NBA Opening Night Preview

After an arduous four-month wait, the NBA will finally return for its 70th season on Tuesday and we’ve taken a look at the match-ups on opening night.

Defending NBA champs the Golden State Warriors will take on the New Orleans Pelicans at Oracle Arena. The Warriors will look to defend what was their first title in 40 years and will once again be counting on the likes of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson to fire them to the finals.

They will, however, be without head coach Steve Kerr for opening night due to a back injury and assistant coach Luke Walton will take charge against New Orleans.

The Pelicans come into the game with a raft of injury concerns, Tyreke Evans (knee), Norris Cole (ankle), and Quincy Pondexter (knee) are all definitely out, while there is still a big question mark over Omer Asik's fitness.

Alexis Ajinca and Luke Babbitt could be ready to return in the opener and the Pelicans still have All-Star power forward Anthony Davis to call on.

Expect both sides to be in the play-offs come the end of the season, with the Warriors again finishing high in the Western Conference.

Elsewhere, the Atlanta Hawks will look to replicate their 60-win season this time around as they tip off their campaign against the Detroit Pistons at Philips Arena.

Most of last season's team returns apart from DeMarre Carroll who signed for the Toronto Raptors as a free agent during the off-season.

They come up against the Pistons who will be looking for a huge leap forward in the second year under Stan Van Gundy.

Van Gundy has a good line-up at his disposal, with much expected of the likes of Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson, and they have added a potential key forward in Ersan Ilyasova during the off-season.

The Hawks should be in the play-offs again come the end of the season, but expect the Pistons' six-year wait for a play-off appearance to go on.

In the final game on opening night, a new-look Chicago Bulls take on title-hopefuls the Cleveland Cavaliers at the United Center.

The Bulls parted ways with long-time coach Tom Thibodeau at the end of last season and hired Fred Hoiberg as his replacement.

Chicago have seemingly embraced the new coach's methods and look a good bet for a high finish in the Eastern Conference this season.

Much will depend on the fitness of Derrick Rose, who is expected to play on opening night despite fracturing his eye socket during the off-season. The star point-guard's knees have shown no signs of further problems as yet and this season could see him back at his best.

The Cavaliers are once again expected to lead the way in the East this season and will be hoping to go one better this time after losing to the Warriors in the Finals last time out.

Tristan Thompson signed a new deal during the off-season and is expected to play a bigger role, while Kevin Love stayed put despite numerous trade rumours doing the rounds.

LeBron James has missed much of the pre-season with a reported back injury, but is expected to line up against the Bulls on Tuesday

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