Ten to Watch
Posted Sep 19 2007 5:58PM
There are 1230 games in the NBA schedule, and true NBA junkies like you and me will do our best to watch as many of them as we possibly can. We'll order League Pass as soon as it's available, we'll do our annual TiVo purging come October, and we can always catch summer repeats if Lost or The Wire conflicts with a big game.
Still, with today's release of the 2007-08 schedule, we want to see when those big games are, so we can circle the dates and the calendar and plan ahead. Because nothing can come in the way of watching Durant's debut, KG's return to Minny, or a Mavs-Warriors rematch.
With that in mind, here are 10 dates to keep clear of anything that could keep you from the TV (or the arena, if you happen to live in one of the following cities).
Portland @ San Antonio, 8 p.m. ET, TNTGreg Oden may be the next franchise big man, but Tim Duncan is still The Franchise big man. Duncan and the Spurs get their latest set of rings and raise another banner prior to what was supposed to be Oden's debut at the show. However the rookie from Ohio State is done for the season following knee surgery.
Houston @ LA Lakers, 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT
Last season, the Bulls spoiled the Heat's ring night by spanking them on their own floor, and Miami never recovered. I doubt that happens to the Spurs this time around, but hey, it's an even year.
In the second game of TNT's double-header, T-Mac and Yao visit Kobe and the Lakers. It will be KB24's first home game since his public-cry-for-assistance-slash-trade-request-that-he-took-back, so tune in to see how the Staples Center crowd welcomes him back.
Dallas @ Cleveland, 8 p.m. ET, ESPNGreg Oden was the No. 1 pick, but the favorite to win Rookie of the Year is Kevin Durant. The Sonics are building their team for the future, they're building it around the kid from the University of Texas, and they've got good reason to do so. He's got a full offensive repertoire, he's 6-9, he's got a 7-5 wingspan, and he's got a fire in his belly that has him sleeping in the gym so he can get in extra workout time.
Seattle @ Denver, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Durant makes his NBA debut on the second night of the season, visiting Carmelo Anthony, Allen Iverson and the Nuggets. Denver will be tipping off their first full season with Iverson, so expectations will be high.
Other rookie debuts on this night include Yi Jianlian and the Bucks in Orlando and Mike Conley and the Grizzlies hosting the Spurs.
Meanwhile, ESPN's coverage begins with the Mavs in Cleveland. Finals preview? Last season's MVP vs. this season's MVP? Maybe both.
Washington @ Boston, 8 p.m. ET, ESPNDanny Ainge has completely remade the Celtics' roster with the trades that brought in Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. Along with Paul Pierce, they form perhaps the best trio in the league.
We'll have to wait a few nights to see them playing together, but it should be well worth it. In their season opener, the Celtics will host the Wizards and one of the other Big Threes, Arenas, Butler and Jamison, giving everyone an early chance to see how they measure up.
Dallas @ Golden State, 10:30 p.m. ET, TNTAvery Johnson and the Mavs will have had six months to figure out the Warriors by the time this matchup arrives. Golden State pulled off perhaps the biggest upset in NBA Playoffs history back in early May after the Mavs had put together a historic regular season. We'll find out early on if the Warriors still have something on the Mavs, or if Dallas can answer the riddle that is Don Nelson's squad. Other Golden State-Dallas matchups take place on Jan. 2 (NBA TV), March 30 (NBA TV) and April 2 (ESPN).
Miami @ Portland, 10:30 p.m. ET, TNTShaquille O'Neal likes to think of himself (and who's to argue?) as a showman, a top level karate master. The following quote is from an interview with him last summer...
Basically, it's a karate move. You gotta fight all the karate guys, and once you kill them off, now you gotta get to the ninjas. Once you get through the ninjas, now you gotta get to the showmen.So, you could call Greg Oden a "karate guy", the new kid on the block. He gets his first chance to meet the showman on Dec. 6 on TNT. The two big men will also meet in Miami on Jan. 18 on ESPN.
Phoenix @ San Antonio, 8:30 p.m. ET, NBA TVWe know that the Suns aren't too happy with how the Western Conference Semifinals went. The series was tied at 2-2, Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw were suspended for Game 5, the Spurs won in six, and they then went on to with the NBA title.
Phoenix will get their first chance at revenge in mid-December, as they visit the Spurs on NBA TV. Other Suns-Spurs matchups take place on Jan. 31 (TNT), March 9 (ABC) and April 9 (ESPN).
Phoenix @ Dallas, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPNLast season, the Suns and Mavs gave us a couple of incredible games in the midst of going on countless double-digit winning streaks throughout the season. While you've probably heard the best-friends-forever story of Dirk and Nash a thousand times, you can't deny that, along with quality supporting casts, the two MVPs give you great basketball every time they meet.
Miami @ Cleveland, 2:30 p.m. ET, ABCSure, turkey is a great holiday staple, but sometimes, it's nice to try something new, like going out for Chinese food when the neighbor's dogs invade your house and eat the stuffed bird. So, how about we try D-Wade, Shaq and LeBron on Christmas this year? And better yet, let's get the Suns and Lakers together too. And to top it off, let's see what all the hype is about with the first ever matchup of Greg Oden and Kevin Durant.
Phoenix @ LA Lakers, 5 p.m. ET, ABC
Seattle @ Portland, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Three great games. It's like Christmas ... on Christmas.
Boston @ Minnesota, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPNFor the last 12 years, Kevin Garnett has been the centerpiece of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Through good times and bad, KG stuck with his team and gave them everything he had every single night. Now, he's a Celtic, and the Wolves are starting over. Target Center fans will see their hero in another uniform for the first time on February 8 on ESPN. Prepare for a delay in the start of the game.
Denver @ Philadelphia, 7 p.m. ET, League PassIt's already been more than seven months since Allen Iverson was traded to the Nuggets, and with the KG trade fresh in our minds, we might forget about the biggest deal of 2006. But you know that Philly fans are looking forward to March 19, when AI finally returns to the City of Brotherly Love to face the franchise that he made such an impact on for the first time.