Despite football season right around the corner, we are under three months away from the NBA season.  Although the entire schedule has not yet been released, the NBA has leaked a few of their prime time games which include "Opening Night Games," "Christmas Day Games," and “Return Games.”  Let’s take a look at some of the most exciting matchups we will see throughout the 2019-2020 NBA season.  

Opening Night (October 22nd)

Toronto Raptors vs New Orleans Pelicans

Los Angeles Lakers vs Los Angeles Clippers

Right off the bat, the NBA plans to display some of the best talent the league has to offer.  The defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors will face Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans in his debut.  The Zion effect has already taken the New Orleans’ market by storm. Not even Anthony Davis was able to pull an opening night prime time game for the Pelicans in seven years with the team.  The battle for Los Angeles will be showcased early on when LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Lakers will take on Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers. Paul George will likely be out of the first few weeks of the season while recovering from two shoulder surgeries.

Christmas Day (December 25th)

Toronto Raptors vs Boston Celtics

Philadelphia 76ers vs Milwaukee Bucks

Denver Nuggets vs New Orleans Pelicans

Los Angeles Lakers vs Los Angeles Clippers

Golden State Warriors vs Houston Rockets

Christmas Day games in the NBA have become a popular tradition.  The league did not disappoint when choosing these matchups. The Eastern Conference matchups include four of the best teams in the conference.  The Kawhi-less Toronto Raptors will take on the new-look Boston Celtics while the Philadelphia 76ers will take on 2019 MVP Giannis Antetekounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks.  The Zion effect once again will take place on Christmas when the Pelicans take on Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets. The two Los Angeles teams will battle it out on prime time once again while James Harden, Russell Westbrook and the Houston Rockets will match up against Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors.  This is a great early Christmas gift the NBA has given the fans with tremendous matchups we could potentially see in the playoffs.

 

Return Games

Kristaps Porzingis returns to New York

November 14th: New York Knicks vs Dallas Mavericks

Anthony Davis returns to New Orleans 

November 27th: New Orleans Pelicans vs Los Angeles Lakers

Kyrie Irving returns to Boston

November 27th: Boston Celtics vs Brooklyn Nets

Kawhi Leonard returns to Toronto

December 11th: Toronto Raptors vs Los Angeles Clippers

Russell Westbrook returns to Oklahoma City

January 9th: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Houston Rockets

Paul George Returns to Oklahoma City

March 3rd: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Los Angeles Clippers

Which player will get booed the most returning to their old arena?  These are the games you will want to tune into. Return games are the epitome of pettiness throughout the NBA.  Sometimes there are occasions when a fan base will embrace their old star.  Expect Kawhi Leonard and Russell Westbrook to get huge ovations from their old cities.  Although, the emotions may be different when Kyrie returns to Boston or Anthony Davis returns to New Orleans.  

This season is set up to be one of the most exciting ones we have seen in a while.  With no clear cut favorite, the regular season and seedings will be important leading up to the postseason.  The rest of the NBA schedule is set to be released on Monday, August 12th. Football season is almost here, but basketball season is not too far behind!