We’ll have to wait nearly an extra week before the NBA season kicks off this season, but at least we now know which teams will christen the 73rd edition of the Association.
According to reports from several media outlets, the NBA has set official dates for opening night (now Oct. 22, one week later than in past years) including games and start times along with the Christmas Day lineup and “revenge” games.
“Revenge” games are ones where a superstar player has left a team for any number of reasons. Players such as Anthony Davis (returning to New Orleans), Kyrie Irving (returning to Boston) are not expected to be met with cheers from the fans of their former teams. However, other stars who left or were traded in the offseason such as Kawhi Leonard and Russell Westbrook will likely be met with intense fanfare.
- Kristaps Porzingis (Dallas Mavericks) returns to the New York Knicks on Nov. 14.
- Davis (Los Angeles Lakers) returns to the New Orleans Pelicans on Nov. 27.
- Irving (Brooklyn Nets) returns to the Boston Celtics on Nov. 27.
- Leonard (Los Angeles Clippers) returns to the Toronto Raptors on Dec. 11.
- Westbrook (Houston Rockets) returns to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Jan. 9.
- George (Clippers) returns to the Thunder on March 3.
Opening night will feature Davis, LeBron James, and the Los Angeles Lakers as they take on Lenoard and the new-look Los Angeles Clippers (recent addition Paul George is expected to miss this game while he recovers from shoulder surgery). The other game of the night will showcase No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Zion Williamson, as the rebuilt New Orleans Pelicans take on the defending champion Toronto Raptors.
As for Christmas Day, make sure to tell you’re family that you have better matters to attend to.
- Clippers @ Lakers (Davis, Rondo, Cousins)
- Pelicans (Miller) @ Nuggets (Murray, Vanderbilt)
- Celtics (Kanter) @ Raptors
- Bucks (Bledsoe) @ 76ers
- Rockets @ Warriors (Cauley-Stein)
Love that Jamal Murray is going to get his first opportunity to shine on Christmas Day. Year four is going to be important for his development (and the justification of his recent max contract extension). The Nuggets aren’t going to get the same type of hype like the Lakers or Clippers, but they’ll be a top three or four team out West all year long. That he’ll be going up against Zion Williamson only adds to the potential excitement. Bucks-Sixers is slowly becoming a must-watch rivalry. I’ve never been more excited to watch Willie Cauley-Stein play basketball. If Paul George is fully healthy by this time, there won’t even be time to open presents.
(Unless it’s a half-off subscription to League Pass)
Football time is almost here, but basketball season isn’t far behind.