After just a short rest, the NBA is back!
Tomorrow will be the beginning of the 2020-2021 NBA season!
And after the historic 2019-2020 season, fans are undoubtedly excited to see how this campaign will playout.
The first two games of the season will feature Brooklyn taking on Golden State and the Battle of Los Angeles as the defending champs Lakers take on their cross-town rivals the Clippers.
But before we all dive into another exciting opening night that will feature some of the best players in the world, let’s look back at the best opening night performances from the 2010-2019 season.
2010-2011 – Kobe Bryant showcased a classic performance with a twist
Let’s start off by looking back at the performance of the late great Kobe Bryant back in the opening of the 2010-2011 season.
The “Black Mamba” showcased a classic performance with 27 points, five rebounds and seven assists as they start off their quest for a three-peat on a strong note.
Unlike, the other neck-and-neck games of the Lakers, this time Bryant located a wide-open Steve Blake that knocked down the three-pointer and gave them the, 112-110, win over Houston.
2011-2012 – Triple tie for James, Rose and Anthony
The 2011-2012 season is remembered by two things. First, it’s that shortened season, as there was a locked out which cut the season to only 66 games. Second, it’s the season where LeBron James finally won his first title with the Miami Heat.
Oh, and it was the last time that Oklahoma City Thunder actually had a shot for the title. (Sorry OKC fans)
Anyway, most people forget about the fact that the opening night actually happened on Christmas Day. And the performances of the trio made it the perfect gift for those who were able to see it.
Let’s first look at the revenge of King James and the Heat.
After falling short in the Finals, the year prior, James put up a jaw-dropping performance against Dallas on opening day.
James dropped 37 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks and gave Miami a 105-94, win over the defending champs.
Aside from getting their revenge, it became clear to the whole league that the Miami Heat were out to win it all in that season.
Second was Derrick Rose proving why he was the youngest Most Valuable Player in NBA history.
Against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, Rose stepped up to the challenge and put-up a great performance and capped it off with the game-winner.
Rose finished with 22 points on 69.2% shooting and hit the game-winning floater to take the 88-87 win on Christmas Day.
Third on the triple tie, is Carmelo Anthony single handedly beating the Boston squad that had Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo (Paul Pierce was injured).
Melo, (to put it in the simplest definition), decided to take over the entire game and put on a show for the Madison Square Garden fans as he dropped 37 points, eight rebounds and three assists and gave New York a 106-104 win over the Celtics
2012-2013 – The Heatles sent a message
After winning the title in 2011-2012 season against the up-and-coming OKC that had a young Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden, a lot of people said that Miami got lucky with their Finals matchup.
On opening day, a Boston squad that had Rondo, Pierce and Garnett had a grudge as well, since Allen decided to take his talents to South Beach.
The Heat led by Kings James, the Flash and CB sent a message that a repeat was in their crosshairs.
LeBron James finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds while Dwyane Wade had 29 points, three rebounds and four assists, Chris Bosh contributed with a double-double of 19 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks to take the 120-107 win over the Celtics.
They ended the year with another title under after beating the San Antonio Spurs.
2013-2014 – PG put on a show
Heading into the 2013-2014 season, fans had their eyes on Indiana as a 23-year-old Paul George started making his name as one of the top stars in the league.
That year, fans were excited to see how he would perform in that season.
He did not disappoint as the started the year strong, putting up 24 points, six rebounds, five assists and three blocks to take a 97-87 win over Orlando.
That became the start of a good overall campaign as he ended the year averaging 21.7 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 3.5 APG and 1.9 SPG.
2014-2015 – Harden, AD, Parker-Ginobili, another triple-tie
The 2014-2015 was the beginning of the new era for the NBA as it was the beginning of the reign of Golden State over the league.
However, in the opening day of that season, fans saw a very different start as stars from different teams decided to give the fans a premiere to remember.
Let’s first look at how James Harden stepped to the challenge of going head-to-head against Kobe Bryant.
