Mark Your Calendars: NBA Schedule Highlights
The NBA season is right around the corner. Get hyped up for the season with some highlights from the schedule release.
By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast
They Did It Again
Bravo, Adam Silver. To the NBA Brass and executives around the league that helped cultivate the 2023-2024 NBA schedule…you did it again. The sport that wins every offseason in headlines, gossip, and drama has given us a plethora of water cooler talkers and primo matchups that we all want. The only surprise to me may have been the lack of promotion leading up to the season’s schedule release day, but alas it’s here and we can all begin to mark our calendars and plan holiday season hoops viewing accordingly.
From a juicy West Coast doubleheader intro to the debut of the Wemby era in the association and a Christmas Day lineup that’s stacked as ever, the upcoming season has some landmark matchups that I’m ready to watch right now. As we wait for time to tick closer to basketball, let’s find the gems on the calendar.
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Opening night on October 24th sets the regular season in motion, and it’s a doozy of a doubleheader to begin the basketball feast. Nikola Jokic and the World Champion Denver Nuggets host Lebron, a re-inked Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers. I’m dying to see how LeBron emerges on night one after getting swept by this team. The doubleheader concludes with the Warriors and the Suns from the Bay Area, and Bradley Beal’s Phoenix Suns debut alongside KD and Devin Booker - the new attempt at a superteam? Time will tell, but I have a funny feeling that this group won’t be much better than last year’s Suns team.
Night two of the NBA regular season calendar features the most anticipated NBA debut since Lebron James two years ago. Spurs head Coach Gerg Popovich just got a shot of adrenaline this offseason in winning the draft lottery. They scooped up French teenage phenom Victor Wembanyama and San Antonio will host a Dallas Mavericks team led by Luka Doncic that’s struggling with life under the cloud of Kyrie Irving. All eyes will be on both these Texas teams on Wednesday night of NBA opening week. As for Wemby's expectations, he’ll have to score at least 25 points to match the output of Lebron James’ NBA debut.
A new twist to the NBA calendar has a trophy and a tournament mid-season, complete with a final four in Vegas. Now, you’re not hallucinating, this is all very real and will be a new concept to hoop fans. Starting on November 3 and running all the way to a championship game on December 9 in Las Vegas, every team in the league has a crack at the illustrious mid-season championship they’ve always dreamed of. There will be a series of “tournament play” nights where the league is split into groups that reminisce the World Cu group play format in soccer, followed by a single elimination knockout round to get us to the final four teams. The semifinals and finals will be in Vegas to crown the inaugural winner, and a great excuse for NBA fans and degenerates to fly out for a weekend.
Under the Christmas Tree
For the casual fan, Christmas Day is the unofficial start to the lengthy NBA season, but it’s also the biggest spotlight on the league that you get all year before the playoffs. For years the NBA has recognized this and rolled out a show-stopping quintuple-header of games covering you from the first present opened to the very last sip of eggnog. They’ve aligned the stars once again to give us the one last Christmas present that no one in the family could deliver. The playoff teams take action across the holiday, with a notable Celtics/Lakers matchup from the Staples Center that should catch a massive TV rating.
Big Boy Matchups
As always, the NBA offseason produces an absurd amount of storylines, and now the gossip and hearsay of the summer will play out on the court for the world to see. Here are some other dates and games to pencil in as appointment viewing:
Friday 10/27: The Heat and the Celtics have their first rematch since their seven-game conference finals series that catapulted Jimmy Butler’s team to the finals.
Tuesday 10/31: We made the Wemby/Kevin Durant comparisons all summer long, and now we’ll get to see them battle head to head on Halloween night.
Wednesday 11/22: Black Wednesday is not only the starter of the Thanksgiving weekend, it’s a doozy of a hoops night with everyone in action and a Celtics/Bucks + Warriors/Suns doubleheader to kick off the party.
…and that’s just the first half of the season.
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