The NBA today released its complete game schedule and broadcast schedules for TNT, ESPN, ABC, NBA TV and ESPN Radio for the 2016-17 regular season, which features an opening night with the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers hosting the New York Knicks. The league’s 71st season tips off Tuesday, October 25, 2016 and concludes Wednesday, April 12, 2017.
For the second season in a row, teams will play fewer stretches of four games in five nights and back-to- back games than ever before. Four-in-fives have been cut to 0.7 per team (20 total), a 71 percent reduction from 2.3 per team (70 total) in 2014-15 and a 26 percent reduction from 0.9 per team (27 total) last season. Back-to-backs have been cut to 16.3 per team, a 16 percent reduction from 19.3 per team in 2014-15 and an 8 percent reduction from 17.8 per team last season.
Kia NBA Tip-Off 2016
Kia NBA Tip-Off 2016 includes 14 teams playing eight national television games in the first four days of the season. The 2016-17 season begins October 25 with a TNT doubleheader, marking the 21st straight year the network has started with two games on opening night.
TNT’s first game Tuesday features four-time Kia NBA MVP LeBron James and the Cavaliers receiving their championship rings in a nationally televised ceremony before taking on the Knicks, who acquired former Kia NBA MVP Derrick Rose in the offseason and hired Jeff Hornacek as head coach (8 p.m. ET). In the second game, two-time reigning Kia NBA MVP Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors, who finished a league-record 73-9 last season, face two-time reigning Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs (franchise-record 67-15 last season) in Oakland, Calif., as four-time scoring champion Kevin Durant makes his Warriors debut (10:30 p.m. ET).
ESPN launches its 15th consecutive year of NBA coverage with two doubleheaders during opening week. On Wednesday, October 26, the top pick of NBA Draft 2016 presented by State Farm, Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers, makes his debut as the Sixers meet 2015-16 All- NBA First Team selection Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder in Philadelphia (8 p.m. ET). In the second game, the No. 2 pick of NBA Draft 2016, Brandon Ingram, and new head coach Luke Walton lead the Los Angeles Lakers against four-time All-Star James Harden, new head coach Mike D’Antoni and the Houston Rockets in L.A. (10:30 p.m. ET).
Kia NBA Tip-Off 2016 continues Thursday, Oct. 27 with a TNT doubleheader. Newly acquired 12-time All-Star Dwyane Wade and the Chicago Bulls host recently signed four-time All-Star Al Horford and the Boston Celtics (8 p.m. ET), and nine-time All-Star Chris Paul and the LA Clippers visit two-time All-Star Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers (10:30 p.m. ET).
ESPN’s second opening week doubleheader takes place Friday, Oct. 28 and begins with Cleveland visiting two-time All-Stars DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry and the Toronto Raptors in a rematch of the 2016 Eastern Conference Finals (7 p.m. ET). The second game features three-time All-Star Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans hosting the Warriors (9:30 p.m. ET).
NBA TV starts its 18th year of NBA coverage with four games during opening week. The network’s live game coverage tips off with a doubleheader Saturday, Oct. 29, when the Pelicans visit the Spurs (8 p.m. ET) before two-time All-Star DeMarcus Cousins goes head-to- head against 2015-16 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year Karl-Anthony Towns as the Sacramento Kings welcome the Minnesota Timberwolves to the new Golden 1 Center (10:30 p.m. ET). On Sunday, Oct. 30, three-time All-Star John Wall and the Washington Wizards visit the Memphis Grizzlies, who have made the playoffs six consecutive seasons (7 p.m. ET). NBA TV’s opening week of games concludes Monday, Oct. 31 with the Raptors hosting the Denver Nuggets, whose young nucleus includes 2015-16 NBA All-Rookie Team selections Nikola Jokic and Emmanuel Mudiay (7:30 p.m. ET).
The NBA’s five-game showcase on Christmas Day (Sunday, December 25) is headlined by a Finals 2016 rematch between the Cavaliers and Warriors in Cleveland at 2:30 p.m. ET on ABC. That game is followed on ABC by the Spurs facing the Bulls in San Antonio at 5 p.m. ET. Christmas Day action begins at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN with Boston visiting New York. In the network’s other two Dec. 25 games, the Thunder and Timberwolves matchup in Oklahoma City (8 p.m. ET), and the Clippers and Lakers meet at Staples Center (10:30 p.m. ET).
