NBA Schedule 2018-19: Opening Week, Christmas Day and MLK Games Released

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 8, 2018

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 8: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors looks on during Game Four of the 2018 NBA Finals on June 8, 2018 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

The NBA announced Wednesday the nationally televised matchups for three of the biggest occasions during the regular season: the opening week, Christmas Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Here's the full slate of games for the marquee events, courtesy of NBA.com:

     

Opening Week

Tuesday, Oct. 16

Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics, 8 p.m. ET (TNT)

Oklahoma City Thunder at Golden State Warriors, 10:30 p.m. ET (TNT)

     

Wednesday, Oct. 17

New Orleans Pelicans at Houston Rockets, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Dallas Mavericks at Phoenix Suns, 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

     

Thursday, Oct. 18

Chicago Bulls at Philadelphia 76ers, 8 p.m. ET (TNT)

Los Angeles Lakers at Portland Trail Blazers, 10:30 p.m. ET (TNT)

     

Friday, Oct. 19

Boston Celtics at Toronto Raptors, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Golden State Warriors at Utah Jazz, 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

     

Saturday, Oct. 20

Toronto Raptors at Washington Wizards, 7 p.m. ET (NBA TV)

Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)

     

Sunday, Oct. 21

Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Clippers, 9 p.m. ET (NBA TV)

     

Christmas Day

Milwaukee Bucks at New York Knicks, 12 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets, 3 p.m. ET (ABC)

Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics, 5:30 p.m. ET (ABC)

Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN/ABC)

Portland Trail Blazers at Utah Jazz, 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

     

Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 21)

New Orleans Pelicans at Memphis Grizzlies, 5:30 p.m. ET (TNT)

Houston Rockets at Philadelphia 76ers, 8 p.m. ET (TNT)

Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers, 10:30 p.m. ET (TNT)

     

No game will be more anticipated than the new-look Los Angeles Lakers' Christmas Day contest with the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors.

It's the 13th time LeBron James has played on Christmas and the fourth straight year in which his team will play the Warriors. James and the Cleveland Cavaliers went 1-2 against Golden State in the previous three.

Few expect the Lakers to seriously challenge the Warriors for the NBA title in 2019, but their meeting on Christmas will provide an indicator as to the size of the gulf between the two teams now that James is in Los Angeles.

Plenty of fans will also be looking forward to another entry in the growing rivalry between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers on opening night. With James out of the East, the Celtics and Sixers are positioned to be the two best teams in the conference.

Boston knocked Philadelphia out of the playoffs last year, a result that came without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. Both players should be ready on opening night, which means either the Celtics or Sixers can lay down a nice marker to tip off the regular season.

Along the same lines, the Toronto Raptors will have an early test against the Celtics on Oct. 19.

Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri took a big gamble by sending fan favorite DeMar DeRozan to the San Antonio Spurs as part of the Kawhi Leonard trade.

Ujiri needed to shake things up after the Cavs swept the Raptors out of the playoffs. Assuming he'll be back to his best, Leonard is the kind of star who can help get Toronto over the top in the East.

Leonard will still be adjusting to his new surroundings at the start of the season, so the Raptors likely won't be at their best when they meet Boston. But they can make a nice statement with a win at home against a conference rival.

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