October and November of each NBA season offers some of the best match-ups we can because the season is brand new. We all have been anticipating these match-ups and seeing our favorite players since May or June (or April if you’re a Laker fan like me), and the NBA itch has only gotten stronger. With the schedule being released, like most of you I’m sure, I took an immediate dive into my favorite team’s schedule, then checked out the games schedules for national TV.
There are so many good games to pick from, so I kept it to the first two months. Here are my best NBA match-ups in October and November.
1. Lakers @ Clippers – Oct 22, 10:30 PM ET (TNT)
This is the NBA season opener and the debut of the newest Lakers big-man, Anthony Davis. This is also the debut of the reigning NBA Finals MVP in his new threads, Kawhi Leonard. No Paul George in this game, but there will be plenty of fireworks. LeBron James will return from a lengthy absence from injury, and the Lakers will debut their new-look roster. This will be a great test for both LA teams to see where they stand. This game is a must watch for any NBA fan, but it’s a late one on the east coast.
2. Nets @ Celtics – Nov 27, 7:00 PM ET (ESPN)
In a classic match-up of a fan base that hates a former player, the Brooklyn Nets will travel to Boston in late-November to battle the Celtics. Former Celtic Kyrie Irving will return to face the Boston faithful since he ghosted them in July, so I know the fans are pumped to boo the shit out of him. This will be around the 20-game mark for both clubs, so this is well into the season. Hopefully both teams are firing on all cylinders and that everyone is healthy. Kemba vs Kyrie will be a match-up we all want to see, but really this is all about Tatum and he can step up to the next level, especially without KD on the court for Brooklyn.
3. LA Lakers @ Warriors – 11/13, 10:00 PM (ESPN)
The new-look LA Lakers will battle it out against the Golden State Warriors, in their new arena. At this point in the season, we should have a decent feeling on each team and anytime LeBron and Curry are on the same court, cameras will be rolling. This should be a great match-up, with AD going up against Draymond, and LeBron and Kuzma trying to combat Curry and Russell. DLo almost signed with the Lakers this past offseason, so I’m sure he will have something to prove, in addition to the chip that’s already on his shoulder. On top of that, it’s a 7pm/10pm start time! Hooray!
4. Bucks @ Rockets – Oct 24, 10:30 PM ET (TNT)
Last season, the Bucks and Rockets could have easily gotten to the NBA Finals, so this early meeting will be a great sign of where these teams are at. The Rockets are debuting new point-guard Russell Westbrook to pair alongside with James Harden, so we are all curious to see how that goes. The Bucks will trot out reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokoumpo and are essentially bringing everyone back for 2020. This should be a good, high-paced game with lots of dunks and less complaining. This game will also feature three former MVP’s, which is pretty impressive.
5. Celtics @ 76ers – Oct 23, 7:30 PM ET (ESPN)
The Celtics and 76ers have been battling it out for over 50 years, so why stop now? These two teams are favorites to represent the East in the Finals, so this early-season match-up will allow someone to get an mental edge. Boston will debut new point-guard Kemba Walker, while the 76ers newest big-man (and former Celtic) Al Horford will try and make up for the loss of Jimmy Butler. This game features plenty of mega-stars and will be a fun game to watch.
6. Nuggets @ Pelicans – Oct 31🎃, 9:30 PM ET (TNT)
While Zion would have already made his debut by this point, this is his first match-up against Nikola Jokic, an MVP-level big-man. The Pelicans are going to be fun to watch all season long and this game against the Nuggets will determine where this young team is at. The Nuggets are bringing everyone back, and this prime-time game will get plenty of eyes on it … a perfect time for the Nuggets to prove they are hungrier than last year. Zion is a fascinating prospect and his NBA-debut on Oct 24 will be something to watch, but this game is a better testament of where Zion really is at.
7. Trail Blazers @ Warriors – 11/4, 7:30 PM (NBA TV)
I know, it seems like I am west-cost heavy, but each time the Blazers and Warriors play, someone has a GREAT game, so I consider these games ‘must watch TV’. Portland gets to go into the new warriors home with a chance to play spoiler, a role that Damian Lillard loves to play. There is no Kevin Durant in the way of the Blazers this time, so I am curious to see the confidence level of the Blazers going into this game. This will no-doubt be a high-scoring game with probably close to 100 three-pointers attempted.
8. Jazz @ Bucks – Nov 25, 8:00 PM (NBA TV)
This game might not seem like the most exciting when you first look at it, but the Jazz and Bucks are both physical teams and this game will be fun to watch. I expect the Jazz to be a very good team in the West, especially with the addition of Mike Conley. The Jazz play hard, play tough, and fight for every possession. The Bucks play the same way, and with Giannis on floor, I can see him trying to posterize Rudy Gobert … at least once. This is an NBA TV game, so it’s “national tv”, but it’s still a great game to watch in my eyes.
9. Mavericks @ Knicks – Nov 14, 8:00 PM (TNT)
Knicks fans have had this game circled in their mind for months, but they just didn’t have an exact date … now they do. Nov 14th will be the day the former-Knick legend Kristaps Porzingis steps foot back into the Garden to face the unruly Knicks fans since being traded in Feb 2019. The Mavericks also have young-phenom and reigning rookie of the year Luka Doncic, which is must see TV. The Knicks will showcase their rookie in RJ Barrett, and newcomer Julius Randle will no-doubt try and prove himself in this game. Randle is from Texas, so the Porzingis/Randle match-up might be very entertaining. Still, I am tuning in to this game to hear New York City do what it does best … BOO people!
10. Trail Blazers @ Kings – 11/12, 10:00 PM (NBA TV)
I didn’t want to leave the Kings off of this list for a couple of reasons. First off, they are a fun team to watch. Second, I am very curious to see how good this team is. The Kings were a fringe playoff team last season and they have all the pieces necessary to make the postseason. I love Fox’s game and Buddy Hield can shoot that rock. This game should be a great test for the Kings as the Blazers come to town. Sacramento is known for it’s loud and intense crowds, but Damian Lillard is known for quieting loud crowds. I expect this game to be fast-paced (like most games now), have a ton of three pointers, and some last-second heroics … maybe on the Kings side.
2019/20 Schedule Notes
- The NBA has noticeably cut-back (by 42%) on the 7:30 pm/10:30 ET start times for games.
- Teams will play an average of 4 back-to-backs, down 36%.
- No team is scheduled to play four games in five days.
- 48 games will air in prime-time for European, Middle Eastern, and African countries.
- The NBA will implement ‘flex scheduling’ to give fans the best games down the stretch of the season (similar to the NFL).