Rematches, reunions and rookie debuts: The NBA video games we will not wait to see in 2021-22


The NBA schedule is right here. And in contrast to final season’s unveiling that broke video games into first and second halves, we all know all 1,230 video games up entrance.

The 2021-22 season suggestions off on Oct. 19 with the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks internet hosting the Brooklyn Nets on ring evening. The final time these two Japanese Convention titans confronted off, Kevin Durant was inches away from sending the Nets to the Finals, resulting in an epic Sport 7 additional time thriller that went to Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks.

Following Nets-Bucks, the Los Angeles Lakers will unveil their new Massive Three of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook — Massive 4 in case you embody new Laker Carmelo Anthony — in a Staples Heart showdown in opposition to the Golden State Warriors.

The opening week — and entirety of the 2021-22 season — is loaded with renewed rivalries, reunions and playoff rematches. Listed here are the video games we will not wait to see.

Observe: This checklist of video games to look at doesn’t embody the NBA’s five Christmas Day games, which have been revealed on Tuesday.

MORE: What we can’t wait to see on Christmas Day

First-week fireworks: The must-see openers

Brooklyn Nets at Milwaukee Bucks
Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m. ET | TNT

This recreation is the proper option to tip off the season, a digital Sport 8 to their traditional playoff matchup by which the winner went on to say the championship. The celebrities on the 2 groups have made a behavior of taking subliminal pictures at each other, with James Harden stating simply this week that if the Nets are wholesome, they can not be crushed. And we get an early have a look at Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. Kevin Durant with “best player in the NBA” arguments swirling. — André Snellings

Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers
Oct. 19, 10 p.m. ET | TNT

This recreation options groups and gamers who gained 5 of the six NBA championships between 2015 and 2020, and each groups have championship aspirations this season after having final season derailed by main accidents. If Klay Thompson returns wholesome, the Warriors will function three pillars of their dynasty for the primary time for the reason that 2019 Finals. And the Lakers can be rolling out a brand new look with a group stuffed with future Corridor of Famers studying to play collectively, sparked by Russell Westbrook in his debut together with his hometown group. — Snellings

Dallas Mavericks at Atlanta Hawks
Oct. 21, 7:30 p.m. ET | TNT

Luka Doncic and Trae Young have been traded for one another in the course of the 2018 NBA draft, and can due to this fact all the time be linked within the public eye. Doncic went on to win Rookie of the 12 months and develop into an MVP candidate early, however Younger has put the Hawks on his shoulders and simply led them on an inconceivable run to the Japanese Convention finals. This matchup offers us one other chapter in a budding next-gen rivalry. — Snellings

Milwaukee Bucks at Miami Heat
Oct. 21, 8 p.m. ET

The Warmth have been within the NBA Finals lower than a 12 months in the past, and arguably their largest deficit might need been a star, playmaking level guard who might run the squad and make massive pictures at high-leverage moments. Enter NBA champion Kyle Lowry, who analytics point out is without doubt one of the finest level guards of his technology and has a method and character that matches completely inside Warmth tradition. Will probably be very attention-grabbing to see this new Warmth squad, and whether or not it has the chops to make one other run on the championship. — Snellings

Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers
Oct. 22, 7:30 p.m. ET | ESPN

These have been the Nos. 1 and a couple of seeds within the Japanese Convention final season, and each have energetic championship aspirations. In addition they characterize a significant stylistic conflict, with the perimeter-based Massive Three of the Nets dealing with the person, inside dominance of arguably the perfect heart within the NBA in Joel Embiid. Plus, the burning query of whether or not Ben Simmons will nonetheless be on the 76ers when the season begins can be answered. Snellings

New Orleans Pelicans at Chicago Bulls
Oct. 22, 8 p.m. ET

The Bulls made a number of the largest splashes this summer season, bringing in Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan, proper after they made one of many largest strikes on the commerce deadline by bringing in heart Nikola Vucevic. ESPN’s offseason survey showed disagreement in the success of the Bulls’ moves, however the product on the courtroom ought to be fascinating to look at evolve. Add in the potential for Ball throwing half-court alley-oops to Zach LaVine in opposition to his former group, and this ought to be a debut to look at. — Snellings

Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers
Oct. 22, 10. p.m. ET | ESPN