The 2014-15 season was the first of year of Dwight Howard in Houston after a disappointing stint with the Lakers.
The beef between Howard and Bryant was the main story of the match-up, but the Bearded One had other things in mind.
Harden dropped 32 points with six assists to give the Rockets a 108-90 win.
Second one, is the arrival of Anthony Davis.
The 2014-15 season is the season where AD finally shows his true form as he was selected in his first All-Star team in that year and the first time he led the league in blocks.
He definitely had a strong showing, finishing the season with 24.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.9 blocks.
It was what was expected from him after putting up a Godlike debut with 26 points, 17 rebounds and nine blocks to get the win over Orlando, 101-84.
Lastly on the second triple-tie, it was the old-heads who took the spotlight as in the crucial game between San Antonio and Dallas, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili stole the show.
Parker, who was 32-years-old at the time, finished the game with 23 points as well as the game-winning three-pointer. He was backed up by Ginobili, already 37-years-old at that time, who had 20 points, six assists and two steals off the bench.
The Spurs narrowly escaped with the win against their rival Mavericks, 101-100.
2015-2016 – Curry erupted for 40
The 2015-2016 season, is worthy of consideration as the single best season of the NBA.
First, it was Kobe Bryant’s last dance. In the last game of his legendary career, he dropped 60 points to will the Lakers to a victory.
It was the year that Golden State broke the all-time record for wins in a season as they won a staggering 73 games.
The Thunder also blew a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Finals against the Warriors. This led to KD picking the ‘hardest road’ by joining a 73-win team the following season.
Finally, it was the season where the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, finally ended the 52-year title drought by coming back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals against the 73-win Golden State team.
What a year!
But everything has to start somewhere and the beginning of the season saw Stephen Curry erupting for 40 points along with six rebounds, seven assists and two steals over the Anthony Davis-led New Orleans Pelicans, 111-95.
This was the perfect start to Curry’s second-straight MVP award. Bet you he’d trade that in for a title, though.
2016-2017 – Kawhi Leonard spoiled the debut of the new Super Team
As I’ve said earlier, the Thunder choked in the Western Conference Finals against Golden State, which led to KD making one of the most disappointing moves done by a superstar in sports history.
And in his debut with the Warriors, the “Silent Assassin” called Kawhi Leonard, spoiled the arrival of the new Super Team.
Leonard finished the game with 35 points, five rebounds, three assists and five steals to lead San Antonio to a blowout 129-100 win.
2017-2018 – Harden beats the defending champs
The 2017-2018 season was the year that James Harden took home the MVP title after putting up 30.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 8.8 assists and 1.8 steals.
He also led Houston to a 65-17 record and the first-seed in the West.
The Rockets reached the conference Finals but lost to the eventual champs Golden State in seven games.
As impressive as it was, you can say that some fans already saw it coming after the first game of that season.
In the opening day, Houston and Golden State met and the Bearded One went off.
Harden had 27 points, six rebounds, 11 assists and a crucial lay-up to win the game.
Houston ended up winning the game, 122-121, and the rest is history. Just like Curry, though, he’d probably have preferred to win a ring that year.
2018-2019 – Curry and KD show put on a show
2018-2019 season was the last year that Golden State were the top dog in the league.
At the end of the year, Toronto led by a one-year rental named Kawhi Leonard dethroned the Warriors and won the city’s first NBA title.
That title wasn’t expected, of course, especially after how the defending champions played on opening day.
Against, the Thunder, who only had Paul George as Russell Westbrook was out due to injury, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry decided to cook them and put on a show for their home crowd.
Durant finished with 27 points, eight rebounds and seven assists while drained 5 of 9 of his three-point attempts and finished with 32 points, eight rebounds and nine assists.
The Warriors started their season with a strong, 108-100, win over the Thunder.
Who do you think will have a strong game in opening day? Sound off below in the comment section!