With most of the offseason wrapped up, we’re turning the page to the 2021-22 season, which starts with the announcement of the NBA schedule which the league revealed Friday afternoon. We already knew some key dates on the calendar, as the NBA announced the Christmas Day slate of games on Tuesday, in addition to the two opening night games when the season starts on Oct. 19. But now we know the entire regular season schedule which includes some special highlights as the NBA celebrates its 75th anniversary.
In celebration of that anniversary, the league will have “classic matchups” that pay homage to the first season back in 1946. The first of those classic matchups will be between the New York Knicks and Toronto Raptors on Nov. 1, to mark the 75th anniversary to date of when the NBA held its first regular season game. The league will also celebrate the three franchises who have played in every NBA season — the Knicks, Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors (previously the Philadelphia Warriors) — by holding three nationally televised games between those three teams over a five-day span in December.
The final “classic matchup” will happen on Jan. 7 between the Los Angeles Lakers and Atlanta Hawks, which marks the 50th anniversary of when the Lakers beat the Hawks for their 33rd-straight win, which is still the longest winning streak in NBA history.
Aside from the classic matchups, the 75th NBA season will tip off with a star-studded doubleheader on Oct. 19 featuring the Brooklyn Nets at the reigning Milwaukee Bucks, followed by the Golden State Warriors visiting the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center.
For the Christmas Day matchups, here is the full slate of games. SportsLine also has you covered with their odds:
From this list of games on Christmas, the matchup that everyone will be watching closely will be between the Lakers and Nets, which will take place at Staples Center. Depending on where both these teams are at that point in the schedule, it could be a glimpse of what is yet to come should those two teams meet in the NBA Finals as both are considered title contenders. This matchup features several former teammates going head-to-head, with LeBron James facing Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant going up against Russell Westbrook, and James Harden matching up against Carmelo Anthony. There are tons of storylines to be excited about regarding that game, and as long as everyone is healthy — knock on wood — it should be a closely contested game.
Another important day on the NBA’s calendar is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, on Jan. 17th, where 12 games will take place starting at 12:30 p.m. ET between the New Orleans Pelicans and Boston Celtics. The league will also have three nationally televised games that day, with the Memphis Grizzlies hosting the Chicago Bulls at 3:30 p.m. ET, followed by the Bucks visiting the Hawks in Atlanta and closing out the full day of games will be the Jazz playing the Lakers at Staples Center on NBA TV.
Other highlights from the NBA schedule include Kyle Lowry’s return to Toronto on Feb. 3 on TNT to face the Raptors for the first time since the six-time All-Star joined the Miami Heat in free agency. The top two picks from the 2021 NBA Draft — Cade Cunningham (No. 1) and Jalen Green (No. 2) — will face off for the first time in their NBA careers when the Detroit Pistons visit the Houston Rockets on Nov. 10. We’ll also get the first rematch of the 2021 NBA Finals between the Suns and Bucks when Milwaukee visits Phoenix on Feb. 10.
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