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NBA Three Things to Know: Gordon Hayward goes down, Warriors stumble

Also, the Bulls find a way to make what will be a difficult season even worse.

NBA Three Things to Know: Gordon Hayward goes down, Warriors stumble

Also, the Bulls find a way to make what will be a difficult season even worse.

Check ‘em out: Warriors’ 2017 championship rings set record for bling

The Warriors received the championship rings for their 2016-17 NBA title, and they are spectacular.

76ers’ Markelle Fultz to make NBA debut close to home in Washington

Markelle Fultz gets to start the next chapter of his career in a familiar setting.

76ers’ Markelle Fultz to make NBA debut close to home in Washington

Markelle Fultz gets to start the next chapter of his career in a familiar setting.

76ers’ Markelle Fultz to make NBA debut close to home in Washington

Markelle Fultz gets to start the next chapter of his career in a familiar setting.

Idiot’s guide to the NBA offseason

Here's everything you need to know about the NBA offseason.

Idiot’s guide to the NBA offseason

Here's everything you need to know about the NBA offseason.

Idiot’s guide to the NBA offseason

Here's everything you need to know about the NBA offseason.

Idiot’s guide to the NBA offseason

Here's everything you need to know about the NBA offseason.

Pre-game celebrations affected our game - Curry

Steph Curry admits their pre-game celebrations of last year's championship win affected their performance as they lost to the Houston Rockets on the opening day of the new NBA season

Pre-game celebrations affected our game - Curry

Steph Curry admits their pre-game celebrations of last year's championship win affected their performance as they lost to the Houston Rockets on the opening day of the new NBA season

Pre-game celebrations affected our game - Curry

Steph Curry admits their pre-game celebrations of last year's championship win affected their performance as they lost to the Houston Rockets on the opening day of the new NBA season

Gordon Hayward's injury reminds us of the sacrifices NBA players make

Gordon Hayward's injury reminds us of the sacrifices NBA players make

Sneakers from opening night of the NBA

The NBA is back, which means so are the sneakers! We're taking a look at the best sneakers from opening night of the NBA.

Sneakers from opening night of the NBA

The NBA is back, which means so are the sneakers! We're taking a look at the best sneakers from opening night of the NBA.

Sneakers from opening night of the NBA

The NBA is back, which means so are the sneakers! We're taking a look at the best sneakers from opening night of the NBA.

Sneakers from opening night of the NBA

The NBA is back, which means so are the sneakers! We're taking a look at the best sneakers from opening night of the NBA.

Warriors raise championship banner on opening night

The Golden State Warriors received their NBA championship rings and lifted a banner to toast last season's success, ahead of their game against the Houston Rockets at the Oracle Arena.

Warriors raise championship banner on opening night

The Golden State Warriors received their NBA championship rings and lifted a banner to toast last season's success, ahead of their game against the Houston Rockets at the Oracle Arena.

Warriors raise championship banner on opening night

The Golden State Warriors received their NBA championship rings and lifted a banner to toast last season's success, ahead of their game against the Houston Rockets at the Oracle Arena.

Gordon Hayward injury: NBA players, others flood Twitter with well wishes

NBA players and former teammates, even a Hall of Famer and a couple of NFL stars, sent their thoughts and prayers to the injured Celtic.

Gordon Hayward injury: NBA players, others flood Twitter with well wishes

Gordon Hayward injury: NBA players, others flood Twitter with well wishes

Five Wild Overreactions to NBA Opening Night

Editor's note: The Crossover is known for its nuanced analysis and thoughtful columns about NBA basketball. This is not one of those columns.

What a wild opening night in the NBA. Kevin Durant folded in the clutch faster than he could apologize for roasting his ex-team on Twitter. Kyrie Irving looked like the Kyrie Irving to Jaylen Brown’s LeBron James. And Nick Young and Eric Gordon put themselves firmly in the driver’s seat of the MVP race. Let’s discuss some other iron-clad truths after the season’s first two games.

The Warriors need to unleash JaVale

The Warriors are in last place in the West, and they have only themselves to blame. Without the distraction of having Draymond Green on the court in the fourth quarter, Golden State should have cruised to a win over the Rockets. But Steve Kerr chose to get cute, and left Javale McGee on the bench even while his team was bleeding points. There was no reason for McGee to play the same number of minutes as Thicc Klay Thompson. Mike Brown would have had JaVale in the game at the very least for offense-defense switches down the stretch. Instead, Ryan Anderson was allowed to roam free to the tune of three offensive rebounds.

It was shocking that McGee didn’t play in the wake of injuries to Green and Andre Iguodala. The Warriors were exposed as a thin team on Tuesday. When Golden State is reduced to playing with only three Hall-of-Famers at a time, the Dubs absolutely crumble under the pressure.

Bottom line: When the game is hanging in the balance, you want a champion on the court. McGee should have been out there.

?

