The NBA Is (Almost) Back! Here Are All the Games Scheduled for Opening Night and Christmas Day
The league will be starting its new season just two months after the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA championship
It looks like Christmas is coming early for NBA fans.
After successfully finishing the 2019-2020 season without a single coronavirus case inside the bubble at Walt Disney World, the NBA is already preparing for its comeback.
As CBS Sports notes, this will be the quickest the NBA has returned after a break in its history. The decision was reportedly spurred on by the league's desire to have as much of the season completed before the start of the Tokyo Summer Olympics in July.
The 2020-2021 season will tentatively kick off on Dec. 22 with a doubleheader on TNT: the Brooklyn Nets, led by Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, will face Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors in Brooklyn at 7 p.m. ET, the NBA announced on Wednesday. This is the first time Durant will face the Warriors since leaving the team in 2019.
Later that night, at 10 p.m. ET, the Lakers will receive their championship rings when they take on their hometown rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers, at Staples Center.
The Lakers are already viewed as favorites to repeat as champions next season, and the Clippers — who were unceremoniously eliminated from the playoffs when they blew a 3-1 lead against the Denver Nuggets in their seven-game series — are hoping their fortune turns around.
Christmas — which the NBA has historically used to showcase marquee matchups — will see five games over the day. The first game will start with the New Orleans Pelicans visiting the Miami Heat at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN, followed by:
- Golden State Warriors at Milwaukee Bucks, 2:30 p.m. ET on ABC
- Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics, 5 p.m. ET on ABC
- Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Lakers, 8 p.m. ET on ABC/ESPN
- Los Angeles Clippers at Denver Nuggets, 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
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Stephen Curry — who debuted his new apparel line with Under Armour this week — will be seeing action on both opening night and Christmas Day after missing most of last season due to injury. While Curry, 32, did briefly return to the court in March, the NBA went on hiatus soon after due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Warriors did not qualify for the playoffs when the league returned, so Curry did not travel to Orlando to complete the season during the summer.
"[After] being out seven months, I'm getting ready to go back to work," Curry told PEOPLE last month. "It's back to whatever the chaos of the NBA season is, but I have an appreciation of the time. I've had my family and a new perspective of just how fortunate I am to be able to do what I get to do for a living."