Which teams can NBA fans expect to see on the league's marquee regular-season dates.

By Michael Shapiro
August 08, 2018

An active offseason headlined by LeBron James' move to the Lakers has set the stage for 2018-19 NBA season, beginning with a pair of opening-night contests on Oct. 16.

The full NBA schedule will be released on Friday, but we are starting to get a picture of the league's schedule for some of the season's marquee dates, including Christmas and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Here's what we know thus far. 

Opening Week:

Oct. 16: 

76ers vs. Celtics, 8 p.m. ET – The East's top rivalry will kick-off the season in Boston, with Philadelphia looking to avenge last year's five-game defeat in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Both Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward should be back for Boston. 

Thunder vs. Warriors, 10:30 p.m. ET – Golden State will hang its third championship banner in the last four seasons before tip-off, then face a Thunder squad no longer featuring Carmelo Anthony. Expect at least a touch of KD-Westbrook drama in this one.

Oct. 17: 

Pelicans vs. Rockets, 8 p.m. ET – MVP candidate Anthony Davis will take on reigning MVP James Harden in Houston for a marquee matchup of two of the league's greatest stars. Melo will make his Houston debut in this one. 

Mavericks vs. Suns, 10:30 p.m. ET – A battle of two highly-touted rookies will take place in the desert with No. 1 pick DeAndre Ayton facing Luka Doncic and the Mavericks. 

Oct. 18: 

Bulls vs. 76ers, 8 p.m. ET – The new-look Bulls head to the City of Brotherly Love in their season opener, aiming to vault to the playoffs after a season absence. Expect a heavy dose of Philadelphia on national TV this season. 

Lakers vs. Blazers, 10:30 p.m. ET – LeBron's tenure with Los Angeles won't begin at the Staples Center, but rather in the Pacific Northwest. The Lakers' matchup with Portland should be a good barometer, as Portland enters 2018-19 after nabbing the No. 3 seed in the West last season.

Oct. 19: 

Celtics vs. Raptors, 8 p.m. ET – Two of the top contenders in the East will take center stage, with Boston heading north against the revamped Raptors. This will mark Kawhi Leonard's presumed debut with Toronto

Warriors vs. Jazz, 10:30 p.m. ET – Steph Curry and Co. will head to mountain time against a Jazz squad that exceeded expectations in 2017-18. Quite the test for Donovan Mitchell as he begins his second season. 

Oct. 20: 

Raptors vs. Wizards, 8 p.m. ET – Kawhi and the Raptors take to the nation's capital, where the Wizards bring in a fresh face as well. We'll see how the Dwight Howard-John Wall pair meshes for the first time. 

Rockets vs. Lakers, 10:30 p.m. ET – LeBron hosts the team he could have signed with in the offseason, aiming to make a statement against the West's top seed last season. There will be a mini-banana boat reuinion with James, Chris Paul and Anthony sharing the floor.

Oct. 21: 

Rockets vs. Clippers, 9 p.m. ET – Houston returns to the scene of Harden's dusting of Wesley Johnson and the Rockets-Clippers tunnel scuffle from last season. There should be additional fireworks in L.A. for the Rockets' second-straight contest at the Staples Center.

LeBron Returns, Nov. 21: 

Lakers vs. Cavs, Time TBA – The game itself will be secondary to the festivites surrounding LeBron's return home. Expect a far-different response than the chorus of boos James received upon going to Cleveland as a member of Miami Heat. After making good on his promise and delivering a title to Cleveland, James will most likely receive a standing ovation from the Quicken Loans crowd.

Christmas Day, Dec. 25: 

Bucks vs. Knicks, 12 p.m. ET – Madison Square Garden will host Giannis Antetokounmpo and Co. to kick off the Christmas Day slate. Kristaps Porzingis should be back on the court by then, which pits two unicorns against one another in the Big Apple. 

Thunder vs. Rockets, 3 p.m. ET – The West's top seed last year will look to continue its recent success over Oklahoma City. The pair split their 2017-18 regular-season series, but Houston won the most-recent playoff matchup in 2016-17.

76ers vs. Celtics, 5:30 p.m. ET – Another dose of Boston and Philly comes to viewers on Christmas in what could be a battle for the East's top seed. After sitting out much of last season, maybe Markelle Fultz can provide Philly with a boost in this contest?

Lakers vs. Warriors, 8 p.m. ET – This will serve as a Finals rematch of sorts. LeBron will head back to the now-familiar Oracle Arena in what looks to be the preeminent game on the 2018-19 calendar. We'll see if James can dethrone the champs with his new squad, albiet in a regular-season matchup. 

Blazers vs. Jazz, 10:30 p.m. ET – Mitchell looks to improve upon his impressive rookie campaign with plenty of momemtum after advancing to the West semis in 2017-18. He'll take on one of the league's best backcourts, squaring off against Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.

Kawhi Returns, January 3:

Raptors at Spurs, Time TBA – Leonard will make his first appearance in San Antonio against his former squad. Following a breakup that dragged into the offseason, Leonard will step onto the court inside the AT&T Center for the first time since Jan. 13, when he scored 19 points for the Spurs against the Nuggets.

MLK Day, Jan. 21:

Pelicans at Grizzlies, 5:30 p.m. ET – Now a tradition, the NBA will once again host a game in Memphis on MLK Day. The Grizzlies look to bounce back after an injury-riddled 2017-18, adding rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. to the fold. 

Rockets at 76ers, 8:00 p.m. ET – Philadelphia's pair of young stars will host the dynamic pair of Harden and Paul, aiming to assert themselves as true contenders for the NBA title. We'll see if the Rockers bring the same firepower to the regular season as they did in 2017-18.

Warriors vs. Lakers – 10:30 p.m. ET – A Christmas rematch heads down the California coast as the Warriors face LeBron and Co. in the Staples Center. 

DeRozan Returns, Feb. 3:

Spurs at Raptors, Time TBA – DeRozan will make his first appearance in Toronto since being shipped off to San Antonio this offseason. The four-time All-Star is the Raptors franchise record-holder in points (12,800), career games played (675), and minutes (22,184).

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