The National Basketball Association (NBA) kicked off its 2013-2014 season on Tuesday, October 29, with the marquee matchup pitting the reigning champions, the Miami Heat, against the Chicago Bulls, and featured the return of superstar Derrick Rose, who had been out since the 2012 playoffs with a torn ACL.
The battle for Los Angeles (LA) also erupted during this opening day. The greatly hyped LA Clippers faced the LA Lakers, with the latter team playing without Kobe Bryant, who is out on an Achilles injury he suffered last spring. Both opening matchups proved to be entertaining as the reigning champions Miami Heat took down the Chicago Bulls 107-95 and the LA Lakers upset the LA Clippers in a shootout, ending with a score of 113-106.
The Western Conference consists of fifteen teams split into three divisions: Northwest, Pacific, and Southwest. The Portland Trailblazers are doing surprisingly well. The Trailblazers were ranked 16th out of 30 teams in the preseason, but currently stand 2nd in the conference and 1st in the Northwest Division with a record of 8-2. The Oklahoma City Thunder are currently ranked 2nd in the Northwest Division with a record of 6-3.
In the Pacific Division, the LA Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies are tied at 7 wins and 3 losses. In the Southwest Division, the San Antonio Spurs dominate both the conference and league with a record of 9-1. Following them are the new and improved Houston Rockets at 7-4 with the addition of star center Dwight Howard.
The Eastern Conference also consists of fifteen teams, split into three divisions: Atlantic, Central, and Southeast. There have been many surprises in the Conference. In the Atlantic Division, all the teams seem to be struggling as they cannot find their way over the .500 win mark. The leading team in the division, the Philadelphia 76ers, stands with a 5-6 record followed by the Toronto Raptors at 4-7. The surprise is not that the 76ers stand at first in the division after being ranked last in the NBA preseason rankings, but that both the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks are also doing poorly. Both the Knicks and the Nets are tied for last in the Atlantic Division at 3-6, despite the fact that the Nets have acquired powerhouses Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce this season. The Knicks were ranked 11th in preseason while the Nets were ranked 7th. Both the teams have been huge surprises and disappointments thus far this season.
Moving forward to the Central Division, the Indiana Pacers sit at first both in the Eastern Conference and Central Division at 9-1 followed by the Chicago Bulls, who have a record of 5-3. The Bulls are still trying to get back into full season mode after superstar Derrick Rose returned from the torn ACL injury he suffered back in the 2012 playoffs.
In the Southeast Division, the Miami Heat stand at first with a record of 7-3 followed by Atlanta at 6-4. The reigning NBA champions, the Miami Heat, still look to repeat their championship title, despite a rocky 4-3 start to the season.
By TYLER DOAN