The Suns used their first-round win over the Lakers to propel themselves to the NBA Finals. It is a good wager LeBron James and Anthony Davis have not forgotten. The defending Western Convention champs, although, are flying beneath the radar once more after the Lakers’ massive offseason. Russell Westbrook going up in opposition to Chris Paul is all the time entertaining, and Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton can be keen to indicate their first-round win over the hobbled Lakers was no fluke. — Ohm Youngmisuk

Rivalries renewed: Extra can’t-miss playoff rematches

Denver Nuggets at Phoenix Suns
Oct. 20, 10 p.m. ET | ESPN

“Suns in 4” was the motto as Phoenix swept the short-handed Nuggets out of final season’s playoffs. It ought to be a bit extra even struggle this time round. Though Denver level guard Jamal Murray will probably miss this matchup throughout his ACL rehab, the Nuggets have been additionally coping with an damage to taking pictures guard Will Barton final spring and added first-round choose Bones Hyland to their backcourt combine to attempt to counter Devin Booker and Chris Paul. — Kevin Pelton

Atlanta Hawks at Philadelphia 76ers
Oct. 30, 7:30 p.m. ET | NBA TV

The large query for this playoff rematch is whether or not Ben Simmons can be a part of it. Simmons struggled within the largest moments of Philadelphia’s seven-game upset loss to Atlanta, making only one subject objective and scoring 4 factors in 14 clutch minutes, per NBA Advanced Stats. That efficiency, and the response to it, put Simmons’ 76ers future in jeopardy. It stays unresolved halfway by way of the offseason. — Pelton

Dallas Mavericks at LA Clippers
Nov. 21, 3:30 p.m. ET

Luka Doncic gave the Clippers all types of suits and compelled Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to seven video games within the first spherical earlier than succumbing. Doncic appeared like a celebrity within the playoffs and could possibly be primed for an MVP-type season beneath new head coach Jason Kidd. The Mavericks will need to present the Clippers that they’re prepared to maneuver previous them this season within the standings and the playoffs, however Paul George and Reggie Jackson will definitely have one thing to say about that. — Youngmisuk

Phoenix Suns at LA Clippers
Dec. 13, 10:30 p.m. ET | NBA TV

The final time we noticed Suns-Clippers, Patrick Beverley shoved Chris Paul in utter frustration earlier than Paul celebrated his first journey to the NBA Finals. Whereas Beverley is gone, Paul George and the Clippers have some unfinished enterprise with the Suns after operating brief on gasoline and well being on the finish of their playoff run. George stated if Kawhi Leonard had stayed wholesome, the Clippers would have been those transferring on to the NBA Finals as a substitute of the Suns. This rematch will assist present the Clippers the place they stand with out Leonard. — Youngmisuk

LA Clippers at Utah Jazz
Dec. 15, 10 p.m. ET | ESPN

When final we noticed the Jazz, the NBA’s prime group in the course of the common season surrendered an unthinkable 81 factors within the second half of a season-ending loss to a Clippers group with out Kawhi Leonard — extra factors than the Clippers would handle in your entire Sport 4 of the convention finals. The rematch is perhaps a unique story if Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue is unwilling to rely as closely on the small-ball models that brought about issues for Utah defensively. — Pelton

Phoenix Suns at Milwaukee Bucks
Feb. 10, 10 p.m. ET | TNT

If it looks as if simply final month we have been watching Milwaukee and Phoenix sq. off within the NBA Finals, it is as a result of we have been. The 2 finalists will get comparatively brief offseason breaks earlier than returning to motion. We’ll see how the Suns reply to dropping their final 4 video games after taking a 2-0 sequence lead in opposition to the Bucks and whether or not the matchup benefits Giannis Antetokounmpo was in a position to exploit maintain up with a barely totally different supporting forged. — Pelton

Hollywood drama: Extra L.A. video games it’s worthwhile to see

Los Angeles Lakers at Portland Trail Blazers
Nov. 6, 10:30 p.m. ET | NBA TV

Carmelo Anthony was on the way in which out of the NBA earlier than the Blazers gave him an opportunity in the course of the 2019-20 season. As soon as Anthony made it to Portland, he revitalized his profession together with his finest and third-best 3-point taking pictures seasons of his profession. Final season, embracing a bench function for the primary time, Anthony made a career-high 40.9% from deep. Now with the Lakers, Anthony as soon as once more could have a brand new function, however one which would not have been there with out Portland’s assist. — Andrew Lopez

