NBA Schedule 2021-22: Opening-Week and Christmas Day Games Released

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2021

Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant (7) defends against Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during overtime of Game 7 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series Saturday, June 19, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

The NBA announced its schedule for the 2021-22 season on Tuesday with a rematch of the Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Milwaukee Bucks hosting the Brooklyn Nets among the matchups set for opening night Oct. 19.

That night will also feature a showdown between the new-look Los Angeles Lakers taking on Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors.

As always, the games on Christmas Day are arguably the most hotly anticipated of the entire regular season, and once again there will be plenty of star power on display in the five matchups the league has scheduled.

Let's check out some of the matchups during the opening week of the campaign along with the slate for Christmas Day. That's followed by a look at some notable storylines heading into the season.


Best Games of Opening Week

Tuesday, Oct. 19

Brooklyn Nets at Milwaukee Bucks (7:30 p.m. ET on TNT)

Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers (10 p.m. ET on TNT)


Wednesday, Oct. 20

Boston Celtics at New York Knicks (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN)

Denver Nuggets at Phoenix Suns (10 p.m. ET on ESPN)


Thursday, Oct. 21

Dallas Mavericks at Atlanta Hawks (7:30 p.m. ET on TNT)

Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors (10 p.m. ET on TNT)


Friday, Oct. 22

Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN)

Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers (10 p.m. ET on ESPN)


Christmas Schedule

Atlanta Hawks at New York Knicks (12 p.m. ET on ESPN)

Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks (2:30 p.m. ET On ABC)

Golden State Warriors at Phoenix Suns (5 p.m. ET on ABC)

Brooklyn Nets at Los Angels Lakers (8 p.m. ET on ABC and ESPN)

Dallas Mavericks at Utah Jazz (10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN)


2021-22 NBA Storylines

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks head into the season as the defending champions after beating the Phoenix Suns in the 2021 NBA Finals, but most of the offseason focus has been on other teams' efforts to bolster their rosters with hopes of taking down the champs.

The Lakers, who won the 2020 title, completely remade their rotation around the superstar tandem of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, with Russell Westbrook arriving as the third star along with a new cast of role players, led by Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and Kendrick Nunn.

Golden State reunited Andre Iguodala with its longtime core trio of Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, who's expected to return after missing the last two seasons because of injury. The Warriors also added a pair of draft picks in the lottery: Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody.

The Suns' biggest move was retaining Chris Paul, who opted on running it back with Phoenix after a brief foray into the free-agent market. The team remains a threat with Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton leading the way.

Then there are the Nets, who didn't require any major moves with the Big Three of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving already in place.

The Jazz, Nuggets, Clippers, Mavericks, Sixers and Heat also have the talent to make some serious noise, while two of last year's breakout teams, the Hawks and Knicks, will look to take another step toward contention in 2021-22.

What does that mean for the schedule? A lot of high-profile, must-see matchups all season long.

The phrase "potential Finals preview" is going to get a workout, and it'll be a true statement in many cases because there's a large group of teams with a realistic shot at a deep postseason run.

That's music to the ears of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who spoke in July about the rise of parity on display during last season's playoffs.

"I see this as, hopefully, the end of a transition for the league," he told reporters. "Not just post-COVID, but just by virtue of the teams that we saw in the conference finals, a real transition in terms of the league of the up-and-coming new stars, up-and-coming franchises, more parity throughout the league."

That balance, at least among the top half of the league's teams, should make for a highly entertaining 2021-22 season from the start in October until a champion is crowned in June.