NBA Preseason 2013: Intriguing Games on the Exhibition Schedule
It might only be the preseason in the NBA, but that doesn't mean there aren't a good number of intriguing games to look forward to.
Obviously, the final score isn't the most important thing to pay attention to in these games; rather, it's the new faces in new places and stars returning from injury who create excitement.
If you only catch a glimpse of a limited amount of preseason games this season, the following six matchups are the ones to watch.
Monday, Oct. 7: Kings at Warriors at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. (NBA TV)
Ben McLemore is one of the most highly-touted rookies in this year's crop of first-year players. This game marks his NBA debut for the Sacramento Kings. McLemore has the physical talent and touch on his jump shot to be a major scoring threat.
In summer league play, he averaged 15.8 points per game. It will be fun seeing his NBA journey officially get under way.
Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors are one of the hottest teams in the league right now from a popularity standpoint.
Stephen Curry is the league's newest star, and Andre Iguodala was a major offseason acquisition. The elements are there for an interesting preseason game, as this group prepares to make a run in 2013-14.
Tuesday, Oct. 8: Bucks at Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Center in Cleveland, Ohio (Fox Sports Ohio)
Will the Cavs make the playoffs?
The Cleveland Cavaliers have legitimate aspirations on making the playoffs this season.
Budding superstar point guard Kyrie Irving will lead a talented young Cavs team in their most promising season since LeBron James made his decision.
This game against the Milwaukee Bucks is the preseason opener for Cleveland, and it's the first time fans will get a chance to see No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett. The rookie forward was cleared for all basketball activities per Matt Moore of CBS Sports, along with power forward/center Anderson Varejao.
Cleveland has struggled to a combined record of 64-166 since James left, but this season could be the beginning of the team's return to respectability.
Wednesday, Oct. 16: Pistons at Bulls at United Center in Chicago, Ill. (Comcast Sports Chicago)
Derrick Rose already returned to the court this preseason. He had 13 points and three assists in 20 minutes of action in the Chicago Bulls' 82-76 win over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday. That game was a bit of a milestone for Rose, but it won't be anything compared to his first trip back to the United Center.
The mid-week tilt against the Pistons will be the first time Rose has played a game in the building since he tore his ACL there in 2012.
The crowd reaction will be almost all cheers, but a few fans may sprinkle in a few boos. Some may still be stung by the former MVP sitting out the entire 2012-13 season, but they will be back on board soon enough.
Wednesday, Oct. 23: Nets at Celtics at TD Garden in Boston, Mass. (ESPN)
Don't expect to see any of the new Brooklyn Nets to play a ton of minutes, but seeing them on the Garden floor in visiting black jerseys will be photo-worthy.
Friday, Oct. 25: Nets at Heat at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Fla. (NBA TV)
This late October matchup won't have as much steam as it will when the teams meet in the regular and possibly postseason, but it is a preview of what could be one of the premier matchups in the NBA.
Pierce, Garnett and Terry were brought to Brooklyn for the near sole purpose of beating the Miami Heat.
Needless to say, the Nets are on the Heat's radar.
Look at this one as a small skirmish that may preclude an all-out battle in a few months.
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