The NBA released the schedule for the upcoming 2018-19 season on Friday afternoon. The 73rd NBA season will begin on Oct. 16 and continue through April 10 with the All-Star break coming Feb. 15-17.
The NBA’s opening week will feature 11 nationally televised (ESPN, TNT, NBA TV) games through the first six days of the season.
After exploring each team’s schedule, I discovered plenty of notable dates that have something to do with Kentucky and some that are just interesting in general. Here’s what I found.
- Detroit Pistons head coach Dwane Casey will make his return to Toronto on Nov. 14 after the organization fired him in the offseason following his Toronto Raptors being swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
- Washington Wizards guard Jodie Meeks should return from his 25-game suspension on Nov. 26 in a home game against the Houston Rockets and it will be broadcast on NBA TV.
- Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins could possibly make his return to New Orleans on April 9, the second to last game of the season for the Warriors. The Warriors will host the Pelicans twice before then, but Cousins probably won’t be ready to play (Achilles) until the game in April.
- New Orleans Pelicans forward Julius Randle’s first game against his former team the Los Angeles Lakers will be Dec. 21 on ESPN in New Orleans.
- Here’s how the fresh rookies will begin their professional careers.
- Kevin Knox: Oct. 17 vs. ATL (National TV debut – vs. IND Oct. 31 on ESPN).
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: Oct. 17 vs. DEN (National TV debut – vs. SAS Nov. 15 on TNT).
- Jarred Vanderbilt: Timetable to return from injury is still unknown.
- Hamidou Diallo: Oct. 16 @ GSW on TNT.
Some other notes about the general NBA schedule.
- The number of back-to-back games is at an all-time low as the league continues to build off last season’s schedule by reducing travel time and limiting the number of consecutive games.
- The Los Angeles Lakers will be featured on national TV games (NBA TV, ESPN, TNT) more than any other team with 36 total appearances. The Golden State Warriors will have the second most at 34. The Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Philadelphia 76ers will all appear in 32 national TV games and the Boston Celtics are right behind them with 31 nationally televised games.
- After losing LeBron James in free agency, the Cleveland Cavaliers – who appeared in 39 nationally televised games last season – will only be featured on national TV seven total times with five of them coming on NBA TV.
Below are the schedules for both the Opening Week and Christmas Day. Kevin Knox (Knicks), Eric Bledsoe (Bucks), Patrick Patterson (Thunder), Nerlens Noel (Thunder), Hamidou Diallo (Thunder), and Rajon Rondo (Lakers) will all be on your TV’s for Christmas Day.
*Why the NBA decided to allow the New York Knicks – who will likely be without Kristaps Porzingis as he continues to recover from an ACL tear and are also expected to be one of the five worst teams in the entire NBA – is beyond me. I guess just being New York has its advantages, however, and it’ll be awesome to see Kevin Knox while I ignore my family and watch basketball for 13 straight hours.*
There are several high profile games this upcoming season that will feature former Kentucky players, here are a few that piqued my interest.
- The Phoenix Suns (Devin Booker, Brandon Knight) will take on the Dallas Mavericks on Oct. 17 on ESPN. Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic will make his much anticipated NBA debut alongside second-year guard Dennis Smith Jr.
- The Oklahoma City Thunder (Patrick Patterson, Nerlens Noel, Hamidou Diallo) will visit the Washington Wizards (John Wall, Jodie Meeks – suspended) on Nov. 2 on ESPN.
- The Minnesota Timberwolves (Karl-Anthony Towns) will visit the New Orleans Pelicans (Anthony Davis, Julius Randle, Darius Miller, DeAndre Liggins) twice with both games being shown on ESPN (Nov. 14 and Feb. 8).
- The Sacramento Kings (Willie Cauley-Stein, De’Aaron Fox, Skal Labissiere, Wenyen Gabriel?) will visit the Los Angeles Clippers (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander) on Nov. 27 on TNT.
- The Denver Nuggets (Jamal Murray, Trey Lyles, Jarred Vanderbilt) will take on the Minnesota Timberwolves (Towns) as they try to avenge last season’s loss on the very last game of the season that sent the Wolves to the playoffs and the Nuggets home. They will play each other four total times with the first being in Minnesota on Nov. 21 and the fourth meeting once again being the very last game of the season for both teams (April 10) with the game being televised on ESPN in Denver.
Other games of interest include:
- LeBron James’ return to Cleveland will be on Nov. 21 on ESPN.
- Kawhi Leonard’s return to San Antonio will be on Jan.3 on TNT.
- There will be four total rematches of last season’s Western Conference Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets; @ HOU on Nov. 21 (TNT) – @ GSW on Jan. 3 (TNT) – @ GSW on Feb. 23 (ABC) – @ HOU on March 13 (ESPN).
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