Houston needs to tighten up

With Clint Capela playing a ghastly 18 minutes Tuesday night, Mike D’Antoni basically employed a seven-and-a-half man rotation against the Warriors. That’s about two-and-a-half players too many. I’m sorry, but why are NBA players posting selfies of them working out in the gym all summer if they don't have the conditioning needed to play a full 48? Did Houston really need those Chris Paul minutes last night? What did Capela even do other than some cool dunks and iffy defense? These guys will never be more fresh than for the first game of the season.

Players can rest during the extra week the NBA has graciously given them to complete the 82-game schedule. There are more than enough commercial breaks for guys to stay fresh for an entire game. Heck, with those new jersey sponsors, the entire game is basically one big commercial break now.

D’Antoni is giving his team too much trust. If he’s going to play small-ball lineups that look like something your 12-year-old sibling would dream up in a game of NBA 2K18, then D’Antoni may as well turn fatigue off and play his best five the whole way.

Nick Young has it figured out

Has Paul George ever come off the bench and given his team 23 points on 6 of 7 shooting from three? What about Carmelo Anthony? While everyone was playing checkers this offseason, the Warriors were playing a game that is still light years away from being invented. Young is obviously the most important free-agent signing of the summer. While Irving is too busy playing buddy-buddy with his old teammates, Young looks ready to take Zaza Pachulia’s spot in the starting lineup, hitting open threes and exposing his tongue with the same joie de vivre as a Miami Dolphins offensive line coach. While Irving airballed a potential game-tying shot, Young watched his team lose from the bench, resting so he could drop another 20 in Golden State’s next game. Remember Young’s unselfishness when guys like Durant, George, Anthony and Irving chuck up end-of-game misses this year. They could stand to learn a thing or two from Swaggy P.

LeBron is losing a step

When we last saw LeBron James, he had just become the first player to average a triple double for an entire NBA Finals. But the NBA is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league, and the James we saw Tuesday is clearly a cut below the player we saw in the 2017 Finals. James finished with 29-16-9 against the Celtics, which is clearly not a triple double. It’s those kind of statlines that cost James Harden an MVP award last season. Are the minutes finally catching up to James? He’s played over 50,000 of them now, and it’s only going to get harder and harder for him to will himself to that last assist he needs for a triple double every night.

With James, it’s difficult to know if this is the new reality or if it’s just hard for him to move at full speed when Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade are on the court at the same time. Kendrick Perkins won’t be there to save him if this is the year everything goes south.

?

Irving won the Cavs-Celtics trade

Aside from some competition from Brown, Irving got a chance to shine with the Celtics on Tuesday. When else have you ever seen Irving with the ball in his hands on the right wing with an opportunity to shoot a three and decide the game? These are the kind of scenarios Irving has been dreaming about his whole life, and finally, in Game 1 of the regular season, Irving found himself as the man with a chance to take the big shot. That’s why you play in the NBA. You want to be the player who has a chance to have the ball in their hands down the stretch of an important game. Few games are more important than your first game against the team you went to three straight Finals with. It’s early in the season, sure, but Irving’s shift to the Celtics is already paying off in ways he could have never imagined.

Five Wild Overreactions to NBA Opening Night

Editor's note: The Crossover is known for its nuanced analysis and thoughtful columns about NBA basketball. This is not one of those columns.

What a wild opening night in the NBA. Kevin Durant folded in the clutch faster than he could apologize for roasting his ex-team on Twitter. Kyrie Irving looked like the Kyrie Irving to Jaylen Brown’s LeBron James. And Nick Young and Eric Gordon put themselves firmly in the driver’s seat of the MVP race. Let’s discuss some other iron-clad truths after the season’s first two games.

The Warriors need to unleash JaVale

The Warriors are in last place in the West, and they have only themselves to blame. Without the distraction of having Draymond Green on the court in the fourth quarter, Golden State should have cruised to a win over the Rockets. But Steve Kerr chose to get cute, and left Javale McGee on the bench even while his team was bleeding points. There was no reason for McGee to play the same number of minutes as Thicc Klay Thompson. Mike Brown would have had JaVale in the game at the very least for offense-defense switches down the stretch. Instead, Ryan Anderson was allowed to roam free to the tune of three offensive rebounds.

It was shocking that McGee didn’t play in the wake of injuries to Green and Andre Iguodala. The Warriors were exposed as a thin team on Tuesday. When Golden State is reduced to playing with only three Hall-of-Famers at a time, the Dubs absolutely crumble under the pressure.

Bottom line: When the game is hanging in the balance, you want a champion on the court. McGee should have been out there.

?

Houston needs to tighten up

With Clint Capela playing a ghastly 18 minutes Tuesday night, Mike D’Antoni basically employed a seven-and-a-half man rotation against the Warriors. That’s about two-and-a-half players too many. I’m sorry, but why are NBA players posting selfies of them working out in the gym all summer if they don't have the conditioning needed to play a full 48? Did Houston really need those Chris Paul minutes last night? What did Capela even do other than some cool dunks and iffy defense? These guys will never be more fresh than for the first game of the season.

