The NBA has released its schedule for the 2017-18 season and there are some great games that have already jumped out at us.
Here’s a look at what we consider the top 10 must-watch games of the upcoming season.
October 19: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers
The regular season debut of Lonzo Ball will certainly be worth a watch. The next era of Lakers basketball gets a prime time game on TNT, but this contest will have a ton of other subplots.
How will the Clippers fare without Chris Paul? Can Blake Griffin dominate without a top-flight point guard getting him the ball? What will the Lakers look like in their first game in the first full year of Magic Johnson’s regime? Will a guy like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope be able to thrive in LA?
It should be a fun one.
October 17: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics
The presumed top two teams in the Eastern Conference face-off to open the season. Boston will be looking to stake its claim as the favorite, while LeBron James and company will be looking to reestablish their dominance.
November 15: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Philadelphia 76ers
This is the matchup we’ll be talking about for the next decade: Lonzo Ball vs. Markelle Fultz. Who was better? Who should have gone No. 1? Who is the better all-around player?
We missed out on having the top two picks from the 2017 NBA Draft face-off during Summer League, so this will be our first chance to see them on the court together as professionals.
November 22: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Golden State Warriors
Russell Westbrook has help now with Paul George in the fold. This is the first real test of how the new-look Thunder will match up against the defending champs and it will happen in Oklahoma City. Will Russ still be side-eying Kevin Durant?
December 13: Indiana Pacers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Indiana will welcome George back to the state when his former team hosts the Thunder. The young, rebuilding Pacers will battle a Thunder team looking to push to the top of the Western Conference.
December 25: Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
A Christmas Day spent with LeBron going at Stephen Curry and his teammates in Oakland. The teams have faced off in three-straight NBA Finals, and it’s still fun watching them play.
It will be the first of two matchups between the teams this season. The second will come on January 15 in Cleveland.
December 25: Boston Celtics vs. Washington Wizards
There won’t be much Christmas cheer in the air when these two teams meet. The Celtics and Wizards had wildly contentious series in the 2017 Eastern Conference semifinals. The Celtics won in seven games but it’s clear nothing was resolved. John Wall and company will be looking for revenge.
December 25: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets
Man, the Christmas Day games are going to be awesome this year. This one pits Westbrook against James Harden — the two NBA MVP favorites from last season — against each other. The two former teammates will undoubtedly attempt to outdo one another, but now both guys have help in the form of Paul George and Chris Paul.
January 15: Los Angeles Clippers vs. Houston Rockets
Chris Paul’s return to Los Angeles to face the Clippers should draw a lot of attention. After his unexpected departure for Houston and the revelations of his contentious relationship with Doc Rivers, this one will definitely bear watching.
March 28: Utah Jazz vs. Boston Celtics
Gordon Hayward will be returning to Utah for the first time after he bolted for Boston this offseason. Jazz fans were not happy with his decision to leave, nor the way it went down. How will he be welcomed back?