The NBA announced its national television schedule for the opening week of the regular season, along with its Christmas Day lineup and Martin Luther King Jr Day games yesterday.
The full television schedule for the season, which will tip-off on October 16, will be released on Friday.
Here are observations from the release of the key dates.
#NBAXmas 2018!— NBA (@NBA) August 8, 2018
12pm/et: @Bucks/@nyknicks (ESPN)
3pm/et: @okcthunder/@HoustonRockets (ABC)
5:30pm/et: @sixers/@celtics (ABC)
8pm/et: @Lakers/@warriors (ABC/ESPN)
10:30pm/et: @trailblazers/@utahjazz (ESPN) pic.twitter.com/yILe6tOVgg
No LeBron on opening night
With the Boston Celtics facing the Philadelphia 76ers to begin the season, and the Golden State Warriors receiving their championship rings before playing the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second game, that means LeBron James’ debut with the Los Angeles Lakers won’t come on opening night.
It surprisingly won’t come at the Staples Center either as the Lakers will travel to Portland to kick off their campaign on October 18.
James does get prime billing on Christmas and Martin Luther King Jr Day though, with Los Angeles meeting Golden State on both occasions, so there will be no shortage of Lakers in primetime.
Reviving the rivalry
With the Western Conference as loaded as it is, the NBA is really trying to highlight the best part of the East by pushing Celtics-Sixers on opening night and again on Christmas.
It’s one of the league’s most storied rivalries and was one of the more entertaining series to watch in the playoffs this past season, but it has the chance to become more one-sided now that Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward are healthy.
The NBA missed an opportunity to give us a mouth-watering game on Christmas by leaving out a Toronto Raptors-San Antonio Spurs clash, which would have had Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan going against their former teams.
Instead, we’ll have to watch the New York Knicks play the Milwaukee Bucks. Who was clamoring for that match-up? Yawn.
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