Best Games to Tune Into This Year
The NBA has released their season schedule this afternoon and although each team will play 82 games from October 28th through April 15, there are a few matchups that even the most casual fan will enter into their calendar today.
The obvious choice is whenever Cleveland takes on Miami at Miami. LeBron James returns to South Beach Christmas Day (December 25) and March 16. The retooled Cavs should have no chemistry issues that deep into the season and it’ll be great to see the reaction not only from the oft-lackluster Heat fans, but from James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. The former teammates will say all the right and politically correct phrases leading up to the matchups, but it could potentially be different on the court with the chippy Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters added to the mix.
Seeing as the league’s best player jumped shipped, a Finals rematch will not be as flashy as in previous years a although the San Antonio and Cleveland matchups on November 19 and March 12 gives us LeBron against the franchise who’s given him two Finals losses.
The 2014 NBA Draft has been one of the most hyped from top to bottom in recent memory so a battle between the top two draft picks should be pretty fun to watch especially as both typically play the same position. Minnesota versus Milwaukee (November 26 and January 9) has potential to be one of the better matchups if only because Andrew Wiggins (soon to be acquired by the Timberwolves) and Jabari Parker will make it so.
Derek Fisher and Phil Jackson have won five NBA Championships together (more than most franchises) and are teaming up to try and win more with the New York Knicks, this time as Head Coach and Team President, respectively. The team they won those titles with? The Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers and Knicks face off on the first of February before Jackson and Fisher return to LA on March 12 for the first time. The ovation they are bound to receive from the Laker crowd and a matchup of the two biggest matchups in Madison Square Garden is reason enough to watch, but Kobe Bryant would surely relish in being victorious against his former coach and teammate.
James may be returning to his hometown, but Bryant is making a return to the court from a lengthy injury. With James back in a Cavs uniform, NBA fans will be given déjà vu by the Bryant and James matchup on January 15 and February 8. Kobe may not be at the top of his game like he was when everyone dreamt of a Kobe/LeBron Finals matchup a few years ago, but he’d will himself into that player once more to come out on top in these games. One can also add in that Kevin Love was rumored for years to want to play for the Lakers, but will be playing for the Cavs instead.
The Clippers’s Blake Griffin seems to get into altercations on the court every time one tunes in and his teammate, Chris Paul, has never backed down either which is why matchups against division foe Golden State (on November 5, Christmas Day, March 8 and 31) and Oklahoma City (October 30, February 8 and March 11) will be quite the watch. All three will be looking to compete for pole position in the Western Conference, but something about playing the Clips brings out tough play from the Warriors and Thunder. The play is more physical as players box out and literally fight for rebounds, dive for loose balls and foul much harder to avoid being placed on posters by Griffin and Deandre Jordan.
If that’s not enough to get someone to tune in, just think of Chris Paul taking on the younger point guards in Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook. Curry can light up a team for 50 points off his phenomenal shooting and Westbrook plays fast and aggressive every game.
The Thunder and forward Kevin Durant are a big draw anywhere they are on their own, but a face-off with the reigning NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs would brighten many a day. They’ve faced off a couple of times in the Western Conference Finals, the Spurs winning this past year. Christmas Day, March 25 and April 7 are the days to watch Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli take on the OKC Big Three in Durant, Westbrook and Serge Ibaka.
The best games of the year, in my opinion, will be the ones played between the Cavs and the Thunder. The Cavs are going to be the new team on the block, largely depending on young players with no big game experience, while the Thunder have that experience but nothing to show for it. Both will be hungry and the two best players in the league will be on either side.
It’s not often that the two best players play the same position, so Durant versus James will be something special each possession down the floor. Even though Durant won the MVP award last year, but James is still touted as the best player around, which gives Durant something to prove in these meetings. Going off that, James might feel slighted because he did not win the award (ala Michael Jordan in his prime) and will fuel himself to push his teammates to victory. December 11 and January 25 are definitely going to be highlights because of these two great players.
Other games to look forward to are Kevin Love returning to Minnesota January 31, November 19 is the day Lance Stephenson and Jason Kidd return to Indiana and Brooklyn, respectively and Andrew Wiggins plays in Cleveland after being traded for Love December 23.
Get your NBA League Pass ready, it’s looking to be another spectacular season!