The NBA released its opening-week, Christmas Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day schedule, and we talked about what we liked and didn’t like about a few of the matchups.
The NBA released its opening-week, Christmas Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day schedule on Wednesday, and while some of the games were headline-worthy, others didn’t live up to the hype. You can find all the games that have been made public here.
So three members of the SB Nation NBA team talked about what we liked, what we didn’t like and what we’d do differently. We’ll be publishing chats like this regularly throughout the season.
This week, our conversation gravitated towards the Christmas slate of five games. Is that too many?
Kristian Winfield (SB Nation NBA writer/reporter): I’m looking at the early NBA schedule release, and I don’t know how I feel about all these games. What y’all think about opening week?
Whitney Medworth (SB Nation NBA editor): I’m definitely looking forward to Warriors-Thunder. Should be spicy. Sixers-Celtics should be good too. But how the heck did the Bulls get an opening night game?
Kristian: They’re the best defensive team in the league, remember?
Whitney: Spoken by Jabari Parker himself.
[NOTE: After signing a two-year, $40 million deal with the Bulls this summer, Parker told Chicago media he doesn’t get paid to play defense. Deadass.]
Matt Ellentuck (SBNation.com writer/reporter): The opening night itself looks like it’s going to be FIRE. Celtics/Sixers is the rivalry the league wants and Joel Embiid and Marcus Smart will bring, and KD vs. Russ is my favorite Shonda Rhimes show.
The rest of the week seems... fine. Which is ok! There’s some highlights. Raptors/Celtics and Rockets/Lakers should be fun!
[NOTE: The Raptors open their season with a back-to-back against the Celtics then the Wizards. The Rockets’ second and third games are also a back-to-back (at Clippers, at Lakers).]
Kristian: One of these days, the NBA’ll get rid of these back-to-backs. We know it’s not healthy for the players, and with all of last season’s injuries, you’d think the league would try to eliminate these altogether sooner or later. I kinda like the idea of LeBron and these Lakers against the Trail Blazers to start their season. Early barometer for both teams, especially Portland. I do feel like the obligatory LeBron vs. the Warriors is missing though. Lol at Marcus Smart vs. Joel Embiid. Gimme Embiid in that fight every time.
Whitney: I’m glad we don’t have LeBron vs the Monstars right away. Let this man ease into the West in some bit of peace.
Kristian: NO PEACE
Matt: What are y’all thinking about the Christmas Day schedule though...
[NOTE: The NBA’s Christmas Day schedule is as follows: Bucks at Knicks (12 noon), Thunder at Rockets (3 p.m.), Celtics at 76ers (5 p.m.), Lakers at Warriors (8 p.m.), and Trail Blazers at Jazz(10:30 p.m.)]
Kristian: Knicks about to get washed at the Garden when Giannis comes through and goes for 50. And was Trail Blazers-Jazz the best we could do? That’s not a game I’m staying up to 1:30 a.m. for.
Whitney: I was thinking that maybe the Christmas Day schedule should be cut down to three really great games.
Matt: Ok Whitney go on because I think I’m here for this. The first and last games on Christmas are looking like ones I’m actually gonna have to talk to my family during.
Kristian: Yeah, I hate the noon game so much. I’m usually guzzling henggnog by then.
Whitney: Yep exactly. It feels forced at this point to watch Bucks-Knicks and Blazers-Jazz
Matt: It’s Christmas, a day we are supposed to enjoy with the ones we care about. Show me Joel Embiid talking trash or LeBron dunking or KD and Russ beefing or show me nothing at all.
Kristian: Part of it is tradition though, and there’s nothing like Christmas Day at the Garden. Maybe if the Knicks were better, we wouldn’t be so upset about that game at noon. And Blazers-Jazz could be a really good game, too, just not the headliner we want. If there were 5 really good games instead of 3 good and 2 ‘eh’ games, maybe it’s not so bad.
Matt: I think it’s a crime we aren’t getting Raptors/Spurs in San Antonio, personally. Kawhi Leonard was the storyline of the summer and I feel like he’s getting off way too easy.
Whitney: That would have been a great game during any of these big weekends. We deserved that.
Kristian: Yeah, I would have liked to see LeBron back in Cleveland on another one of those weekends, too. Imagine a tomato just flying from the stands while he does his baby powder thing? That would be comedy. Cavs media is already front-runner for the petty wars award.
Matt: All in all we’re getting good basketball still on opening weekend and on Christmas Day. But the league missed in a few ways, and in a season where uh... we probably already know the winner... it’s important to get the regular season as perfect as possible.
Kristian: Nah, put me in charge of NBA scheduling. 82 games of Knicks vs. Nets.