t the forte of KD or Kyrie. There will be opening game jitters here but with KD and Kyrie on the same team, you have to like the over.
Prediction: Over 230
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