Players can rest during the extra week the NBA has graciously given them to complete the 82-game schedule. There are more than enough commercial breaks for guys to stay fresh for an entire game. Heck, with those new jersey sponsors, the entire game is basically one big commercial break now.

D’Antoni is giving his team too much trust. If he’s going to play small-ball lineups that look like something your 12-year-old sibling would dream up in a game of NBA 2K18, then D’Antoni may as well turn fatigue off and play his best five the whole way.

Nick Young has it figured out

Has Paul George ever come off the bench and given his team 23 points on 6 of 7 shooting from three? What about Carmelo Anthony? While everyone was playing checkers this offseason, the Warriors were playing a game that is still light years away from being invented. Young is obviously the most important free-agent signing of the summer. While Irving is too busy playing buddy-buddy with his old teammates, Young looks ready to take Zaza Pachulia’s spot in the starting lineup, hitting open threes and exposing his tongue with the same joie de vivre as a Miami Dolphins offensive line coach. While Irving airballed a potential game-tying shot, Young watched his team lose from the bench, resting so he could drop another 20 in Golden State’s next game. Remember Young’s unselfishness when guys like Durant, George, Anthony and Irving chuck up end-of-game misses this year. They could stand to learn a thing or two from Swaggy P.

LeBron is losing a step

When we last saw LeBron James, he had just become the first player to average a triple double for an entire NBA Finals. But the NBA is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league, and the James we saw Tuesday is clearly a cut below the player we saw in the 2017 Finals. James finished with 29-16-9 against the Celtics, which is clearly not a triple double. It’s those kind of statlines that cost James Harden an MVP award last season. Are the minutes finally catching up to James? He’s played over 50,000 of them now, and it’s only going to get harder and harder for him to will himself to that last assist he needs for a triple double every night.

With James, it’s difficult to know if this is the new reality or if it’s just hard for him to move at full speed when Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade are on the court at the same time. Kendrick Perkins won’t be there to save him if this is the year everything goes south.

?

Irving won the Cavs-Celtics trade

Aside from some competition from Brown, Irving got a chance to shine with the Celtics on Tuesday. When else have you ever seen Irving with the ball in his hands on the right wing with an opportunity to shoot a three and decide the game? These are the kind of scenarios Irving has been dreaming about his whole life, and finally, in Game 1 of the regular season, Irving found himself as the man with a chance to take the big shot. That’s why you play in the NBA. You want to be the player who has a chance to have the ball in their hands down the stretch of an important game. Few games are more important than your first game against the team you went to three straight Finals with. It’s early in the season, sure, but Irving’s shift to the Celtics is already paying off in ways he could have never imagined.

NBA Three Things to Know: Gordon Hayward goes down, Warriors stumble

Also, the Bulls find a way to make what will be a difficult season even worse.

LeBron leads Cavs to opening night win

Four-time NBA MVP LeBron James began the new season in typical fashion, as he led the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 102-99 triumph over the Boston Celtics.

LeBron leads Cavs to opening night win

Four-time NBA MVP LeBron James began the new season in typical fashion, as he led the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 102-99 triumph over the Boston Celtics.

LeBron leads Cavs to opening night win

Four-time NBA MVP LeBron James began the new season in typical fashion, as he led the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 102-99 triumph over the Boston Celtics.

Story of the Day - Hayward suffers horrific injury on Boston debut

Gordon Hayward suffered a horrific leg injury on the opening night of the NBA season, in the Boston Celtics 102-99 defeat to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Story of the Day - Hayward suffers horrific injury on Boston debut

Gordon Hayward suffered a horrific leg injury on the opening night of the NBA season, in the Boston Celtics 102-99 defeat to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Story of the Day - Hayward suffers horrific injury on Boston debut

Gordon Hayward suffered a horrific leg injury on the opening night of the NBA season, in the Boston Celtics 102-99 defeat to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

NBA: Kerr laments Green injury after Warriors lose season opener

NBA: Kerr laments Green injury after Warriors lose season opener

NBA: Preseason-Houston Rockets at Memphis Grizzlies

Oct 11, 2017; Memphis, TN, USA; Houston Rockets forward Luc Mbah a Moute (12) defends against Memphis Grizzlies guard Tyreke Evans (12) at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Houston won 101-89. Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

NBA: Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers

Oct 17, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) defends Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) during the second half at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

NBA: Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers

Oct 17, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) defends Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) during the second half at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Highlights of Tuesday's NBA games

Highlights of Tuesday's NBA games

Basket - NBA: Rockets spoil Warriors' opening night

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 24: P.J. Tucker #2 of the Toronto Raptors dribbles the ball in the first half of Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Milwaukee Bucks during the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Air Canada Centre on April 24, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images/AFPTORONTO, ON - APRIL 24: P.J. Tucker #2 of the Toronto Raptors dribbles the ball in the first half of Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Milwaukee Bucks during the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Air Canada Centre on April 24, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images/AFP (AFP Photo/Vaughn Ridley)

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