Would you look at that, a full 82 game schedule. Haven’t seen one of those in a while. Kind of missed it.
The NBA released the full season schedule on Thursday and clearly they had some marketing in mind. Some fans liked the big splash when the league opened on Christmas Day last year after the lockout, so the NBA put some splash up front to try and appease them. It can be hard for the NBA to make a dent in October and November, when the NFL and college football are in full swing, but they certainly are trying.
The games kick off Oct. 30 with one highlight matchup. Here are some schedule highlights at first glance.
Oct. 30 (opening night):
Wizards at Cavaliers (John Wall vs. Kyrie Irving)
Celtics at Heat
Mavericks at Lakers
The highlight of that schedule is Celtics at Heat — Boston has to go into Miami and watch them raise a banner and get their rings. Then they have to play against Ray Allen. Kevin Garnett is fired up for that game today. After that we get to see Steve Nash against one of the teams he spurned this summer.
Spurs at Hornets
No. 1 pick Anthony Davis makes his NBA debut against Tim Duncan. Not a bad career trajectory if you are looking to follow one.
Knicks at Nets
Thunder at Spurs
We told you about this one before, Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks take the 2 line/Seventh Avenue Express over to Brooklyn to help the Deron Williams and the Nets open the new Barclays Center. (Sure, Amare Stoudemire would take the subway to a game, why not?) Biggest question, what’s the ration of Nets to Knicks fans for this one? About 70/30?
Rockets at Knicks
Jeremy Lin returns to New York.
Dec. 25 (Christmas)
Celtics at Nets
Knicks at Lakers
Thunder at Heat
Rockets at Bulls
Nuggets at Clippers
Obviously the finals rematch is the marquee game and the Knicks vs. Lakers will be fun (Knicks fans can get Nash envy). But the real sleeper on that card is Nuggets at Clippers, which should be entertaining. Staples Center double-header that day.
Lakers at Suns
Steve Nash returns to Phoenix. I think most Suns fans were at peace with him leaving to chase a ring — until he went to the hated Lakers. Interesting to see how they great him.
Miami at Boston
Ray Allen will hear a new sound from his beloved Celtics fans at this game.
Other notes from a first glance at the schedule:
• The Brooklyn Nets open the Barclays Center with six of eight games at home.
• Joe Johnson returns to Atlanta on Jan. 16. No bad blood there, though, even Hawks fans wanted to get rid of his contract.
• Speaking of returns, Jason Terry returns to Dallas March 22. Again, no real bad blood there.
• Soft start for the Clippers, who have 7 of first 9 at home and one “away” game against the Lakers. They will pay for that later when the Grammys kick them out of town for a couple weeks.
• The Lakers visit the Celtics Feb. 7, and Boston comes out to L.A. a couple weeks later on Feb. 20.