Warriors vs. LeBron, Lakers highlight top 15 games 2021-22 originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The 2021-22 NBA season is one more step after the full schedule was released on Friday afternoon.
After two seasons cut short by the pandemic, the NBA is returning to a more normal schedule in 2021-2022, with each team playing 82 games. That means we have 1,230 regular season games ahead of us.
There are a ton of great games on the 2021-22 roster, but here are 15 you won’t want to miss.
The defending champions will kick off the 2021-22 season against the brooklyn nets on Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m. ET in a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference second round series.
With Kyrie Irving sidelined and a shackled James Harden, Kevin Durant almost carried the Nets past the eventual champions in the conference final. But Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Bucks outlasted Durant and Co. in a wild seven-game streak.
The Nets were probably wondering what could have happened watching Milwaukee defeat the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Finals. They’ll have their first chance to show they’re the team to beat in the East when they face the Bucks on Opening Night. But the reigning NBA champions have historically dominated in Game 1 of their following season, holding a 58-16 all-time record.
The Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers met in the Play-In tournament last season, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see them face off in the Western Finals this season. Steph Curry and the Dubs become Klay thompson back at some point after an absence of two seasons. Golden State also added veteran coins like André Iguodala and Otto Porter Jr., and a pair of promising recruits.
Meanwhile, the Lakers caused a stir by trading for Russell Westbrook and replenished their depth with several free agent additions, highlighted by Malik Monk, Trevor Ariza, Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard. The first of four regular season clashes between the Western Conference heavyweights follows the Nets-Bucks clash on opening night at 10 p.m. ET in LA
Overall top pick Cade Cunningham will make his NBA debut against the Chicago Bulls October 20. Cunningham entered the draft as a consensus pick No.1, and he watched the part in the 2021 NBA Las Vegas Summer League. The Oklahoma State product averaged 18.7 points on 50% of 3 shots while displaying tantalizing two-way potential. His first game against the Bulls could be the start of an illustrious career.
Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks, October 20
Former head coach and current general manager Brad stevens end the Kemba walker in Boston after two seasons full of injuries, sending the 31-year-old point guard, with his huge contract, to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Walker, who didn’t exactly fit Thunder’s rebuilding schedule, struck a buyout deal with OKC, release him to sign with his hometown of New York Knicks. Walker will get four points for revenge on the Celtics this season, the first to come to Madison Square Garden on October 20..
Atlanta Hawks vs. Philadelphia 76ers, October 30
The Atlanta Hawks stunned the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round of the 2021 playoffs. Trae Young has established himself as a legitimate superstar as Atlanta toppled the East seed in seven games. The Sixers will have their first chance for revenge when they face the Hawks on October 30. Ben simmons had a nightmarish streak against Atlanta, with him pass a dunk wide open late in Game 7 being the lasting picture of the Philly playoff collapse. Although it seems more likely that he will be on another team by the time this game goes.
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Philadelphia 76ers, November 1
Chances are the Sixers will face the Portland Trail Blazers November 1 that this is just an ordinary regular season game between two good teams. But it is also could be the first time Damian Lillard has faced his former team. Lillard’s future is still unstable in the later stages of the offseason, and the Sixers would be ready to pounce if and when the six-time All-Star calls for a trade. With Simmons seemingly in the trade market, this may also be his revenge game as a member of the Blazers.
Detroit Pistons vs. Houston Rockets, November 10
The top two picks in the 2021 Draft will meet for the first time in an NBA game on November 10 in Houston. Cunningham and Jalen Green have previously provided a preview of this Summer League game, where the two impressed recruits. Green, who thinks he should have been the No.1 pick against Cunningham, was clearly excited for this one-on-one exhibition match in Las Vegas. You can expect him to bring the same kind of intensity for what should be the first of many battles between the two.
