2022-23 Kia Season Preview

As a new season nears, 2 tantalizing matchups mark NBA opening night

Sixers vs. Celtics and Lakers vs. Warriors mark the Oct. 18 opening-night doubleheader on TNT that tips off the 2022-23 season.

Jayson Tatum and the Celtics take on Joel Embiid and the 76ers to mark the 1st game of the 2022-23 season.

It’s been four months since the Golden State Warriors clinched the 2022 NBA title. Since then, we’ve seen the championship parade, a new generation of players enter the league in the draft, some key free-agency signings, plenty of trade rumors, a trio of All-Stars traded to new teams, young talent showcasing their game at Summer League, some off the court drama, training camps and preseason action.

Now it’s finally time to get back on the court for another full season of action. And it all gets started on Tuesday, October 18 with an opening-night doubleheader on TNT.

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics

(7:30 p.m. ET, TNT)

The first game of the 2022-23 regular season features reigning scoring champion Joel Embiid leading the Philadelphia 76ers into Boston to take on the defending Eastern Conference-champion Boston Celtics.

Boston’s first attempt at title No. 18 came up two wins short against the Warriors last June. The Celtics begin their quest to return to the NBA Finals with a new coach on the sidelines (Joe Mazzulla) and a new guard in the rotation (Malcolm Brogdon).

Tuesday will mark the coaching debut of Mazzulla, as the 34-year-old was named interim coach following the season-long suspension of coach Ime Udoka on Sept. 22.

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This game will also mark the debut of the Celtics’ tribute to the late Bill Russell as the legendary center’s No. 6 has been added to the paint of the famous parquet floor at TD Garden. Every player in the NBA will wear a black No. 6 patch on his jersey throughout the upcoming season to honor Russell and celebrate his impact both on and off the court.

Russell is also the first player to have his number retired across the NBA as his No. 6 will not be issued again by any NBA team to any player. However, players who currently wear No. 6 have been grandfathered in and will be the final group of players to ever wear the number in an NBA game.

That list is headlined by LeBron James — who will be featured in the second game of the opening night doubleheader. James is joined by 14 other players that are currently on NBA rosters with the No. 6. However, rosters for the 2022-23 season will be finalized on Oct. 17 — the eve of opening night — so this list may get smaller before opening night.

  • Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Utah Jazz)
  • Moses Brown (LA Clippers)
  • Alex Caruso (Chicago Bulls)
  • Hamidou Diallo (Detroit Pistons)
  • David Duke Jr. (Brooklyn Nets)
  • Quentin Grimes (New York Knicks)
  • LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers)
  • Keon Johnson (Portland Trail Blazers)
  • DeAndre Jordan (Denver Nuggets)
  • Kenneth Lofton Jr. (Memphis Grizzlies)
  • Kenyon Martin Jr. (Houston Rockets)
  • Jalen McDaniels (Charlotte Hornets)
  • Jordan McLaughlin (Minnesota Timberwolves)
  • Kristaps Porziņgis (Washington Wizards)
  • Jaylin Williams (Oklahoma City Thunder)

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors

(10 p.m. ET, TNT)

Stephen Curry and the Warriors host the Lakers on ring night in San Francisco.

It’s ring night in San Francisco as the 2021-22 NBA champion Golden State Warriors celebrate their fourth championship in eight seasons before beginning their title defense against LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers.

This will be the first time the Warriors have received their championship rings and unveiled a new championship banner at Chase Center, which opened in September 2019. The first three titles of this Warriors run were celebrated at Golden State’s former home arena, Oracle Arena in Oakland.

The Warriors will have their full squad on hand for the celebration as Draymond Green’s time away from the team has come to an end following an altercation with teammate Jordan Poole at a preseason practice session. Green was fined by the team for his actions, but will not serve a suspension.

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The Warriors quartet for four-time champions — Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala and Green — will face a familiar opponent in James, who met the Warriors in the NBA Finals four straight postseasons during his last run with the Cleveland Cavaliers (2014-18) before joining the Lakers for the 2018-19 season.

This game marks the start of LeBron’s 20th NBA season — a mark that only eight players have ever reached in league history: Vince Carter (22 seasons); Robert Parish, Kevin Willis, Kevin Garnett and Dirk Nowitzki (21 seasons), Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jamal Crawford (20 seasons).

It also marks the countdown of LeBron’s pursuit of Kareem’s record as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. LeBron enters the season 1,326 points away from passing Kareem as the top scorer in the history of the game. Based on his career scoring average of 27.1 points per game, LeBron would need 49 games to break the record. However, LeBron is coming off a season in which he averaged 30.3 points per game — the second-highest mark of his career — so he may do it even faster than expected.