The Dallas Mavericks and the Minnesota Timberwolves kick off the new NBA season with a friendly match in Abu Dhabi.

Pre-season in full swing

Luka in high spirits

In the opening match-up between Dallas and Minnesota, it was expected that the coaches of both teams would want to see how their players performed on the floor. This is also a time to work on different combinations that could come in handy during the regular season. To this end, all players have been given a good distribution of minutes, with a total of 33 players playing in the opening game.

As expected, Slovenian star Luka Dončić, who is entering his sixth season in the NBA, was the best performer, scoring 25 points in the first game, despite playing just 16 minutes on the floor. The Ljubljana native added 5 rebounds and an assist. He was also strong in the second game, scoring 18 points in just over 18 minutes (3-pointer 2:7, 2-pointer 3:5, free throws 6:7), adding 6 assists and 6 rebounds… Dallas lost both games.

Establishing a successful co-existence between Dončić and Irving

Dončić said he expects to have better chemistry with star teammate Kyrie Irvingt his season:

“Last year Kyrie came in the middle of the season and we didn’t have much time to adjust. We went straight to playing games. It takes time for chemistry, especially on the court. We have a full training camp and pre-season ahead of us, so I think it will be much better.”

What will need to be fixed?

“We just have to play with each other. We are both leaders of this team,” adds Dončić.

Many well-known faces at both games

Wherever the world’s strongest league meets, it attracts a lot of interest and interesting guests. This year, we have seen many celebrities from the world of film, television and other sports. We saw the legendary Brazilian footballer Ronaldo in the front row, and comedian Steve Harvey. NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, among others, watched the game in front of 18,000 spectators at the Etihad Arena.

Other teams start their preparations and games

Only the aforementioned Dallas and Minnesota, as teams, had the right to start their preparations for the new season earlier than the other teams. The reason lies in the already played friendly games. But in the meantime, the other teams have also started to work in earnest. So we already have a few friendly games under our belts. Warriors beat the LA Lakers (125:108), Milwaukee won against Chicago (105:102), the Phoenix Suns and the Detroit Pistons played into overtime and the Suns came out on top (130:126). Boston beat Philadelphia (114:106), Toronto beat Sacramento (112:99), Memphis beat Indiana (127:122) and the Utah Jazz won their game against the LA Clippers (101:96).

Spectacle in Madrid

After two games in Arabia against Minnesota, Dončić and his teammates are heading to Europe. Jason Kidd’s squad played its third preparatory match on Tuesday, when the current European champions Real Madrid played at the Wizink Centre in Madrid. The match was particularly emotional for the Slovenian captain. The Royal Club of Madrid was a stepping stone for the Ljubljana player. He spent six years in Spain, where he earned the right to make the jump to the NBA, where since 2018 he has been playing for Dallas. He will then play only one more game with Detroit before the start of the new season (21 October). We’ll keep you updated on the game itself in our next blog.

Wembanyama brings the San Antonio crowd to its feet

More than 13,000 spectators gathered at the Frost Bank Center in San Antonio just to get a closer look at Victor Wembanyama and the Spurs, or the intra-game practice game between the basketball players that served as preparation for the regular season.

“It’s been a long time since I played in front of so many people,”

said the 19-year-old French talent. The Spurs drafted him number one overall in this year’s draft, but the basketball public may have slightly too high expectations for the teenager. Wembanyama finished with nine points and five rebounds in front of 13,200 fans in a low-intensity mini-game that lasted for four ten-minute periods. Interesting fact – the Spurs will start the regular season on 26 October against the Dallas Mavericks.

How the NBA League works

The 2023-24 NBA season is the upcoming 78th season of the NBA. The regular season is scheduled to begin on 24 October 2023 and end on 14 April 2024. The NBA will hold its first ever in-season tournament between 3 November and 9 December, with all games except the Finals counting towards the regular season rankings.

Before it’s really NBA time, we invite you to hop on over to our website, find the FAN ZONE tab, where you’ll find a wide variety of NBA shirts, jerseys and other NBA merchandise. Choose a few of your favourites to show your team loyalty.