NBA unveils full 2018-19 season schedule
Back-to-backs at historic low for fourth consecutive season; no four-in-fives for second straight season
NEW YORK — The NBA today released its complete game schedule and broadcast schedules for ABC, TNT,ESPN, NBA TV and ESPN Radio for the 2018-19 regular season. The league’s 73rd regular season will tip off on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, and conclude on Wednesday, April 10, 2019.
As part of the 2018-19 schedule, the number of times when teams play games on back-to-back days will be an all-time low for the fourth consecutive season. The team average is 13.3 back-to-backs this season, down 31 percent since the 2014-15 season (19.3 per team). For the second season in a row, no team is scheduled to play a stretch with four games in five days. In addition, instances when teams play five games in seven days (0.7 per team) has been reduced by 42 percent from last season (1.2 per team) and 77 percent from the 2016-17 season (3.0 per team).
Also in 2018-19, the NBA will again label its schedule by week to enhance the ability of fans to follow the 1,230-game regular season. Starting with Week 1 and ending with Week 26, the weekly structure will help reinforce awareness of upcoming games and communicate key storylines. Each week will run Monday through Sunday.
The NBA previously announced its national television schedule for Week 1 of the 2018-19 regular season as well as its lineup of five Christmas Day games on ESPN networks and three Martin Luther King Jr. Day games on TNT. (Click here for those schedules.) The season will begin on Oct. 16 with a doubleheader on TNT featuring the Philadelphia 76ers visiting the Boston Celtics (8 p.m. ET) and the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder (10:30 p.m. ET).
NBA on ABC
In addition to televising three Christmas Day games, ABC will have the following regular-season series:
• NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC: The fourth season of NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC will feature eight games, each scheduled to air at 8:30 p.m. ET. The series will tip off on Jan. 19 (Week 14) with the Los Angeles Lakers visiting the Houston Rockets, which will be preceded by a special matinee broadcast on ABC as Philadelphia hosts Oklahoma City at 3:30 p.m. ET. Other Primetime telecasts will include the Celtics playing interconference showdowns against the visiting Warriors on Jan. 26 (Week 15) and the host Lakers on March 9 (Week 21).
• NBA Sunday Showcase on ABC: ABC will present six Sunday afternoon games, starting on Feb. 3 (Week 16) with the Celtics taking on the Thunder in Boston (2 p.m. ET) and concluding on April 7 (Week 25) with the Thunder visiting the Minnesota Timberwolves (3:30 p.m. ET).
ABC will also televise the NBA Finals 2019 presented by YouTube TV – its 17th straight season as the exclusive home of the league’s championship series.
NBA on TNT
TNT will televise 21 Thursday doubleheaders and 10 Tuesday doubleheaders as part of Turner Sports’ 35th straight year of NBA coverage. All games will be live streamed via tntdrama.com/watchtnt and the Watch TNT App.
The network’s Players Only franchise – which comprises former professional basketball players in all broadcast roles – will return for its third year starting on Tuesday, Jan. 29 (Week 16) with a doubleheader showcasing the New Orleans Pelicans at the Rockets (8 p.m. ET) and the 76ers at the Lakers (10:30 p.m. ET). Players Only telecasts will air regularly on Tuesday nights from the series’ Jan. 29 debut through April 2 (Week 25).
As previously announced, TNT’s first Thursday doubleheader of the season, on Oct. 18, will include LeBron James’ debut with the Lakers as they visit the Portland Trail Blazers (10:30 p.m. ET).
Additional highlights of TNT’s regular-season schedule:
· Week 5: Golden State at Houston (Thursday, Nov. 15, 8 p.m. ET) – The Warriors and Rockets will square off for the first time since their seven-game series in the 2018 Western Conference Finals.
· Week 11: Philadelphia at Utah (Thursday, Dec. 27, 10:30 p.m. ET) – 2017-18 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons will lead the 76ers against last season’s runner-up, Donovan Mitchell, and the Jazz.
· Week 12: Toronto at San Antonio (Thursday, Jan. 3, 8 p.m. ET) – The Raptors and Spurs will face each other for the first time since their July 18 trade in which Toronto acquired Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green from San Antonio for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round draft pick.
