The NBA schedule release inevitably generates a high amount of speculation about which days are the most “stay at home and watch all of the basketball” worthy than others. We are excited to see potential match-ups and already start speculating in our heads. This is a magical time because we are not jaded by potential injuries or other factors. We just can’t wait to see the games. We took a look at the schedule and compiled our own list of games we must watch.
November 2: OKC @ Houston Rockets. Patrick Beverley and Russell Westbrook do not like each other. Russell Westbrook does not like people, or the world, in general, and has a tendency to translate this into pure athletic force and rage. Expect fireworks.
November 11: LA Clippers @ Dallas Mavericks. If you’re a sadist who loves 9-hour NBA games, this is one to watch. Expect Mark Cuban to hire a number of ex-convicts on 10-day contracts for the sole purpose of intentionally fouling. I’ll take the over on DeAndre Jordan shooting 1,000 free throws that night.
December 9: San Antonio Spurs @ Toronto Raptors. Is it one of the defining games of the season? Probably not. For those of us in the #6ix (or who have friends/family/loved ones who we’re willing to go there for), is it possibly your final opportunity to see the Spurs Machine operating at full power before Manu’s knees evaporate into dust and Boris Diaw ceases to be able to fit through the airplane door? Quite likely. Toronto peeps: get to this game.
December 12: San Antonio Spurs @ Atlanta Hawks. Spurs v. Spurs East. If you’re a basketball purist, don’t miss this one.
December 25: LA Clippers @ LA Lakers. We will finally see the introduction of the Turncoat Jersey, with an LA Lakers exterior furnished by an LA Clippers inside. That way, LA’s oh-so-loyal fanbase can just cheer for the winners.
January 28: Sacramento Kings @ New Orleans Pelicans. Suicide Kings in the Smoothie King Arena? Boogie versus The Brow? If you watch any other game on League Pass tonight, you aren’t a real basketball fan.
March 10: Cleveland Cavaliers @ LA Lakers. The game itself will probably not be great – one team is loaded with superstars and one of the defining players of the post-MJ era, and the other are the LA Lakers, whose smart drafting of future stars will see them move from 14th to 11th in the Western Conference of Death. No, it will be great because it might well be the last time that Kobe Bryant and LeBron James play each other in the NBA. What will be great about this game is the weeks immediately before and after it, during which the entire internet will become a giant advertising hoarding for the amicability, civility, and all-around reasonableness that defines the Kobe v. Lebron debate. See y’all in Temecula!
All the Timberwolves v. Jazz games. Karl-Anthony Towns against The Stifle Tower? Yes please! Sign me up!
October 27: NOLA @ GSW. Sure, we get to see some pretty expensive and impressive jewelry handed out this night, a few dances from the Warriors and the Roaracle doing that noise thing they do where 2% of attendants leave permanently deaf. More importantly however we get to see Anthony Davis, fresh off a playoff appearance, come for the souls of the team that sent him home. This should be a fun way to start the season.
October 29: Atlanta Hawks @ NYK. This will be a by the numbers dismantling by the Hawks, however I love New York fans. They have the subtlety of using a battering ram to ask your neighbor for butter and the entitlement of a trophy wife trying to get into first-class. It’s their home opener with the rookie they booed vigorously on draft day. If something is not on fire outside of MSG by half-time consider this a letdown.
November 7: Los Angeles Clippers @ Houston Rockets. The Clippers were two games away from being 8 wins away. And then it all fell apart. We can maybe trace their lack of success to lack of depth, the inability to surround an undisputedly talented core with enough NBA players to be relevant into a deep playoff run. Or we could just say that Houston solved analytics and move on. Either way, this a rematch with as much animosity as you will see this year except for…
November 11: Los Angeles Clippers @ Dallas Mavericks. The “DeAndre-Gate” gave us the greatest single day in the history of Free Agency, Twitter and overpriced big men who can’t shoot free-throws and become a liability in close games. When it’s all said and done, and DeAndre “returns” to Dallas, the atmosphere alone should be worth the watch. On the other hand, Rick Carlisle and Mark Cuban may already be thinking of how expensive it is to infuse some of their new 10-day contract guys’ bones with pure adamantium.
December 12: San Antonio Spurs @ Atlanta Hawks. If love analytics, frequently get into online arguments of LeBron vs. Kobe and overall do not appreciate the gift to man that is Boris Diaw this game is not for you. It’s going to be two and a half hours of basketball nirvana.
December 25: All of them. Feels like a cop-out. You know you’ll be watching.
January 25: San Antonio Spurs @ GSW. A potential Western Conference preview worthy of a George R.R. Martin novel. Stop me if you’ve seen this before. A group of undying wraiths slowly, but surely, creeps into the midst of a younger, and seemingly capable force. They then dismantle them with engineer like precision and we get a few more shots of Kawhi Leonard looking like I do before my second morning coffee – not impressed.
March 19: Los Angeles Clippers @ Memphis Grizzlies. Possibly one of my favorite modern rivalries in the NBA and a prime example that basketball is still kind of a contact sport. Although, we don’t really think a lot of happens here will be basketball. One team is athletically exciting when they can convince Chris Paul to stop stifling posessions and the other one wants Christmas to never exist and the sun to only shine for 3 days a year. Someone might actually die.
March 26: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Portland Trail Blazers. Both teams are going to be horrendous this year. One is trying to mend the curse that is Hinkie secretly sneaking into all of his draft picks’ houses and breaking their limbs to enhance the process, the other devastated by a heartbreak. If nothing else Damian Lillard will go off for like 60 and at some point might just be defended by a cardboard cut-out of Joel Embiid.
April 13: Utah Jazz @ Los Angeles Lakers. As a life-long Lakers fan I had to have one game on this list, and I couldn’t decide which one. There are many possibilities here, but I choose to believe it’s this one. This could very well be Kobe’s last season and last game in Staples (unless they make the Playof… yeah, this is his last game). I choose to believe that Kobe will bow out, if only to preserve his image of a dominant scorer, not a broken down body struggling to keep his limbs attached like he’s been for the past two years. This will be a heartfelt, emotional moment and I will watch it for more than just basketball reasons.