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets, November 14
Lillard’s future in Portland has been in question since his cryptic Instagram post after a first-round playoff loss to the shorthanded Denver Nuggets. And it’s hard to fault him for having doubts after his Trail Blazers couldn’t beat a starting backcourt from Facundo Campazzo and Austin Rivers. Yes, the Nuggets still had MVP Nikola Jokic, but even a 55 points, 10 assists of Dame in Game 5 was not enough for Portland to win. So will the Blazers still have Lillard at their disposal when they try to avenge their playoff loss to Denver on November 14?
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics, November 19
As the most legendary rivalry in NBA history, Lakers-Celtics is still a staple. But this season’s games will have a little more juice afterwards Dennis schröder traded his purple and gold for Celtic green. Schröder would have refuse a four-year, $ 84 million deal with the Lakers in March. LA never responded to Schroder’s demands and instead acquired Russell Westbrook to be their new playmaker. Schroder couldn’t find the long-term deal he was looking for in free agency, ultimately settling for of a one year, $ 5.9 million contract with the Celtics. Schroder and the Cs will see the Lakers for the first time on November 19 at TD Garden.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Utah Jazz, December 15
When Kawhi Leonard injured his knee in the playoffs, it looked like the Utah Jazz had a clear path to the Western Finals. But Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers had other plans, scoring back-to-back wins without Leonard to rebound the best team in the NBA regular season of the playoffs. It marked the end of another disappointing playoff streak for Utah, which failed to reach the conference final once again. Leonardo, who had surgery to fix a partially torn ACL in July, probably won’t be ready when the Clippers and Jazz first meet on December 15, but Utah knows not to take this game lightly.
Brooklyn Nets vs. Los Angeles Lakers, December 25
James lebron, Anthony davis and Westbrook against Durant, Harden and Irving on Christmas Day? It doesn’t get much better than that. The two teams with the best odds for the 2022 NBA title, according to our partner PointsBet, will fight in a star-studded showdown on December 25 at 8 p.m. ET. The Lakers and Nets were also the top two title favorites for last year’s playoffs, but injuries derailed both teams’ efforts to win a championship. Hopefully all the stars are available for their showdown on Christmas Day.
Chicago Bulls vs. San Antonio Spurs, January 28
In one of the biggest moves of the offseason, DeMar DeRozan joined the Bulls on a three-year, $ 85 million contract via a San Antonio Spurs signing and trade. DeRozan, who came to San Antonio as part of the Kawhi Leonard trade, has had three good seasons individually with Spurs but hasn’t enjoyed a ton of success as a team. Spurs have only made the playoffs once with DeRozan after a 48-game winning campaign in 2018-19, losing in the first round. DeRozan makes his first visit to San Antonio with the reshuffled Bulls on Jan.28.
Miami Heat vs. Toronto Raptors, February 3
Kyle Lowry, the greatest Raptor of all time, returns to Toronto on February 3. The 35-year-old playmaker made an expected departure from Toronto this offseason via a signing and trade, marking a three-year, $ 85 million deal with the Miami Heat. Lowry spent nine seasons north of the border, making the playoffs seven times and bringing the franchise to its very first championship in 2019. His first return to Scotiabank Arena will be emotional (Lowry has already conceded He will cry).
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Phoenix Suns, February 10
You can bet the Suns will have this one circled on their schedule. The first rematch of the 2021 NBA Finals is scheduled for February 10 in Phoenix. Other than PJ Tucker leaving the Bucks for the Miami Heat, none of those teams have undergone any significant roster changes during the offseason. So this regular season game will look a lot like what we saw in the final, where the Bucks came back from a 2-0 series deficit to win the title.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Washington Wizards, March 19
Russell Westbrook will return to the nation’s capital with his hometown Lakers for the first time on March 19. While Westbrook only spent one season in DC, he had a great time. The Nine Times All-Star broke Oscar Robertson’s all-time triple-double record and helped the Wizards win 17 of their last 23 regular season games en route to a playoff berth. His counterpart at the post of point guard against Washington will be the newly acquired Spencer dinwiddie, who signed with the Nets on a three-year, $ 62 million contract.
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