In less than 24 hours weekday television will be returned to glory.
No, not because Glee is doing its Halloween episode. In fact, that's the boob tube's biggest curse.
It's because the NBA is back.
Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade lead the two championship favorites into a season more hyped than any in the past decade. Huge trades, big signings and two revamped conferences highlight what can only be described as must-see TV.
Oh, and a couple hours of Charles Barkley. Score.
Many NBA fans will be glued to their La-Z-Boys with an IV drip of Cheetos starting Tuesday night and rightfully so. With all the drama of the offseason, the first week will be the most exciting thing since sliced bread.
Nay, I'll go even further—bread in general.
The NBA kicks off its first week of action with some stellar matchups, but which games are most worthy of gracing televisions across the country?
Here's your personal TV guide.
Note: Not all games are on national television, but a real NBA fan will find a way to see them all.
It's called the Internet.
Honestly, if Memphis promised fans that Rudy Gay would Honey Dip, this matchup would be moved higher up the list.
Everyone would need to break out the TiVo.
Regardless, this game still has some exciting story lines. Gay, the most surprising of all the max signings this summer, will be out to prove his worth. If Memphis can get more improvement from O.J. Mayo and Marc Gasol, this team could be a sleeper in the constantly shifting Western Conference.
Also, any Memphis game guarantees the announcers yell "Z-BOUND" every time Zach Randolph cleans the glass—so that's worth a laugh.
On the other side, Atlanta's window of opportunity is slowly closing. The Eastern Conference boasts more strong teams this year, and many have the Hawks fading. Joe Johnson and Co. will need to play out of their minds if they want to make it a seventh straight year of improving their record.
If not, this game could just be everyone booing people who didn't earn their paychecks.
This game may not seem so interesting to the conventional fan, but there is one group who should have their eyes locked on it: Fantasy Basketball enthusiasts.
Most of these fellas know that Chris Paul has been in the top three of nearly every draft. While he fought injuries most of last season, he's primed to shine now. He and his teammates are back healthy, and the addition of Trevor Ariza should help the Hornets fight for a playoff spot.
Or another poor draft choice—it's up to them.
The Bucks are in an entirely different situation. After last year's surprising finish, Milwaukee is back to full strength for the start of this year. Expect better play from Brandon Jennings and John Salmons, who can now dump off to one of the NBA's most underrated centers, Andrew Bogut, who returns from injury.
Notice how Michael Redd isn't included in "full strength."
The world will finally get its first taste of John Wall.
Hopefully, that comes with a side of the John Wall dance.
The Wizards are clearly in the rebuilding stages, but Washington fans will have plenty of young talent to watch. Wall leads the way, but Andray Blatche, Javale McGee and Al Thornton are all strong prospects who could help return the Wiz to the playoffs sooner than most think.
Or, they can just ask Gilbert Arenas to distract the fans. Actually, they probably don't need to ask.
The Magic represent the other side of the coin. A perennial power in the East, Orlando will need to step back on the gas pedal to return to the Finals. Dwight Howard claims he's cleaned up his offensive game, and this will be his first chance to show the nation if he can truly lead this team.
He had better, because Lord knows Vince Carter can't.
Most people could sum up the reason to watch this game in one acronym: STAT. Standing Tall and Talented.
The Knicks will have already played twice by Saturday, but this is Stoudemire's regular season debut in Madison Square Garden. Coach Mike D'Antoni hopes that their big free-agent singing can make New York a home to some more stars by making his trade bait actually look valuable.
Smells like a Pau Gasol-esque trade is in the works.
The Trailblazers enter 2010-2011 as an enigma. Injuries plagued this team last year, preventing them from reaching their potential. While Greg Oden still hasn't returned, the rest of Portland's roster looks ready to go, and if Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge take a step forward this team can contend out West.
Just pray they don't lose all their centers again—that might land Eddy Curry in Portland.
Two teams, two very different recent histories.
This season, however, they have the same goal: to prove themselves.
The redheaded stepchild of Los Angeles enters the year with so much promise. Phenom Blake Griffin has no ceiling, and Eric Gordon's FIBA experience should help him become a top-shelf guard. They haven't sniffed the playoffs recently, but a healthy group of Clips will land them in the postseason.
