For more than four months we’ve been asking, with no real response, when is basketball coming back?
And finally, we have not only a concrete date, but a full schedule of NBA games to now look forward to.
The NBA released its slate of “regular season” games, which each team will play eight of to determine seeding heading into the NBA Playoffs. And with so few games, they’ll all hold even greater importance.
Here are some that we’re most excited about.
Thursday, July 30
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers, 9:00 p.m. ET
Folks, there is a reason this game is the headliner of the NBA’s first evening back. And what better matchup could you ask for than LeBron James and Anthony Davis against Kawhi Leonard and Paul George?
In what is likely to be a preview of the Western Conference Finals, we’ll see which L.A. powerhouse had the better quarantine.
Friday, July 31
Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks, 6:30 p.m. ET
The Celtics have had more than enough time to get healthy, the biggest woe they faced all season up until the hiatus.
So presuming they aren’t too rusty, and if they’re going to be a dark horse team to make a deep run as some predict, it will depend how they play against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks. Boston should be better-suited for the challenge now.
Monday, August 3
Memphis Grizzlies vs. New Orleans Pelicans, 6:30 p.m. ET
The NBA’s Rookie of the Year award is a toss up between Zion Williamson and Ja Morant. Their respective teams, the New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies, face off on Day 2 of the NBA’s return.
Not to mention, both teams are fighting for a playoff seed in the Western Conference, as they’re tied for eighth-place.
Thursday, August 6
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Houston Rockets, 9:00 p.m. ET
The Rockets and their small-ball style was one of the NBA’s leading storylines right before the league’s pause. And their squad, led by James Harden and Russell Westbrook, certainly are capable of a deep run in the playoffs.
So we’ll see how they’re looking by the time they face off against LeBron and the Lakers.
Wednesday, August 12
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors, 6:30 p.m. ET
The Sixers’ roster is much better than their play led on before the pandemic pause. Still, they found themselves at No. 6 in the Eastern Conference standings the day everything stopped.
But a strong showing against the Raptors, positioned in second place, could help the Sixers make up some ground in the East. Not to mention how difficult Toronto’s seeding schedule is, having to play the Lakers, Miami Heat, Celtics and Bucks.