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10 can't-miss games on national TV for the upcoming season

The 'battle of L.A.' resumes in November, Grizzlies-Warriors headlines Christmas Day and the Ball brothers meet in January.

Which game could LeBron James potentially become the all-time scoring leader this season?

The NBA released its full schedule for the 2022-23 season, and here’s a quick list of can’t-miss games set to air on national television during the first half of the campaign:

Lakers vs. Warriors

Tuesday, Oct. 18 (10 ET, TNT) 

Two of the game’s brightest stars in LeBron James and Stephen Curry face off at Chase Center in Game 2 of TNT’s opening night doubleheader, which features Boston hosting Philadelphia in the first contest. In this one, we’ve got the defending champion Warriors against what should be a revamped and fully healthy Los Angeles team with a new coach in Darvin Ham, who is expected to change the Lakers’ style of play. Curry, 34, and James, 37, have combined to take their teams to eight of the past 11 NBA titles in addition to snatching up a combined six Kia MVP awards.

Lakers vs. Clippers

Wednesday, Nov. 9 (10 ET, ESPN)

The first “battle of L.A.” of the season commences during opening week on TNT. So, this meeting at Arena represents the follow-up for what’s sure to be a hotly debated opening salvo in this rivalry that is sure to stir up plenty of overreaction one way or another. Both the Clippers and Lakers appear to be formidable when fully healthy, and we’re expecting to see stars galore on the floor in James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and what should be a rejuvenated and motivated John Wall.

Will Kawhi Leonard return as an elite player this season and make LA a contender?

Nuggets vs. Celtics

Friday, Nov. 11 (7 ET, NBA TV)

We’ve waited quite a while to see two-time Kia MVP Nikola Jokic surrounded by a fully healthy supporting cast. Fingers crossed that we’ll finally get to see that in 2022-23, with this matchup at TD Garden serving as a gritty test. Jamal Murray hasn’t played since Apr. 4, 2021. But the plan right now is for the 25-year-old to work his way back into action during the preseason (he’s been participating in on-court work for months), which means Murray could be full-go for this matchup against the Eastern Conference champions. Michael Porter Jr. played in just nine games last season due to a back injury, but he’s also tracking positively for the upcoming season.

Nets vs. 76ers

Tuesday, Nov. 22 (7:30 ET, TNT)

Nobody ever wants to admit it, but we all like at least a little bit of drama. That’s what we can expect in Game 1 of this doubleheader (Phoenix hosts the Lakers in Game 2) as Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons head to Philadelphia for a battle against Joel Embiid, James Harden and Tobias Harris. There’s still no telling what might transpire with the Nets and superstars Durant and Irving between now and this date. But if Brooklyn’s squad remains intact going into this one, it will be interesting to see how Sixers fans welcome back Simmons, who was traded to the Nets last February in a deal headlined by Harden.

The Nets received very few nationally-televised games this season.

Grizzlies vs. Warriors

Sunday, Dec. 25 (8 ET, ESPN) 

Draymond Green and Ja Morant manifested this matchup during the offseason on Twitter, and it marks the first time in franchise history that Memphis plays a game on Christmas. So, hopefully this clash matches the intensity we saw between Golden State and Memphis last season during the Western Conference semifinals. The Grizzlies are on the cusp of morphing into perennial contenders, but the veteran Warriors aren’t ceding their perch atop the West anytime soon. Memphis has its work cut out if it wants to turn this holiday in to a Merry Grizzmas. Also, keep an eye out for Memphis in Game 2 of TNT’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day doubleheader, as it hosts Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns.

Suns vs. Nuggets

Sunday, Dec. 25 (10:30 ET, ESPN)

Neither one of these teams receive enough respect nationally from this vantage point, and we’re likely to be watching a pair of stars in Devin Booker and Jokic that will be squarely in the mix for Kia MVP at this point. Two postseasons ago the Suns swept the Nuggets 4-0, ending the series on Denver’s home floor after Jokic, the two-time Kia MVP, was ejected in the third quarter. The hope for this one is we see two healthy squads on the floor, especially considering the load Jokic has been forced to carry over the last two seasons without his co-stars consistently on the floor.

In a rematch of their 1st-round clash from last season, the Hawks and Heat square off in a MLK Jr. Day showdown.

Heat vs. Hawks

Monday, Jan. 16 (3:30 ET, TNT)

By now, you’ve surely seen some of the highlights produced over the summer in pro-am action from Atlanta’s new big three of Trae Young, Dejounte Murray and John Collins. Hopefully, the trio can put together some more eye-popping content against true NBA competitors because that’s exactly what it faces in Game 1 of TNT’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day doubleheader when Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and the Miami Heat come to town. This rematch of the first round of the 2022 NBA playoffs could turn out to be a chippy affair as Atlanta’s young, talented and talkative backcourt faces off against a tough, veteran Heat team.

Celtics vs. Heat

Tuesday, Jan 24 (7:30 ET, TNT)

These teams meet in Miami during the first week of the season, but this battle comes during a doubleheader for NBA Rivals Week as part of the four occasions these squads will clash in the 2022-23 regular season. This contest takes us back to last season’s Eastern Conference finals, where Boston bested Miami in seven games, as Jayson Tatum became the inaugural Larry Bird Award winner as MVP of that series after a 26-point night in the Celtics’ 100-96 Game 7 victory. Heat star Butler battled knee soreness for that majority of that series, yet still managed to carry Miami in key victories.

When the Bulls and Hornets clash during NBA Rivals Week, it could also mean brothers Lonzo and LaMelo Ball square off.

Bulls vs. Hornets

Thursday, Jan. 26 (7:30 ET, TNT)

These squads square off for the first time on Nov. 2 in a nationally televised battle in Chicago featuring brothers Lonzo and LaMelo Ball. So, this meeting is the second between the teams as the first of a TNT doubleheader that continues NBA Rivals Week. The young, up-and-coming Hornets have just three nationally televised games on the schedule so far. So, you know they’ll be looking to make this home outing count. The Bulls finished 2-1 last season against the Hornets, but the Ball brothers met up just once as Lonzo was limited last season to just 35 games due to a knee injury.

Mavericks vs. Suns

Thursday, Jan. 26 (10 ET, TNT)

These teams meet up to open the season in Phoenix on Oct. 19, but this contest represents a continuation of NBA Rivals Week on TNT. Everyone remembers last season’s seven-game Western Conference semifinals series that ended at Footprint Center in a surprising collapse by the top-seeded Suns. In Game 7 of that series, we saw injured point god Chris Paul register a career-worst minus-39, while Deandre Ayton was pulled by Monty Williams after playing in just 17 minutes in the series-deciding game. Even after this season’s opener, Phoenix will likely still get up for another battle against superstar Luka Doncic and the revamped Mavs, which lost co-star Jalen Brunson during free agency.

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Michael C. Wright is a senior writer for You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

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