The NBA released its 2015-16 schedule Wednesday, revealing intriguing matchups for opening week, Christmas, MLK day, and every thing in between. So what are the most important games during this season? When do rivals face off? When do stars return to their former teams?
The 2015 season tips off on October 27th, when the Detroit Pistons visit Atlanta to play the Hawks at 7:30 ET. Next are two of last year’s playoff series. At 8:00 ET, the Chicago Bulls host the Cleveland Cavaliers, followed by the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors playing the New Orleans Pelicans in the Oracle at 10:30 ET.
The rest of opening week features the San Antonio Spurs taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder on October 28th, the Los Angeles Clippers facing the Dallas Mavericks on the 29th, and on the 30th, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers have their home opener against the Miami Heat. Both teams come into the season with high expectations, and we could be seeing a future playoff series.
November 11th is the night of The Return, sort of. DeAndre Jordan and the Clippers travel to Dallas to play the Mavs. This isn’t really a “return” for DJ, since he never actually played in Dallas, but after he verbally agreed to sign with the Mavs, and backed out, this game brings drama, and Jordan’s sure to catch some boos. In the night game, LaMarcus Aldridge returns to Portland after leaving in free agency as the Spurs play the Blazers.
Christmas Day is full of rivalries, returns, and superstar matchups. Holiday basketball starts off at noon when the Pelicans visit Miami to play the Heat on ESPN. Next, on ABC, the Thunder host the Bulls, and later, at 5 ET, the Cavs and Warriors meet in a Finals rematch at Oracle on ABC. The night games pit state rivals against each other, in Rockets VS Spurs, and Clippers VS Lakers, both on ESPN.
The new Saturday night games tips off January 23rd on ABC with the Cavaliers hosting the Bulls. From this game on, the Saturday night games feature high-profile teams, like the Warriors, Spurs, and Thunder.
April 9th is the final regular season game in the Kings’ Sleep Train Arena. The Kings play the Thunder in their last game in STA.
April 13th could be the end of an incredible career, when the Lakers end their season against the Jazz. This is could be Kobe’s last regular season game, and luckily, it will be played in Staples. Since the West is so deep, the Lakers likely won’t make the playoffs this season, so if Kobe calls it quits after this season, a game versus Utah in LA, could be his final one.
The Cavs and Warriors play on national TV the maximum 25 times, while the Clippers and Thunder each play 24 games that are nationally televised. The Lakers are on national TV 19 times, while the Knicks only get 7 games. The 76ers, Nuggets, and Pistons all play 0 nationally televised games.
This year the NBA made an effort to increase rest for the players, lowering the amount back to back games, and dropping instances of 4 games in 5 days by 61%. The league also reduced the amount of miles travelled between games.
The 2015-16 NBA season is full of rivalries, returns, and (maybe) a goodbye to a legend. October 27th is coming up quickly, and the answers will come soon enough.