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2015-16 NBA season is finally here; tips off on October 27
- Defending Champion Golden State Warriors to Play Against New Orleans Pelicans on first day –
- Runners up Cleveland Cavaliers to Face Chicago Bulls in the Opening Game -
- Two Games per Day to be Broadcast Live on Sony SIX in India -
MUMBAI, INDIA, Oct. 27 – The 2015-16 NBA season tips off Oct. 27 with the runners up of last season Cleveland Cavaliers taking on Chicago Bulls at the United Center, Chicago followed by the defending champions Golden State Warri
ors and New Orleans Pelicans squaring off at ORACLE Arena in Oakland. Both games will be broadcast live on Sony SIX. With the expanded partnership, Sony SIX will broadcast up to two regular-season games per day, in addition to NBA All-Star, the playoffs and The Finals. Sony SIX will also create customized lifestyle-oriented, off-the-court programming that engages Indian youth by bringing together talent from the NBA, Sony Entertainment and Bollywood. Sony SIX will continue to broadcast daily and weekly NBA highlight shows and integrate daily content from NBA TV, including team previews and recap shows. The daily 30-minute highlight programs will be broadcast in primetime every day of the season. The weekly highlight shows, hosted by a local anchor, will recap all the happenings around the NBA during the past week. For the first time in India, the NBA and Sony SIX will introduce a customized, local live NBA wraparound program every weekend throughout the season, bringing viewers closer to the game. The program will be hosted by a panel of basketball experts that will provide analysis and insight on all of the latest NBA news. Here is a look at the top storylines heading into the 2015-16 season:
The 2014-15 season was a dream year for the Warriors, who won a franchise-record 67 games en route to their first championship in 40 years. That title could very well be just the start of an extended run of success for a talented and cohesive unit led by coach Steve Kerr and reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry.
The Spurs were a play or two away from defeating the Clippers in the first round of the 2015 playoffs. The Clippers led the Rockets 3-1 in the second round before losing in seven games. The Rockets couldn’t hold a 16-point lead against the Warriors in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals and lost Game 2 by a point. In short, had a few things bounced differently, all three teams had a decent chance to win it all. So, rather than scrap and start over, each team made a few key moves in hopes of being right back in the mix this season. The Spurs added a big fish in LaMarcus Aldridge, re-signed Danny Green, acquired Ray McCallum to replace Cory Joseph and will integrate 2014 first-round pick and 2015 Las Vegas Summer League MVP Kyle Anderson into the rotation. The Clippers eventually re-signed DeAndre Jordan and improved their depth and athleticism by adding Paul Pierce, Lance Stephenson and Josh Smith.
The Cavaliers, fresh of an NBA Finals appearance, largely stood pat this offseason, re-signing Kevin Love, Iman Shumpert, Matthew Dellavedova and J.R. Smith, while adding former Cav Mo Williams via free agency. Love, Kyrie Irving, Anderson Varejao and Timofey Mozgov are all on the mend from surgery, Shumpert is out for a while after having wrist surgery and Tristan Thompson’s contract status is still up in the air. But the Cavs have the same basic core that went an NBA-best 34-9 from Jan. 15 through the end of the regular season.
As for last season’s other East finalist, 2014-15 Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer guided Atlanta to a franchise-record 60 wins last season. The Hawks lost a key player from their vaunted starting five in defensive ace DeMarre Carroll, but they added a wing shooter in Tim Hardaway Jr. and addressed their lack of size by trading for Tiago Splitter and signing 7-3 Walter Tavares, the 43rd pick of the 2014 NBA Draft.
For those who’ve followed the NBA for the past two decades, it’s hard to think of Kobe Bryant as an elder statesman. His boyish smile and breathtaking ability feel locked in time, whether he was teaming with Shaquille O’Neal to win three championships in the early 2000s, or emerging as the undisputed top dog during his two most recent titles, in 2009 and ’10. Bryant, 37, is set to kick off his 20thseason with the Lakers, who are in rebuilding mode but have remained steadfast in their belief that Bryant should never wear another uniform. Only Robert Parish, Kevin Willis and Kevin Garnett have played more seasons (21) than Bryant, who ties former Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (20) for second on the list.
RULES CHANGES Playoff seeding – Last season, the Spurs and Clippers played one of the most memorable first-round series in NBA history, won by L.A. in the final seconds of Game 7. For as good as the series was, it also got people talking about playoff-seeding rules and how the Spurs were the sixth seed in the Western Conference despite winning four more games than the No. 4 seed, Portland, which earned a top-four seed by virtue of winning the Northwest Division. This season, as part of a rule change, the eight playoff teams in each conference will be seeded in order of their regular-season record, and division winners will not be guaranteed a top-four seed or a playoff spot. Instant Replay Center – In another significant change for this season, current NBA referees will be staffed in the Replay Center, making decisions on certain replay situations and facilitating the on-the-court review of others. All replay reviews will continue to be triggered by the referees on the court. Once triggered, though, the final determination of certain reviews will be made by the referees in the Replay Center and then communicated back to the on-court crew chief for administration of the call. Examples of replays that will be determined by the NBA Replay Center are whether a field goal was a two- or three-point attempt, end-of-quarter made field goals, out-of-bounds calls, goaltending and potential shot-clock violations. NBA broadcast schedule in India on Oct. 28:
Cleveland Cavaliers at Chicago Bulls, United Center, Chicago (Wednesday, Oct. 28 at 5:30 a.m. on both SIX SD and SIX HD)
New Orleans Pelicans at Golden State Warriors, ORACLE Arena, Oakland (Wednesday, Oct. 28 at 8 a.m. on both SIX SD and SIX HD)