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Golden State Warriors

Opening day preview: what to watch in Celtics vs. 76ers, Warriors vs. Thunder

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Opening night games (NBA Getty Images)

The NBA is back!

The regular season begins with an exciting double-header, starting with the Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics at 5:30 AM and ending with the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Golden State Warriors at 8:00 AM.

Here's what to look out for heading into both games.

What to watch in 76ers vs. Celtics

A rematch of last season's Eastern Conference semifinals.

The series wasn't as competitive as many expected - Boston took down Philadelphia in five games without Kyrie Irving or Gordon Hayward - but look for the 76ers to come out of the gates strong in this one as they look to prove themselves as contenders in the Eastern Conference this season.

At the center of it all will be the matchup between Ben Simmons and Jayson Tatum. While they might not spend much time directly matched up with each other, Simmons and Tatum both proved to be stars on the rise last season with impressive rookie campaigns. Don't be surprised if they both establish themselves as All-Stars in the Eastern Conference this season.

Other players who should be on your radar: Markelle Fultz, who will be looking to prove himself following a lost rookie season, Kyrie Irving, who was sidelined during Boston's magical playoff run last season, Gordon Hayward, who missed all but five minutes of his first season with the Celtics with an ankle injury, and Joel Embiid, who has the potential to be a Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year candidate this season.

Basically, there is no shortage of star power and storylines to follow in this one. Expect a highly competitive game.

What to watch in Thunder vs. Warriors

The Thunder and Warriors played each other to a standstill last season, splltting the season series 2-2.

The Thunder won the first two matchups by a combined 37 points. Whereas Russell Westbrook stole the show in the first one with 34 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds, Paul George dominated Oklahoma City's second win with a game-high 38 points on 6-for-11 shooting from 3-point range.

The Warriors blew the Thunder out in the third matchup, but the final game of the season between the two was decided by only four points.

Making this matchup even more intriguing than it was last season are the additions both teams made this offseason. For Oklahoma City, Dennis Schröder gives them some much-needed depth in the backcourt. For Golden State, the addition of DeMarcus Cousins could take the Warriors to an even higher level offensively - although we are unlikely to see the big man on the court until the second half of the season.

The Thunder have positioned themselves well to make some noise in the Western Conference this season, so every game between them and the defending champions will be a good barometer for how seriously we should take them.

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