NBA schedule is out, here are some highlights

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The NBA schedule is out for next season.

There are 1230 games over the course of an NBA season, and technically they all count the same. However, some you want to make sure you watch more than others. Here are a few highlights from this season’s schedule.

Opening night, Oct. 25: New York at Cleveland. Carmelo Anthony and crew get to watch LeBron James hoist the first championship banner to go up in Cleveland in 52 years.

Opening night, Oct. 25: San Antonio at Golden State. The other opening night game is Kevin Durant’s first official one in Warriors uniform. These are likely the two top teams in the West next season, and both come in with different looks (Tim Duncan is out, and Pau Gasol is in for the Spurs).

Oct. 27: Boston at Chicago. Al Horford in a Celtics uniform vs. Dwyane Wade in a Bulls uniform.

Oct. 27: San Antonio at Sacramento. The Spurs will be in town for the Kings’ first regular season home game in their new arena.

Oct. 28: Cleveland at Toronto. A rematch of the Eastern Conference Finals, with the Raptors trying to prove last season’s playoff success was no fluke.

Nov. 3: Oklahoma City at Golden State. The first time Durant takes on Russell Westbrook and the rest of his former team.

Nov. 10: Chicago at Miami. Wade returns to South Beach wearing a Bulls uniform. Expect Heat fans to boo him, after they show up in the second quarter.

Dec. 9: Toronto at Boston. These may well be the second and third best teams in the East (Indiana might have something to say about that), and all their meetings should be interesting.

Dec. 25, Christmas Day: This is the NBA’s unofficial second opening night, and they have stacked it with the biggest names and brands. The games in order are:

Boston at New York
Golden State at Cleveland
Chicago at San Antonio
Minnesota at Oklahoma City
L.A. Clippers at L.A. Lakers

Jan. 13, Boston at Atlanta. It’s almost halfway through the season before Horford makes his return to Atlanta wearing Celtics’ green.

Jan. 16, MLK Day: This is one of the NBA’s other big holidays, and they lined up four quality games:

Atlanta at New York
New Orleans at Indiana
Cleveland at Golden State
Oklahoma City at L.A. Clippers

Jan. 19: Minnesota at L.A. Clippers. The Timberwolves are one of the up-and-coming teams in the West. The Clippers are a team trying one more time to win with a lineup that hasn’t gotten out of the second round. This is an excellent mid-season measuring stick for both.

Feb 11: Golden State at Oklahoma City. Kevin Durant returns to OKC wearing a Warriors uniform and playing the villain.

March 11: Golden State at San Antonio. These still are likely the two top teams in the West, and they face off late in the season.

April 12: The final night of the NBA season, and a few of these matchups could have playoff implications.

Detroit at Orlando
Toronto at Cleveland
Milwaukee at Boston
Dallas at Memphis
Minnesota at Houston
San Antonio at Utah
New Orleans at Portland

Draymond Green fined $50,000 for tampering with Devin Booker

Draymond Green fined
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“It’s great to see Book playing well and Phoenix playing well, but get my man out of Phoenix It’s not good for him, it’s not good for his career. Sorry Chuck, but they’ve gotta get Book out of Phoenix. I need my man to go somewhere that he can play great basketball all of the time and win, because he’s that kind of player.”

That was the Warriors’ always outspoken Draymond Green on Inside the NBA on TNT Thursday, talking about the play of Devin Booker and the fast start of the Suns in the bubble.

The second he said it, Ernie Johnson asked, “Are you tampering?” Green said, “maybe.”

The NBA said yes and has fined Green $50,000 for “violating the league’s anti-tampering rule.”

In past years the NBA has mostly ignored player-to-player tampering, but after complaints from owners last season the league is cracking down on — at the very least — public tampering by players. Going on a popular national show to say Booker should leave Phoenix qualifies.

Just a reminder for fans of a team desperate for a star and suddenly looking at Phoenix, Booker has four years left (after this one) on his max contract extension. The Suns are building around him and Deandre Ayton — and right now it looks like it’s working (coach Monty Williams should get a lot of credit for that). The Suns aren’t looking to trade, Booker isn’t looking to leave (and has no leverage anyway), and the Suns seem to be building something real down in the Valley of the Sun.

 

Watch Luka Doncic post 36-19-14 with just dazzling passing (video)

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The Bucks’ have one of the best defenses in NBA history, allowing 7.9 fewer points per 100 possessions than league average. The Mavericks have the highest offensive rating (116.5) in league history.

Something had to give.

And it was Luka Doncic – to teammate after teammate after teammate.

Doncic had 36 points, 19 assists and 14 rebounds in Dallas’ 136-132 overtime win over Milwaukee yesterday. He was in complete control as a scorer and passer, showing just how far he has come.

The Bucks already secured the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. But they played hard, forcing overtime. Giannis Antetokounmpo looked like the MVP with 34 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks.

Doncic was just better.

Report: NBA could play next season at multiple regional bubbles

Warriors star Stephen Curry
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Other than waiting for the coronavirus pandemic to subside – a possibility – the NBA faces MAJOR challenges next season.

The bubble is working for finishing this season. But that’s with just 22 teams rather than the full 30. And this is just for a few months, not a full season. Players are already bristling about how long they’re separated from their families.

Yet, what’s the alternative to a bubble? It looks like the only safe way to play professional sports.

Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated

We’re a ways off from next season, but league sources have told me that the NBA is looking at options that include creating regional bubbles, should the COVID-19 pandemic still prevent normal business in the fall. Teams would report to a bubble for short stints—around a month—which would be followed by 1-2 weeks off.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Orlando is a consideration, and Las Vegas — a finalist for this summer’s restart — would reemerge as a possible site too, sources said.

This is an interesting possibility.

Smaller bubbles would reduce the odds of a coronavirus outbreak that undermines the whole league. But what happens if one bubble has coronavirus issues? Teams’ schedules could get significantly unbalanced quickly.

The shorter bubble lengths would allow players to spend time with family more frequently. But how many players would contract coronavirus while between bubbles? Look how many players got coronavirus during this last layoff.

There are no easy solutions amid this pandemic. This is one of many imperfect ideas that should at least be considered.

Report: NBA not bringing other eight teams to Disney World bubble

Knicks vs. Bulls
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The NBA bringing the “Delete Eight” teams to its Disney World bubble to train as other teams depart?

Like other plans for the Knicks, Bulls, Cavaliers, Pistons, Hawks, Hornets, Timberwolves and Warriors… it’s not happening.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The NBPA has no interest in that idea, sources said. It’s a non-starter. The inevitable solution for the eight teams left out of Orlando: The NBA and NBPA agreeing upon voluntary workouts in the team facilities, sources said.

The NBPA won’t agree to mandatory reporting for players on the eight teams outside of the restart but will eventually allow it on a voluntary level, sources said.

Bringing those other eight teams to the Disney World bubble was always a ridiculous idea. Why would the NBA jeopardize its highly profitable setup just so some lousy teams could train and maybe hold glorified scrimmages?

Voluntary team workouts are a reasonable allowance. Though it’s difficult to ensure players coming and going from a team facility won’t spread coronavirus, some players are playing basketball in groups, anyway. At their own facilities, teams can at least enforce protocols to increase safety. And players who’d rather be more careful wouldn’t be forced to participate.

There’s no reason to make anything mandatory. These eight teams’ seasons are over.