There are only three things that are constant in life; death, taxes, and JaVale McGee dribbling the ball out of bounds while trying to run a fast break. Wait, maybe that last one isn’t quite right. But regardless, that last one is certainly a sign that the NBA season is upon us and everything in life makes sense again. Basketball in the Olympics was great and Summer League was much more entertaining than everyone expected, but now the real fun starts. The NBA regular season is just under two weeks away, and this article will be your guide to finding all of the best games throughout the season.
For the purposes of saving time, these must-see games are going to be picked from the national television schedule. Without further ado, enjoy the Must-See Games of the 2016-2017 NBA Season:
Tuesday, Oct. 25: San Antonio Spurs @ Golden State Warriors (TNT) 10:30 p.m. ET
Lets start it off early, huh? This is the second game of the season-opening double-header on TNT. These two teams are, most likely, going to be the top two teams in the Western Conference, so what better way to start off the season than with a matchup of these two titans. Obviously all the attention will be on Kevin Durant and his first regular season appearance with the Warriors, and rightfully so, but this is going to be a battle. San Antonio has two bigs in Pau Gasol and LeMarcus Aldridge who could give the Warriors trouble on the boards and Kawhi Leonard has been a notorious Durant stopper. Regardless of who wins though, this should be a great game to get the regular season underway.
Friday, Nov. 2: Oklahoma City Thunder @ Golden State Warriors (TNT) 10:30 p.m. ET
Do you know what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? Russell Westbrook comes in and dunks on both of their heads. That’s what happens. Since Durant left OKC to team up with Curry, the passive-aggressive comments and teenage girl drama has been on full display. Westbrook is clearly upset about KD’s departure, and this will be the first time that he will get a chance to show it on the court. Every NBA fan is excited, and also a little scared, to see what Westbrook can do with his own team, and what better way than to showcase it on a national stage against his old partner in crime.
Thursday, Dec. 1: Houston Rockets @ Golden State Warriors (TNT) 10:30 p.m. ET
If you are a fan of offense, this is going to be the game for you. The Warriors are going to be one of the best offensive teams in the league, and the Rockets have no other choice than to be good on offense because their defense is going to be such a problem. This game is going to be up-and-down and who wouldn’t love to watch Curry, KD, and Thompson go against James “Point Gawd” Harden?
Sunday, Dec. 25: Golden State Warriors @ Cleveland Cavaliers (ABC) 2:30 p.m. ET
An NBA Finals rematch on Christmas Day? Couldn’t any NBA fan want anything more than that? These teams really don’t like each other. You saw it as the series developed last season, as LeBron tried to convince the world that he was still the best in the world and Curry tried to carry his team to back-to-back NBA Championships. Collapsing after having a 3-1 lead is certainly still on the collective mind of the Warriors, and this will be the first time that they will get a chance to prove that they are back and better than ever. Add Durant to the mix and this should be a matchup that’s worth showing up late to Christmas dinner.
Monday, Jan. 23: New York Knicks @ Indiana Pacers (TNT) 8:00 p.m. ET
Although not exactly in the realm of realistic title contenders, these are two teams that drastically changed their personnel over the offseason. The Knicks, according to Derrick Rose, have as good a chance as anyone to make a splash in the Eastern Conference, and the Pacers added Al Jefferson, Jeff Teague, and Thaddeus Young to Paul George and Monte Ellis to create an intriguing dark horse contender. There is a lot of talent between these two teams and it should make for an entertaining matchup.
Saturday, Feb. 11: Golden State Warriors @ Oklahoma City Thunder (ABC) 8:30 p.m. ET
Westbrook vs. Durant, Part II. Do I need to say more? I guess I should since I am the writer and that’s kind of my job. OKC, much like Westbrook, didn’t take kindly to Durant leaving for Golden State. They will certainly let him hear about it in his first trip back. It will be another opportunity for Westbrook and Co. to prove to Durant that it was a mistake to leave. This also might be the only time, because the adrenalin and the emotion, that OKC might have a chance of beating the Dubs.
Wednesday, March 1: Cleveland Cavaliers @ Boston Celtics (ESPN) 8:00 p.m. ET
Cleveland is at the top of the Eastern Conference, there is no denying that. But after landing Al Horford in free agency, many pundits around the league are saying that Boston may be its closest adversary. After their first round matchup in the 2015 NBA playoffs, the two teams have had a number of intense, highly physical games. This one will be exactly the same and it will be must-watch television.
Thursday, March 9: Los Angeles Lakers @ Phoenix Suns (TNT) 10:30 p.m. ET
I always find myself being enthralled by at least one of these types of games each year. It’s the kind of game where you look at the schedule and think, “Why am I being forced to watch this on action television,” but then end up being totally captivated. Both the Lakers and Suns have a TON of young talent, and while the win-loss columns won’t be anything to write home about, there will be a good amount of quality basketball from both of these teams. D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Larry Nance Jr., and Jordan Clarkson have brought the youth movement to LA in the wake of Kobe Bryant’s retirement and they have provided some entertaining basketball. Devin Booker, Alex Len, Dragan Bender, and Marquess Chris have the potential to create a core group of players that can carry the Suns out of the basement of the league. While there will most likely only be draft lottery consequences on the line in the game, there’s no denying that it has the potential to a very entertaining bit of late-night basketball.
Plenty of people have noted that since Kevin Durant has joined the Warriors, the regular season may be all but a formality. But with the number of storylines going throughout the league, there will be plenty of entertaining games going on. On that note, lets get the season going!