NBA schedule 2017-18: The games you can't miss this season

The NBA's offseason drama — which isn't over yet, because we don't know where Kyrie Irving and Carmelo Anthony will be playing in a couple months — will be backdrop for the earliest part of the 2017-18 regular-season schedule. Big conference matchups, featuring stars in new places, dominate the first two nights.

The league released its full 2017-18 schedule Monday night, about a week after releasing its opening-week and Christmas slates. It's beginning the season about a week earlier than usual to cut down on the number of back-to-back games, which in turn might entice teams to not rest stars for big nationally televised games on the road.

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So start marking those calendars for the best rematches, reunions, beefs and boasts (all times Eastern).

Opening night (Oct. 17)

Celtics at Cavaliers, 8 p.m. (TNT): Last season's Eastern Conference finalists get an immediate look at each other in Cleveland. Gordon Hayward will be making his Celtics debut, and, well, we figure LeBron will be in the building. Kyrie? TBD.  

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Rockets at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (TNT): The two teams expected to vie for the West title will square off in Oakland. Houston will have Chris Paul running point against Stephen Curry, and it may have Melo on the floor, too, if GM Daryl Morey can enlist two or three other teams to help facilitate a trade with the Knicks.

ESPN's doubleheader the next night features the trendy 76ers, with the last two No. 1 draft picks (Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons), at the Wizards; and a Jimmy Butler vs. Kawhi Leonard showdown in San Antonio as the Timberwolves meet the Spurs in Butler's Minnesota debut. 

Oct. 26

Pelicans at Kings (10:30 p.m., TNT): Boogie returns to Sacto. DeMarcus Cousins' reunion with his old crew ought to be . . . entertaining.

Nov. 2

Warriors at Spurs (8 p.m., TNT): The first meeting of last year's West finalists will take place in San Antonio. Golden State walked through the short-handed Spurs en route to winning the title.

Nov. 22

Lakers at Kings (10:30 p.m.): The first scheduled NBA regular-season meeting between LA rookie guard Lonzo Ball and Sacramento rookie guard De'Aaron Fox. Ball and UCLA were smoked by Fox and Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament. Ball was unable to face Fox in summer league because of an injury many people questioned.

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Dec. 13

Thunder at Pacers (7 p.m., ESPN): George rolls into Indy for the first time after the trade to OKC. What will the reception be, Pacers fans?

Christmas Day (Dec. 25)

76ers at Knicks (noon, ESPN)
Cavaliers at Warriors (3 p.m., ABC)
Wizards at Celtics (5:30 p.m., ABC)
Rockets at Thunder (8 p.m., ABC)
Timberwolves at Lakers (10:30 p.m., TNT)

An NBA Finals rematch is the biggest gift, naturally. This time the game will be in Oakland. Let's hope the contest is as bonkers as last year's was. After that come two intense rivalry games (no holiday cheer here), including a Wiz-Celts throwdown and James Harden-Chris Paul vs. Russell Westbrook-Paul George in OKC (health permitting). The presence of the Sixers and Timberwolves is a sign the network is betting on these young squads to improve this year.

Jan. 11

76ers vs. Celtics in London (3 p.m., NBA TV): Philly and Boston, two of the centers of the American Revolution, will be represented across the pond. The starting centers for this game figure to be Joel Embiid (Cameroon) and Al Horford (Dominican Republic). A global game, indeed.

Jan. 15

Another important day for the NBA: Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The prime-time games include the Warriors-Cavs return matchup in Cleveland (8 p.m., TNT), and Chris Paul's first road matchup vs. the Clippers as a member of the Rockets (10:30 p.m., TNT).

Feb. 9

Timberwolves at Bulls (8 p.m., ESPN): Butler returns to Chicago. Oh, and Tom Thibodeau will be around to remind fans what once was, too. 

March 28

Celtics at Jazz (9:30 p.m., ESPN): Hayward left Salt Lake City for Boston in the offseason. The lateness of his return (two weeks before the end of the regular season on April 11) might take some of the emotion out of it.

Source : http://www.sportingnews.com/nba/news/nba-schedule-2017-18-warriors-cavaliers-christmas-day-opening-night-back-to-back/197srxrhzdu1d1hesrck0dyrz7

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