Los Angeles Lakers at Milwaukee Bucks
Nov. 17, 7:30 p.m. ET | ESPN

The NBA’s final two champions sq. off in what can be a juicy matchup. For the primary time in his stellar profession, Giannis Antetokounmpo faces LeBron James as reigning champion and Finals MVP. The Bucks’ star trio of Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday will put their championship protection up in opposition to the Lakers’ revamped offense that includes James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony. This too is a possible Finals preview, and who is aware of: Maybe Antetokounmpo and James will settle who had the extra spectacular Finals chase-down block. — Youngmisuk

LA Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers
Dec. 3, 10 p.m. ET | ESPN

Kawhi Leonard is predicted to overlook vital time after his ACL damage and prime Laker agitator Patrick Beverley is gone, which takes lots of the sizzle out of the Lakers-Clippers rivalry. However Paul George will do his finest to attempt to preserve the Clippers within the playoff hunt whereas Leonard is out, and head coach Tyronn Lue’s group can be keen to indicate the revamped Lakers why they completed simply two wins shy of the NBA Finals even with out Leonard. — Youngmisuk

Los Angeles Lakers at Brooklyn Nets
Jan. 25, 7:30 p.m. ET | TNT

This potential Finals preview is the ultimate gift on Christmas Day, however the juggernauts’ different assembly this season could possibly be simply as vital. And there is loads of historical past between the 2 sides. Whether or not it is Russell Westbrook dealing with former teammates Kevin Durant and James Harden or LeBron James taking up Irving, there are such a lot of layers to unwrap. Westbrook loved a few of his finest video games final season in opposition to the Nets, together with a 41-point, 10-rebound efficiency that featured a late 3-pointer to stun Brooklyn. — Youngmisuk

Welcome again! Extra reunions to look at

Miami Warmth at Indiana Pacers
Oct. 23, 7 p.m. ET | NBA TV

Victor Oladipo‘s time in Indiana got here to an unceremonious finish, and the veteran has but to play a recreation in opposition to his former group since being traded (twice) final season. Oladipo’s accidents have restricted him to simply 88 video games prior to now three seasons, however he’ll attempt to get his profession again on observe with Miami on a minimal deal. — Lopez

Minnesota Timberwolves at LA Clippers
Nov. 13, 10:30 p.m. ET

If Patrick Beverley stays in Minnesota after he was dealt by the Clippers to Memphis after which despatched to the Timberwolves, this Wolves go to to Staples Heart ought to be an emotional one. Beverley turned one of many Clippers’ all-time fan favorites together with his depth, protection and vocal management. Beverley was the group’s spirit for thus a few years, and his return to Staples can be a sight to see, particularly if Beverley will get beneath the Clippers’ pores and skin like he did to their opponents for thus a few years. — Youngmisuk

New York Knicks at Boston Celtics
Dec. 18, 8:30 p.m. ET | NBA TV

When Boston acquired Kemba Walker in the summertime of 2019 in a sign-and-trade with the Charlotte Hornets, the Celtics gave him a four-year, $140.8 million deal. He was imagined to be the purpose guard to steer the Celtics again to the NBA Finals. As an alternative, accidents hampered him over two seasons and he was finally traded to Oklahoma Metropolis. The Thunder purchased out Walker’s contract and allowed him to return to his native New York to signal with the Knicks on a way more team-friendly deal. — Lopez

Brooklyn Nets at San Antonio Spurs
Jan. 21, 8:30 p.m. ET

One other Spurs homecoming to look at can be when Patty Mills returns to the AT&T Heart with the Nets. The Aussie level guard spent the earlier 10 seasons in San Antonio — the ultimate holdover from the Spurs’ final title in 2014. Count on a hearty ovation for Mills as he returns to city. — Lopez

Chicago Bulls at San Antonio Spurs
Jan. 28, 8:30 p.m. ET

The Bulls added DeMar DeRozan from the Spurs as they appear to recover from the hump within the Japanese Convention. DeRozan did not discover the group success he would have favored in San Antonio, failing to win a playoff sequence in his first season earlier than lacking out on the postseason totally the previous two years. He did flourish as a playmaker in San Antonio, averaging 6.2 assists per recreation, which was double his common from his Toronto days. — Lopez

Brooklyn Nets at Golden State Warriors
Jan. 29, 8:30 p.m. ET

Kevin Durant performed in opposition to the Warriors in San Francisco final season, however he did so at a time when no followers have been allowed contained in the Chase Heart. This time round, it’s going to be slightly totally different. It’s going to be the second assembly between the groups within the 2021-22 season, nevertheless it’ll be the primary in San Francisco after Durant and Draymond Green put the blame on Steve Kerr and Bob Myers mishandling the situation that led to Durant’s exit. — Lopez