In addition to its regular-season coverage, TNT will air NBA All-Star 2019 events from Feb. 15-17 in Charlotte, culminating with the NBA’s 68th All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 17.
TNT will also exclusively televise the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals.
NBA on ESPN
In its 17th consecutive season of NBA coverage, ESPN will present 21 Wednesday doubleheaders and 16 Friday doubleheaders. The network’s telecasts will be available via the ESPN App. ESPN Deportes, ESPN’s Spanish-language U.S. sports network, will also have a full slate of regular-season games.
ESPN’s regular-season schedule will feature:
· Week 4: Boston at Utah (Friday, Nov. 9, 9:30 p.m. ET) – Celtics forward/guard Gordon Hayward is set to face the Jazz for the first time.
· Week 6: Los Angeles Lakers at Cleveland (Wednesday, Nov. 21, 8 p.m. ET) – Four-time Kia NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James and the Lakers will make their one regular-season visit to Cleveland.
· Week 19: San Antonio at Toronto (Friday, Feb. 22, 7 p.m. ET) – Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan, the Raptors’ career scoring leader, will play his first game at Scotiabank Arena as a visitor.
ESPN will be the exclusive network of the 2019 Western Conference Finals.
NBA on NBA TV
NBA TV will televise 30 doubleheaders during the season as well as a tripleheader on April 7 (Week 25), its last day of live game coverage for the 2018-19 regular season.
The network’s coverage will feature a special afternoon doubleheader on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 21 (Week 15) as the Knicks take on the Thunder at Madison Square Garden (12:30 p.m. ET) and the Magic visits the Atlanta Hawks (3 p.m. ET).
NBA TV’s regular-season schedule will also include:
· Week 6: Phoenix at Philadelphia; Oklahoma City at Sacramento (Monday, Nov. 19) – The top two selections from the NBA Draft 2018 presented by State Farm will be in action as No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton and the Suns visit the 76ers (7 p.m. ET), followed by No. 2 pick Marvin Bagley III and the Kings facing the Thunder at Golden 1 Center (10 p.m. ET).
· Week 9: NBA Mexico City Games 2018 (Saturday, Dec. 15, 5 p.m. ET) – The Jazz and the Orlando Magic will play the second of the NBA’s two games in Mexico City during the 2018-19 season.
· Week 14: NBA London Game 2019 (Thursday, Jan. 17, 3 p.m. ET) – The New York Knicks and the Washington Wizards will meet at The O2 in the NBA’s ninth regular-season game in London.
NBA on ESPN Radio
ESPN Radio will air 26 games during the regular season, including Warriors vs. Thunder on opening night and two Christmas Day matchups in Celtics vs. 76ers and Warriors vs. Lakers. It will also provide coverage from NBA All-Star 2019 and broadcast the NBA Finals 2019 presented by YouTube TV.
Additional 2018-19 Schedule Highlights
The NBA on ABC, TNT, ESPN and NBA TV will present flexible scheduling throughout the regular season to provide the most compelling matchups to a national audience.
NBA League Pass will offer up to 40 live, out-of-market games each week through connected televisions, the NBA App, NBA.com and B/R Live for fans who want to watch their favorite teams, players and matchups from outside their local markets (blackout restrictions apply). Games included in NBA League Pass will be in addition to those available on TNT, ESPN, ABC and NBA TV as well as local networks (such as a regional sports network and/or an over-the-air station). For more information about NBA League Pass, visit nba.com/leaguepass/.
The 2018-19 season will feature 42 games on Saturdays and Sundays during primetime for fans in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. This marks the most primetime games for fans in these regions and the fifth consecutive season with at least 20 such games.
The schedule also includes five consecutive Sunday games from March 10 to April 7 that will air in primetime in India. This marks the second straight year that five games will be televised in primetime in India.
NBA programming and games are seen in 215 countries and territories in 50 languages.
NBA.com and the NBA App will provide day-by-day and team-by-team schedules as well as regular-season telecast schedules of the league’s domestic broadcast partners.