The Hurried Person’s Guide to NBA Opening Night

Everything You Need to Sound Smart During Tonight's Matchups

By Thompson Brandes ·
Photo by Barry Chin, The Boston Globe via Getty Images

“Tonight’s the night I get in some shit.” - Dr. Andre Romelle Young, 1992

The above is the opening line to Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s notorious hit single, “Deep Cover.” It is, by any statistical measure, one of the greatest opening lines in rap history from one of the greatest rappers and producers in rap history in Dr. Dre. It’s a line that is inquisitive and exciting and unquestionably informative—setting the tone for an entire narrative to follow (which basically just ends up being a lot of mischief and murder).

The reason I bring this line to our attention today is that it also happens to be an ideal tone-setter for tonight’s NBA tip-off—Cleveland vs. Boston at 8 PM, followed by Golden State vs. Houston at 10:30 PM. After wading through an offseason of impossible trades and budding super teams, we finally get to watch four of the league's most talented rosters give each other the business. And as you—a hurried person catching up on your hoops—will obviously need some sort of template to insert yourself into NBA discussion tonight, we’ve already provided you with a solid one:

Person A: “What do you think about Dwyane Wade getting the start tonight for Cleveland?”

You: “D-Wade? Hmm... he’s old, but tonight might be one of those nights he gets in some shit.”

Person B: "You think there’s any chance Kyrie goes off against his old team?”

You: “What do I think? Let’s just say tonight’s the night Uncle Drew gets in some shit.”

See? You’re already halfway there. Though should you have another four hours or so to appear up to speed, we’ve got you covered with a conveniently segmented guide for the whole affair.

Who to Watch:

Cavs: LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are back together from their championship days in Miami, as are Isaiah Thomas and Kevin Love from their childhood years in AAU (Thomas is on IR, but you can still watch him smile handsomely from the bench). Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose are two more formidable newcomers as usual suspects J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson round things out on the bench.

Celtics: Kyrie Irving gets to flash his newly-minted green and white in the building he once called home (like, 2 months ago). He’ll get some exceptional help from all-star Gordon Hayward, Al Horford and rookie Jayson Tatum.

Rockets: Strap in and prepare to watch James Harden and Chris Paul find ways to pass the ball back and forth for 40-plus minutes.

Warriors: Not much has changed for the Golden State Warriors. That’s what happens when you have scheduled plans to win 70 games and bring home your third championship in four years. Though if you need some names to shout aloud, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson will all sound totally appropriate.

Terms You’ll Hear:

Ernie: As in Ernie Johnson. You’re getting the TNT crew for tonight’s broadcast, so get ready for Shaq and Charles Barkley to do a lot of Ernie-ing.

The 5: As in the center position. A lot of small lineups tonight, so whoever’s ironically playing the 5 will undoubtedly be a topic of discussion.

YES!: As in, Marv Albert with the call… YES!”

BANG!: As in, “Kevin Harlan drinks a beer and… BANG!”

Fearless Leaders:

Cavs: LeBron James, because sometimes Head Coach Ty Lue’s battery falls out.

Celtics: Brad Stevens

Rockets: Mike D’Antoni LOL

Warriors: Steve Kerr

Feel-Good Stories:

Man overcomes childhood of systemic poverty and oppression to accomplish lifelong dreams and reach heights inspiring to others.

(You can apply this to almost everyone on the court tonight. The NBA is a beautiful place.)

Courtside Potentials:

Celtics-Cavs: Noted King James affiliates: Rihanna, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Kevin Hart.

Rockets-Warriors: A bunch of billionaire tech-monsters and Drake, maybe.

Halloween Movies Based On Tonight's Events:

Celtics-Cavs: Freddy vs. Jason

Rockets-Warriors: House of 1000 Corpses

Reasons to Root For:

Cavs: You’re attracted to greatness, and nobody comes comes closer to the legend of MJ than one LeBron James.

Celtics: Kyrie Irving shedding blood and lighting the Quicken Loans arena on fire is just the type Game of Thrones fill-in you need in your life.

Rockets: Nothing gets your rocks off like James Harden dribbling off an entire possession before drilling a contested three in Chris Paul’s face.

Warriors: You’re attracted to greatness, and nothing comes closer to 90’s Bulls lore than the ultra mega-death squad by the bay.

Thompson Brandes

Thompson Brandes is getting sucked into another Jurassic Park movie on AMC right now.

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