2012 NBA Schedule: Most Entertaining Games Between Up-and-Comers
The Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder steal all the attention when it comes to the NBA schedule, but the up-and-comers can be just as much fun to watch.
Plenty of teams have added solid young pieces and will be looking to contend for a playoff spot at the end of the 2012-2013 regular season.
Those are the most intriguing matchups between those up-and-coming teams.
The full schedule for the season can be found at NBA.com.
Nov. 14, Jan. 2, Jan. 9 and Jan. 25: Houston Rockets vs. New Orleans Hornets
Youth will be overflowing during this set of four games between the Houston Rockets and New Orleans Hornets.
Jeremy Lin and Austin Rivers will surely draw a lot of headlines, as will Anthony Davis and his unibrow.
The Rockets have more solid young pieces than any other team in the league, and different ones will likely emerge during each game in this series, even though the last three aren't exactly spaced out.
This could be the beginning of a rivalry between two teams that seem poised to become solid playoff contenders for the foreseeable future as soon as the rookies develop.
Nov. 21, Dec. 12, Jan. 3 and March 9: Denver Nuggets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
While the Houston Rockets and New Orleans are on the way up, the Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves are both going to be looking at playoff spots late in the year.
The Nuggets proved last season that they belonged with the postseason qualifiers by taking the Los Angeles Lakers to seven games in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. They didn't lose any key contributors and another year of experience should do them wonders.
Meanwhile, the Timberwolves added plenty of solid new pieces. Between Brandon Roy, Andrei Kirilenko and Chase Budinger, this is a solid and deep roster from point guard through center.
Dec. 7 and Feb. 11: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
When Kyrie Irving and Ricky Rubio square off against each other, it's a must-watch matchup. These are two of the best young point guards in the NBA and are soon going to become two of the best young point guards in the NBA without the "young" modifier.
Irving is already there.
The Cleveland Cavaliers might be one of the true up-and-comers in the Eastern Conference behind their future All-Star point guard and the depth of their frontcourt, but they can't beat the Minnesota Timberwolves this year.
As detailed above, the Wolves improved quite a bit this offseason and—health pending—should compete for a playoff spot throughout the year in the tougher Western Conference.
Jan. 26 and March 9: Golden State Warriors vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Monta Ellis' return to play against his old team will be a big part of this series, but there's so much more to it than that.
The backcourt matchup will be something special if everyone can remain healthy. With Stephen Curry going against Brandon Jennings and Klay Thompson squaring off with Ellis, you almost have to keep your eyes on the guards at all times.
Milwaukee's young frontcourt members like John Henson and Ekpe Udoh should help the Bucks take the next step while Harrison Barnes does the same for the Dubs.
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