2012-13 NBA Schedule: The 5 Best Games of the NBA's Opening Week

Nikhil BaradwajSenior Analyst IJuly 27, 2012

2012-13 NBA Schedule: The 5 Best Games of the NBA's Opening Week

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    Well, the full schedule for the 2012-13 NBA season is finally out.

    This is just another step towards the most exciting time for all hoop heads around the world: the start of another season.

    Before looking towards the games in January, February and March, everyone should realize the tremendous slate on tap early on.

    With that in mind, here are the five best games of the 2012-13 season's opening week.

Honorable Mention

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    Memphis Grizzlies at Los Angeles Clippers (October 31, 10:30 EST)

    A rematch of the best first-round playoff series this past season, this matchup is one of the intriguing ones because it pits two of the best in the West. Both teams are in the upper echelon of the Western Conference, with the winner making a strong first impression in the early going of this upcoming season. 

    Washington Wizards at Cleveland Cavaliers (October 30, 7:00 EST)

    One of two opening-night tilts, this game gives fans the opportunity to watch two of the best young point guards in the league in John Wall and Kyrie Irving. Coincidentally, shooting guards Dion Waiters and Bradley Beal also make their rookie debuts, and both will likely find themselves in the starting lineup.

    Denver Nuggets at Orlando Magic (November 2, 7:00 EST)

    I really only want to watch this game if Dwight Howard is still a member of the Orlando Magic. Are Orlando fans going to bring out the boo birds? Or, are they going to plead for him to remain with the Magic long-term? The latter is unlikely, but even so, the possible reactions to D-12 return to the court are intriguing.

No. 5: San Antonio Spurs at New Orleans Hornets (October 31st, 8:00 EST)

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    This matchup is so great for two reasons.

    For one, it marks the beginning of Anthony Davis' NBA career. His debut is probably the most highly anticipated one since LeBron James joined the Association in 2003, considering that he is on the 2012 Olympic team for the United States.

    In addition, this game pits one of the greatest teams of the 2000's facing off against possibly one of the best teams in the future.

    With Ryan Anderson and Austin Rivers making their debuts as Hornets and Eric Gordon returning, New Orleans has one of the more promising cores in the league.

    On the other side, San Antonio returns everyone in the hopes of winning its fifth NBA title. I have learned to never count the Spurs out, and they are still a legitimate threat to raise the Larry O'Brien Trophy in June.

    Anthony Davis will also make his debut against possibly the greatest power forward of all-time in Tim Duncan. What a way to start your NBA journey.

No. 4: Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers (November 2, 10:30 EST)

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    The Battle of Los Angeles commences on the NBA season's first Friday night of action.

    For the first time in a long time, the Los Angeles Clippers can make a claim that they are the best team in LA. With Chris Paul and Blake Griffin in tow, the Clips are a formidable threat to even the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    Then there's the Lakers, the winningest team in NBA history. Los Angeles made a huge splash during the free-agency period when it picked up Steve Nash via a sign-and-trade with Phoenix. Nash gives the Lakers a top-tier point guard and will be a huge upgrade over Ramon Sessions.

    The winner of this game gets early bragging rights in LA while also notching a quality win in the early going. 

    Disregarding the fact that both teams are based in Los Angeles, this matchup is great from a basketball perspective.

    Several possible All-Star Game starters will be on the court for this one, including Paul, Griffin, Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum.

No. 3: New York Knicks at Brooklyn Nets (November 1, 7:00 EST)

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    From the Battle of Los Angeles, we move to the Battle of New York City.

    In their first game in the Brooklyn-based Barclays Center, the Nets will face their Big Apple counterparts, the New York Knicks.

    Brooklyn enters with its "Core Four," made up of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez. Don't forget Kris Humphries and MarShon Brooks, though.

    The Knicks return basically everyone of note other than Jeremy Lin, who had a highly-publicized fallout with owner James Dolan. That means Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler are back to redeem themselves for a poor playoff performance last season.

    While superstars like Williams and Anthony will be in this game, both teams are quite deep and will challenge for top-four playoff spots.

    With the Nets and Knicks in the same division, this game has more implications than just bragging rights. 

    Look for this one to be a slugfest from beginning to end, as both teams are quite evenly matched.

No. 2: Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs (November 1, 9:30 EST)

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    Directly following the Battle of New York is a rematch of last season's Western Conference Finals.

    The Oklahoma City Thunder stunned the San Antonio Spurs by winning four straight games after falling into a 2-0 hole in the early going of the series.

    Both teams will be contending once more next season, as the Thunder and Spurs both look to unseat the Miami Heat as NBA championships.

    Many have called the Thunder the "next Spurs," considering both teams are based in small markets and have "Big Threes." 

    The question is whether San Antonio has rebounded from the devastating loss that Oklahoma City dealt it last season. My gut tell me that it is experienced enough to handle the adversity.

    This one will probably go down to the wire considering that it took a clutch three-pointer from James Harden to put the Spurs away the last time the Thunder visited San Antonio. 

No. 1: Boston Celtics at Miami Heat (October 30, 8:00 EST)

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    The NBA really gave us the best possible opener that they could give us.

    The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat truly hate each other. Just ask Rajon Rondo what he thinks of the Miami players.

    Adding Ray Allen's departure from Boston to join Miami makes the bad blood between the two likely even worse than it already was.

    The East's two best teams face off to really see which team is better at this point. Both teams made changes during the offseason in the hopes of cementing themselves as the team to beat.

    Not only is this a great basketball matchup, considering that both teams' styles clash greatly, but also, it marks the first game that LeBron James will no longer be the "Ringless King."

    It is going to be quite the scene when the Heat get their championship rings and the banner is raised as Miami's hated rivals and Ray Allen look on.

    I seriously can't wait.