College Football Pick’em
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The full 2022-23 NBA regular-season schedule was officially released on Wednesday, which means the start of the season is right around the corner. The upcoming season will tip off on Oct. 18, run through early April and feature a full 82-game slate for each team.
For the first time, the schedule will feature a Rivals Week, which will highlight rivalries both new and old. Also, after its popularity over the past two years, this season will again feature a play-In tournament to determine the final playoff spots in each conference.
Here’s a look at all the key dates and matchups for the upcoming NBA season.
Opening night will feature both of the teams that played in the NBA Finals last season. In one game, the reigning champion Golden State Warriors will host LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. These two teams also played on opening night last season, but that game was in L.A. This time, it will take place in San Francisco. Prior to tipoff, the Warriors will receive their championship rings from last season. In the other game, the defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics will host the Philadelphia 76ers. This game could potentially serve as a conference finals preview as both teams appear poised to make a deep playoff run following some solid offseason additions.
The NBA announced that this season no games will be played on Election Day, which is set for Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. Per the league, the decision not to have any games on Election Day came out of the league’s focus on promoting nonpartisan civic engagement and encouraging fans to make a plan to vote during the midterm elections. The league has typically scheduled games on Election Day in the past, so this decision is a novel one.
This Christmas Day slate obviously features no shortage of storylines and star power. The game between the Celtics and Bucks will feature the last two Eastern Conference champions, and it will serve as a rematch of the conference semifinal series from last season. It will also be an opportunity to showcase two of the game’s top players in Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jayson Tatum. The matchup between the Knicks and 76ers doesn’t necessarily jump off the page, but it does feature one of the league’s deadliest duos in Joel Embiid and James Harden.
The other three games of the day are also intriguing battles between Western Conference elites. Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets will host Chris Paul, Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns. Either one of those teams could potentially represent the conference in the 2023 NBA Finals, so that should be a good one. Then, Luka Doncic and the Mavericks will host LeBron James and the Lakers. It remains to be seen exactly how good either of those teams will be, but getting to see James and Doncic go head-to-head is more than enough reason to tune in. Lastly, the Warriors will host the Grizzlies in a rematch of last season’s conference semifinal series. That series featured plenty of action — and trash-talking — so the rematch could prove to be pretty spicy.
The action on Martin Luther King Jr. Day kicks off with the Charlotte Hornets hosting the Boston Celtics. Then. the two teams that didn’t quite make the Christmas Day cut in the Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat will face off against each other. The game will serve as a rematch of last season’s first-round series in which Miami dispatched Atlanta in five games. Both of these teams figure to factor into the Eastern Conference playoff picture again, so the game could also serve as a potential playoff preview. The top two teams in the Western Conference record-wise last season will also face off on MLK Day when the Grizzlies host the Suns. Both of these teams are also playing on Christmas Day, so they’ll be getting some serious national exposure. The actions ends with a contest between the Lakers and Rockets set to take place in L.A.
For the first time, the NBA’s schedule will include a Rivals Week. Per the league, Rivals Week will feature 11 nationally televised games across four networks over five days in order to showcase both classic and budding rivalries between teams and players. The matchup between the Celtics and Lakers is a solid example of a classic rivalry, while the contest between the Warriors and Grizzlies is one of the league’s most intense budding rivalries.
The NBA’s annual All-Star festivities will take place from Feb. 17-19 in Salt Lake City. The All-Star Game itself will take place on Sunday, Feb. 19, while popular events like the 3-Point Contest and Dunk Contest will go down on Saturday, Feb. 18.
Over the offseason, the NBA to make the play-in tournament a permanent fixture of the schedule, so that means the tourney will return for the third consecutive season. The decision to make the play-in permanent comes as no surprise given the level of excitement it generated over the past two years.
In the first year of the play-in, we got an exciting showdown between the upstart Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors, in which Ja Morant and the Grizzlies sent Stephen Curry and the Warriors home packing. This past season featured a chippy matchup between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Clippers. Since its inception, the tournament has done a solid job of incentivizing teams against tanking and in turn making games down the stretch of the season more exciting. So it makes sense the league wants to keep it around.
Directly after the conclusion of the play-in tournament, the playoffs will get underway. This season, the postseason will begin on April 15 and run through mid-June.
The 2023 NBA Finals will begin on June 1, and as always it will be a best-of-seven series. Now that the dates are set, the only question left is which two teams will be going head-to-head for a banner when June rolls around.
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