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How fitting the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics will be showcased on the NBA's opening night.

Let's just fast forward eight months ahead when they meet in the NBA Finals.

No regular season has become as inconsequential as the NBA's. For the last four years, the Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers have squared off for the championship. Viewers were supposed to be interested in meaningless games, not just in the regular season but also the playoffs, until Steph Curry and LeBron James showed up for the finals.

About the only change this season is King James won't be in the finals — and if the Cavaliers are it would be the biggest upset in sports history. LeBron has taken his talents to Los Angeles and the Lakers.

Even the greatness of James can't carry the Lakers past Golden State in the West and into the finals. And Cleveland will be lucky to make the postseason.

Boston showed last season it was the heir apparent to take control in the East if James left the Cavaliers. The Celtics made it to the East finals a year ago, losing to Cleveland, and that was without Gordon Hayward, who suffered a gruesome knee injury in the season opener and was lost for the season.

Hayward has returned and with Kyrie Irving, James' former sidekick in Cleveland, also healthy, the Celtics are heavy favorites to reach the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.

Golden State, which has won two straight championships and three of the last four, hasn't taken a step back. In fact, the Warriors are probably better with another All-Star, DeMarcus Cousins, signing up to get a ring.

And we're supposed to be interested in the next 82 games when we have a pretty good idea what is gonna happen in June?

Of course, a significant injury to one or two stars on either the Warriors or Celtics could alter a championship clash. Philadelphia has plenty of talented young players who could possibly pose a challenge, although the 76ers seem at least a year away.

That's why college basketball is so much more appealing. Teams lose too many games in the regular season and risk missing out on the NCAA Tournament. Then in the tourney, it's a one-game crapshoot every time out.

Imagine if the Warriors or Celtics lost just one playoff game and were gone? Now that would be entertaining.

Enjoy Tuesday's opening night on TNT when Philadelphia takes on Boston at 7 o'clock, followed by Oklahoma City meeting Golden State at 9:30. And if you miss it, don't worry. The Warriors and Celtics will still be playing in June.

College FB: Georgia at LSU (CBS, 2:30 p.m. Saturday:) Second-ranked Georgia seems to be playing in the shadow of mighty Alabama. The Bulldogs can make a statement by going to Baton Rouge and roughing up the Tigers.

MLB playoffs: Astros at Red Sox (TBS, 7 p.m. Saturday, 6 p.m. Sunday): Defending champion Houston got ticked off against Cleveland by being relegated to afternoon games while NY-Boston played in prime time. The Red Sox may pay for that hurt in first two games of AL Championship Series.

NFL: Chiefs at Patriots (NBC, 7:20 p.m. Sunday): Young gunslinger Patrick Mahomes going against legend Tom Brady is the QB duel of the season thus far. New England has a habit of slowing down the best offenses … just ask Peyton Manning.

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Contact Jim Benson at jbenson@pantagraph.com.

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Reporter

Reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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