Miami Warmth at Toronto Raptors
Feb. 3, 7:30 p.m. ET | TNT

One of many extra anticipated reunions within the league will occur when the Miami Warmth journey to Toronto to tackle the Raptors, representing Kyle Lowry’s return to Canada. After 9 seasons in Toronto, Lowry moved on to Miami this offseason. Final season, the Raptors did not play residence video games on the Scotiabank Enviornment, so Lowry’s return to Toronto will come 706 days after his final recreation there (Feb. 28, 2019). — Lopez

Los Angeles Lakers at Washington Wizards
March 19, 8 p.m. ET

Russell Westbrook performed just one season in Washington and whereas it was memorable with him surpassing Oscar Robertson’s triple-double file, this reunion can be extra significant for a number of new Wizards. Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will certainly be wanting to face their outdated group for the primary time to attempt to remind the Lakers what they gave up for Westbrook. Kuzma, specifically, ought to have loads of motivation to indicate why the Lakers as soon as insisted on not buying and selling him out of all of their younger prospects a number of seasons in the past. — Youngmisuk

Chicago Bulls vs. New Orleans Pelicans
March 24, 8 p.m. ET

In Lonzo Ball’s introductory information convention with Chicago, he stated, “I wished to go someplace I am appreciated and might play my recreation. Chicago is the proper place for that.” In New Orleans, Ball ceded a number of the management of the sport within the half courtroom to Zion Williamson and was decreased to extra of a 3-and-D participant. Will he get full reign again in Chicago alongside DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine? That is still to be seen, however his first recreation in opposition to his former group ought to be enjoyable to look at. — Lopez

Welcome to the NBA: Massive rookie debuts and showdowns

Chicago Bulls at Detroit Pistons
Oct. 20, 7 p.m. ET

The No. 1 general choose’s NBA debut means lots of firsts for doubtlessly one of many future all-time greats of the sport — first basket, first help, first dunk. Principally, it is an NBA High Shot fiesta of alternatives. Cade Cunningham‘s recreation is constructed to be NBA prepared, together with his spectacular dimension, sturdy body and polished recreation, that means there’s an opportunity he units a excessive bar in his first look for Detroit.

— Royce Younger

Houston Rockets at Minnesota Timberwolves
Oct. 20, 8 p.m. ET

No. 2 general choose Jalen Green might be essentially the most electrifying participant within the draft, with a personable swagger and excessive bodily skill to go along with it. His summer season league screamed of him being the sort of participant your eyes cannot look away from, and with an unwavering confidence in his personal ability, you possibly can wager he’ll need to ship a message in his first recreation out for the Rockets.

— Younger

Detroit Pistons at Houston Rockets
Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m. ET | ESPN

This recreation offers us the deal with of No. 1 draft choose in opposition to No. 2, with the added bonus of Detroit’s Cade Cunningham and Houston’s Jalen Inexperienced enjoying within the backcourt, that means there can be some head-to-head moments. Whereas Cunningham was seen because the probably prime choose from the very starting of the draft course of, Inexperienced made a late push for consideration. And now with an opportunity for Inexperienced to go in opposition to Cunningham, there is a fairly scrumptious narrative constructed into this recreation.

— Younger

Toronto Raptors at Golden State Warriors
Nov. 21, 8:30 p.m. ET

Earlier than the draft course of started, Jonathan Kuminga was seen as a top-four lock, one of many upper-tier gamers who made this class seemingly so particular. However as his inventory dropped barely, Scottie Barnes‘ rose rather than it. The Warriors’ Kuminga is a nightly spotlight ready to occur, whereas the Rockets’ Barnes is the regular five-tool participant. This recreation is a battle of contrasting kinds, and one by which there’ll absolutely be some takes following it.

— Younger

Orlando Magic at Houston Rockets
Dec. 3, 8 p.m. ET

The Battle of the Jalens is way more than Jalen Suggs vs. Jalen Inexperienced — it is a matchup of two of essentially the most aggressive gamers within the draft. After his raucous Closing 4 efficiency, Suggs vaulted up draft boards as a dark-horse top-pick candidate, however he slipped all the way down to the the Magic at No. 5 (slipped being a reasonably free description right here). Suggs’ motor and depth are hallmarks of his recreation, and there can be some extent to show in opposition to the Rockets’ Inexperienced, who went second general.

— Younger

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