LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers

Cavaliers v Celtics; Warriors v Rockets: NBA Tip Off Live On TNT

CLEVELAND, Sporting Alert — The new NBA season will finally tip off on Tuesday night, Oct. 17, with two exciting games and both games are live on TNT.

At 8:00 pm ET, LeBron James and the modified Cleveland Cavaliers will welcome former star player Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics at Quicken Loans Arena.

After the championship rings and banner unveiled, defending champions Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets will take the court at the ORACLE Arena in Oakland for a 10:30 pm tip off in their season opener.

TNT will provide the national televised broadcast of both games, with live online streaming also available Watch TNT.

The season opener between Boston and Cleveland will see James and Irving meeting each other for the first time since the latter asked for a trade to the Celtics during the offseason.

There are doubts, in the meantime, over whether James will play against Boston.

James missed four of the Cavaliers’ five preseason fixtures with a sprained left ankle and although he participated in Monday’s practice, head coach Ty Lue is unsure about him featuring.

“You know, I never hide stuff from you guys. I really don’t know,” Lue said.

“I mean, just depends on how he feels after today, but I really don’t know.”

Should James sit this game out, JR Smith will start in his place, but the veteran guard isn’t banking on that happening, saying after practice Monday that LeBron will play.

“Oh, he’s going to go,” Smith said. “He’s going to go, trust me on that.

“I don’t care what he’s got to do, he’s going to play.”

Meanwhile, ESPN is reporting that the Cavaliers are preparing to welcome back Irving to Quicken Loans Arena with a tribute video as a “thank you” for Irving’s six years with the team.

At the ORACLE Arena, a very confident Golden State side will meet the new-look Houston setup in a matchup many are picking to be the Western Conference Finals.

While the Warriors remain way out in front of everyone other the teams in the league, their travel through the Western Conference this season is expected to be a little more challenging and the Rockets could have a big say later in the campaign.

Several movements, including the addition of Chris Paul from the LA Clippers, are expected to improve the Houston squad that went 1-3 against Golden State a year ago.

“We closed the gap [on the Warriors] only because I feel that we’re better this year last year,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said.

“Now, we’ll see if they’re better. They might be better, so maybe it’s an illusion. That’s the reason we can say that.

“We just feel like we’re a better team this year. Now, we’ve got a ways to go. This is not going to be the same team it is in May. It shouldn’t be. If it is, we’re in trouble.”

James Harden, who welcomes the partnership with Paul in the team’s backcourt, believes the Rockets have a legitimate chance to challenge the Warriors.

Golden State, which is the runaway favorite to win its third NBA title in four years, according to the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, begin their NBA title defense as a 9.5 favorite against Houston on Tuesday night and head coach Steve Kerr speaks about the opener.

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