If Baron Davis chooses to play, they will contend—but that's a big "if."
For a team as deep as the Mavericks, it's surprising they still have room to step up. Tons of depth and the leadership of Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd should place them among the West's elite. These early games can show if Dallas is ready to take the next step.
Mavs fans should pray they don't see the Spurs in the playoffs again.
The Northwest has never been this competitive, and this matchup features two of the division's top teams.
Sound good enough yet?
If not, make sure to watch Carmelo Anthony. It will be interesting to see if the trade talk has any effect on his game, and the early games will show if the team chemistry has been damaged. 'Melo, Billups and the Nugs certainly still have a chance to get back to the Western Conference Finals with the parts in Denver.
But no further.
Utah, contrastingly, has already mixed things up. Al Jefferson and Raja Bell headline a bunch of Jazz newcomers who can help propel the team to a 50-plus win season. Deron Williams is already one of the NBA's most exciting players, but with this team, he can be even more explosive.
Fireworks fans, get ready.
The Superheroes meet down in South Beach, reigniting a rivalry that has been lopsided one way or the other for quite some time.
Superman vs. The Flash. LeBron can be Lex Luthor.
Orlando still needs to find the rhythm it had during its Finals run from two years ago. True, Howard is the team's cornerstone and key to attacking the Heat, but without help from Rashard Lewis and Jameer Nelson, the Magic will have to get used to being second best.
The real Superman wants to end that kind of talk immediately, so this game should be riveting.
The other bench features the biggest trio since the Three Stooges. Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh are NBA public enemy number one and will see every team's best effort. These three should put on a show for the national audience, with alley-oops being a preferred method of scoring.
If one game this year might have a shattered backboard, it's this one.
The Bulls and Thunder could be the two best young teams in the NBA, and they square off in a heat check during Week 1.
For those of you who haven't seen Kevin Durant play, get the popcorn ready.
Oklahoma City comes into the season as the sexy pick out West. Durantula leads a team who looks like they could be in high school but plays like they are seasoned vets. Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green should continue to improve, and highlights and success will ensue.
The Ford Center should name its key "The Runway."
Don't sleep on Chicago, however. Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah lead a reloaded roster that may have to fend off some chemistry issues in the early part of the season. The game will show how the Bulls can fare without stud forward Carlos Boozer, who will miss some time with a fractured pinkie finger.
Hopefully, the bad luck ends there.
When the defending champions hit the floor, it's always worth a watch.
This year, however, the Lakers story lines are a bit more solemn.
Los Angeles will take center stage hampered by injuries. Kobe Bryant has knee and finger issues, Andrew Bynum will not play due to a bum knee and Lamar Odom has multiple ailments. If the Lakers want to establish dominance out West, Pau Gasol and Ron Artest will have to lead the charge.
A couple of years ago, "Ron Artest" and "lead" would never be in the same paragraph.
Fans down in Houston have reason to be excited. Yao Ming returns to action, albeit limited, and hopes to get the Rockets back to the playoffs. The dynamic backcourt of Aaron Brooks and Kevin Martin has speed most teams can't match but needs to keep improving to help them contend.
Also, Luis Scola is fun enough to watch on his own. The man defines hustle.
While many people have issues with both these teams, there is a reason that they open up the NBA season.
It's the Boston Three Party versus the Three MyEgos, a possible Eastern Conference Finals preview.
This will be the first show the newly assembled Heat put on for America. Miami is the odds-on favorite in Vegas for the title, and James, Wade and Bosh can put all of those chemistry issues to rest with a dominating performance on the road.
Or, they can already start setting James up for another "Decision" in 2016.
The Celtics have their honor on the line. Only a few months removed from their unlikely Finals run, people have cast them aside as favorites in the East. Adding Shaquille O'Neal, Delonte West and the artist formerly known as Jermaine O'Neal should help, but can the older Big Three get the job done?
Also, this game can show if Rajon Rondo is the top-tier point guard analysts claim he is. If he can't abuse Carlos Arroyo and Mario Chalmers, then he's got some 'splainin' to do.