The NBA released its full 2019-20 regular-season schedule on Monday with a number of highlights including the return of many stars who changed teams in the off-season and one of the most anticipated Christmas Day games in recent memory.
Here’s eight games to mark on your calendars for the coming season:
Dec. 25: Clippers vs. Lakers
Christmas Day won’t be the first meeting between these two teams this coming season (they’ll square off on opening night on Oct. 22), but it’ll likely be the most significant, at least unless they see each other in the playoffs.
Both the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers are, seemingly for the first time ever, both considered primetime teams with equal star power on both sides in LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the Lakers and Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the Clippers.
It’s a “Battle for L.A.” we’ve never seen before on the NBA’s most important regular-season day in the marquee timeslot of 8 p.m. ET.
This will be a game where a statement is made by either club.
— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) August 12, 2019
Nov. 14: Mavericks vs. Knicks
Though it’s only been about six months, given the rapid nature of movement in the NBA, Kristaps Porzingis’s trade demand and subsequent move to the Dallas Mavericks feels like a lifetime ago, especially because he hasn’t played since Feb. 6, 2018 recovering from an ACL injury.
Regardless of his checkered-looking health, the Mavericks still signed the 24-year-old seven-footer to a five-year, $158-million max contract. It was a surefire sign of confidence his health woes will be put behind him and, along with 2019 rookie of the year Luka Doncic, will restore Dallas’ former glory.
On the flip side of this equation, the Knicks will likely be hoping for the exact opposite to happen. New York traded Porzingis for, essentially Dennis Smith Jr., a bunch of spare parts and additional cap space to try to lure a marquee free agent in the off-season of which they failed.
Porzingis’s return to Madison Square Garden will be very interesting because he was probably the one thing the Knicks could bank on as hope for their future before allegedly requesting a trade.
Porzingis will get a crack his first crack at revenge on Nov. 14 and get a chance to leave Knicks fans bawling like that kid who did the same when New York first drafted him in 2015.
Nov. 15: Jazz vs. Grizzlies
As the old expression goes, “If you love someone, let them go.”
That’s exactly what the Memphis Grizzlies did when they traded franchise icon Marc Gasol to the Toronto Raptors at the trade deadline to give him a shot at winning a championship (of which he made good on) and did so