1. Playoff intensity from game one
There is no doubt these two organizations see this opening contest as a statement game. All of the ingredients are there for this to be a classic. The return of Durant and Paul to face their respective teams obviously, but it goes so much further than that on national television.
This will be Frank Vogel’s first proper game as head coach, so look for him to make a splash defensively. All of the talk has been about how good the Suns can be offensively, and where they will struggle defensively with the top-heavy roster they have. Vogel will be looking to change the narrative quickly.
Center Deandre Ayton is another who will come in with plenty to prove, and perhaps being used in a new way under Vogel and his coaching staff. This is a huge year for the 25-year-old, and there’s no better place to assert your dominance than in front of millions of people against the defining franchise of the last decade.
Added spice comes in the form of Thompson’s recent comments on The Podcast P with Paul George, where he said that he regretted his four rings celebration aimed at Devin Booker. That beef appears to be quashed (for now), but you can bet Booker is going to come out flying to show that last season’s playoffs were the next step in his evolution.
This game is going to have playoff intensity right from the jump, with two healthy groups who both think they can win a championship this season going hell for leather in trying to beat the other. There may have been other matchups that made sense to start the season, but no two teams are going to give fans their money’s worth like the Suns going up against the Warriors.