The long wait for the 2023/24 NBA regular season is finally over! We have two amazing matchups to start the year with, as the Champions take on old foes and former teammates clash – Denver take on the Lakers, while Curry and Golden State travel to Phoenix to take on Durant and company. Let’s check out what these first two games of the season have in store for us. 

Denver Nuggets @ Los Angeles Lakers 

The reigning champions are the first team to play this season and will be coming up against their opponents from last year’s Western Conference finalists: Lebron and the Lakers. In their playoff series in May, Denver swept the Lakers, but every game was closer than one could imagine by just looking at the final scoreline: the Nuggets needed heroic performances in all four games from 2-time MVP Nikola Jokic to advance to the Finals. On the flip side, the Lakers have had a busy offseason, and managed to somehow further strengthen their roster after the slew of trades just before last season’s deadline which boosted them to the Western Conference Finals: they re-signed DeAngelo Russell and Rui Hachimura, and acquired Christian Wood (who will add height and scoring), Taurean Prince and Gabe Vincent – who was a starter for Miami in their Finals series against the Nuggets. 

Lebron and Davis are currently healthy, giving the Lakers a chance of beating essentially any team in the NBA at this moment, and the LA contingent will be willing to at least get partial revenge for the drilling received in late May over 4 games by the Nuggets. How Denver will react in their first game back as reigning champions is also a question mark: for context, the experienced Golden State team that conquered the championship in 2022 – the 4th one in the past 6 years – only won 10 away games last season. It is a real question to ask: is Denver ready to win more or has the first championship in franchise history satisfied their desire? I am inclined to believe the former, which is why I’ll give Denver the slight edge in this matchup. 

Denver Nuggets to Win – 1.52 

Los Angeles Lakers to Win – 2.60 

Phoenix Suns @ Golden State Warriors 

This is perhaps the most anticipated matchup ever since Kevin Durant was traded from Brooklyn to the Valley in late March. To add spice into the mix, both teams had pretty good off seasons in terms of adding offensive firepower and experience to their roster, as Phoenix signed Bradley Beal from the Wizards, who narrowly lost the scoring title in 2020/21 to Curry, while Golden State added veteran Chris Paul to their team, whom the Suns let go after another disappointing run in the playoffs. Durant, interestingly enough, will be facing Golden State at the Chase Center for the first time since he left them to join Brooklyn after tearing his Achilles tendon, meaning the matchup between him and Curry has been a long time coming. 

This will be a tightly contested event, as all stars on both sides are healthy to start the season. Golden State were poor in games away from the Chase center last season, as they had a terrible 11-30 record on the road. If the Suns trio of Durant, Booker and Beal fire on all cylinders, this could be a long night for Golden State defensively. However, a similar case can be made for the side from San Francisco: if Curry of Thompson decide to have a showing from deep, they could easily outscore Phoenix’s unbalanced team. Simply for the reason that they are playing at home, we will give the edge to Golden State this time around, but this will be a cracking match regardless. 

Phoenix Suns to Win – 2.25 

Golden State Warriors to Win – 1.68