The NBA has just released the official full schedule for the 2017-18 NBA season. And while the regular season is still two months away, the excitement has begun.
Reducing Travel Stress
One of the highlights of the 2017-18 NBA schedule is the effort of the league to give players more recovery time by reducing travel stress. First of all, the regular season begins on October 17, 2017 and ends on April 11, 2018 which is one week longer than the previous seasons.
During the 2014-15 season, there were 70 four in fives. The number was reduced to 27 in 2016 and further cut down to 20 last season. For the first time in the NBA’s 72 year history, there won’t be any ‘four in fives’ meaning no team will play four games during a five day stretch.
Aside from that, the number of back to back games have been slashed to an all-time low for the third consecutive season. In 2015, teams had an average of 19.3 back to back games. That number was cut to 16.3 last season and even lessened to 14.4 per team this upcoming season. No team will have more than 16 back to back games this season.
To help fans appreciate the 1,230 game long season, the NBA has established a new feature of labeling its weekly schedule. A week runs from Monday to Sunday and will will branded from week 1 to week 26. The weekly structure helps reinforce fan awareness of the upcoming games and effectively communicate storylines.
TNT will air the 2018 NBA All-Star activities including the 67th NBA All-Star Game on February 18th. It will also televise a total of 11 Tuesday doubleheaders and 20 Thursday doubleheaders. On the other hand, ESPN will air 21 Wednesday doubleheaders and 14 Friday doubleheaders. The third season of ABC’s NBA Primetime will have 8 games on Saturday’s at 8:30 pm ET.
As with previous seasons, the NBA’s Christmas Day lineup is a blockbuster present to its fan with five equally exciting games on hand. This year, the NBA called on its brightest franchises and the teams which underwent big offseason overhauls to give their fans a truly merry Christmas.
The Knicks hots the 76ers to open up the Christmas schedule at noon via ESPN. Then the Finals rematch between the Warriors and the Cavs follow at 3PM ET on ABC. Up next will be Gordon Hayward and the Celtics taking on the visiting Wizards at 5:30 PM ET also on ABC. Then CP3 and the Rockets visit the OKC Thunder at 8PM ET to conclude ABC’s tripleheader. Lonzo Ball and the Lakers square off with Jimmy Butler and the Timberwolves to finish the night at 10:30 PM ET on TNT.
The second installment of the Warriors vs Cavs rivalry will be one of the featured games on Monday, January 15, 2018 which is Martin Luther King Day and which is also the start of week 14. On that day, TNT’s triple-header will begin with the Memphis Grizzlies visiting the Los Angeles Lakers at 5:30 PM ET. That game will be followed by the Warriors vs Cavs showdown in Cleveland at 8:00 PM ET. The Houston Rockets will then play the Los Angeles Clippers in L.A. at 10:30 PM ET to mark Chris Paul’s first game at Staples Center since transferring to Houston.
On Tuesday January 23, 2018, the Cleveland Cavaliers will visit San Antonio in their only game against the Spurs during the 2017-18 season. That game will be televised at 8 PM ET on TNT. It will be immediately followed by the rekindling of the Celtics vs Lakers rivalry at 10:30 PM. Jimmy Butler’s Chicago homecoming will be on February 9, 2018 when the Bulls host the Timberwolves. On March 28, 2018, Gordon Hayward will return to Utah as a member of the Boston Celtics. Paul George’s return to Indiana will be earlier as the Thunder visit the Pacers on December 13, 2017.
More Exciting Match-Ups
The Houston Rockets get their first try at the defending champions when the CP3 and the Beard visit Oracle Arena on October 17. On the same day, the Boston Celtics, reloaded with Gordon Hayward, tests the Eastern Conference champions Cavaliers at the Q. Russell Westbrook meanwhile, gets another crack at Kevin Durant, but with a new tag team partner now in Paul George as the Thunder play host to the Golden State Warriors on November 22.
Aside from these marquee match-ups, it will be interesting to see how the top rookies will begin their NBA careers. Lonzo Ball’s debut will be on October 15 against the L.A. Clippers. Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons will make their NBA debut in Washington on October 18, 2017. The first installment between the Ball-Fultz rivalry will be on November 22 when the Sixers pay visit to the Lakers. Meanwhile, the match-up between Lonzo Ball and D’Aaron Fox ( which didn’t happen in the Summer League because Lonzo did not play ) will be on November 22 in Sacramento.
Aside from these great matches, the NBA will also hold regular season games overseas. On December 7, 2017, the Brooklyn Nets will host the San Antonio Spurs in Mexico City. Two nights later, the Nets will once again play the Miami Heat in the same city. On the other hand, the Boston Celtics will face the Philadelphia 76ers at the O2 Arena in London on January 11, 2018.
On April 10, the Phoenix Suns play the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas. With Dirk Nowitzki signing only a one-year deal with the Dallas Mavericks, this could be the final home game and final regular season game of the best European player to set foot in the NBA. The following day, April 11, another legendary European basketball player could also be playing his swansong game as the San Antonio Spurs visit the New Orleans Pelicans. Manu Ginobili was rumored to retire at the end of last season but decided to play one more. This game could indeed be the last for Manu.
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