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Four nationally televised games are part of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 16. TNT’s doubleheader opens with Cleveland facing Golden State in the Cavaliers’ first game at Oracle Arena since completing a historic comeback in Game 7 of The Finals 2016 (8 p.m. ET). The late game pits the Thunder against the Clippers in Los Angeles (10:30 p.m. ET).
NBA TV also presents a doubleheader, one of 32 for the network this season. The opener features newly signed eight-time All-Star Dwight Howard leading the Atlanta Hawks against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden (1 p.m. ET), and the second game showcases the Pelicans visiting three-time All-Star Paul George and the Indiana Pacers (4 p.m. ET).
TNT Debuts Regular Monday Telecasts
In a new feature as part of Turner Sports’ 33 rd year of NBA coverage, TNT presents 10 Monday doubleheaders. The series begins on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC Returns
The 2016-17 schedule also includes the return of NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC, the second season for the series. Nine of the network’s 18 regular-season broadcasts are set for Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET. The first installment comes Jan. 21, when San Antonio visits Cleveland.
More Highly Anticipated Matchups
- NBA TV Fan Night (Tuesday, Nov. 1): Fan Night’s season debut is a doubleheader – Rockets at Cavaliers (7 p.m. ET) and Warriors at Trail Blazers (10 p.m. ET).
- Knicks at Bulls (Friday, Nov. 4, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN): Rose, the 2010-11 Kia NBA MVP with the Bulls, returns to Chicago as a member of the Knicks.
- Bulls at Miami Heat (Thursday, Nov. 10, 8 p.m. ET, TNT): Wade, Miami’s all-time leader in scoring, assists and steals, faces his former team for the first time.
- Lakers at 76ers (Friday, Dec. 16, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN): Simmons and the 76ers host Ingram and the Lakers in a matchup between the top two picks in NBA Draft 2016 presented by State Farm.
- NBA Global Games (Jan. 12 and 14): Thursday, Jan. 12 includes NBA Global Games London 2017, a matchup between the Pacers and Nuggets (3 p.m. ET, NBA TV), and NBA Global Games Mexico City 2017, a contest between 2015-16 NBA All-Rookie First Team selection Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns and 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks. The Suns also play the Spurs in Mexico City on Saturday, Jan. 14, marking the first consecutive regular-season games in Mexico.
- Warriors at Thunder (Saturday, Feb. 11, 8:30 p.m. ET, ABC): Durant, the 2013-14 Kia NBA MVP with the Thunder, makes his first regular-season visit to Oklahoma City.
- Timberwolves at Trail Blazers (Thursday, April 6, 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT): Three of the last four Kia NBA Rookie of the Year winners – Portland’s Lillard (2012-13) and Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins (2014-15) and Towns (2015-16) – headline the matchup.
Additional 2016-17 Schedule Highlights
TNT will televise 20 Thursday doubleheaders. The network will also air NBA All-Star 2017 festivities from Feb. 17-19, culminating with the NBA’s 66 th All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 19. ESPN’s schedule includes 41 games on Wednesdays and 29 on Fridays. The network’s telecasts will be available via WatchESPN. ESPN Deportes (ESPN’s Spanish-language U.S. sports network) will also televise a full slate of regular-season games.
The NBA on TNT, ESPN, ABC and NBA TV will present flexible scheduling throughout the regular season in order to provide the most compelling matchups to a national audience.
ESPN Radio will air 28 games throughout the season, including Cavaliers-Knicks on opening night as well as Cavaliers-Warriors and Spurs-Bulls on Christmas Day. It will also air events from NBA All-Star 2017 and broadcast The Finals 2017.
For the 15th straight season, ABC will exclusively broadcast The Finals, which tips off in June 2017. TNT is the exclusive home of the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals, and ESPN will exclusively televise the 2017 Western Conference Finals.
Once again, NBA LEAGUE PASS will offer up to 40 live, out-of- market games each week through television, broadband and mobile for fans who want to watch their favorite teams, players and matchups from outside their local markets (blackout restrictions apply). Games included in NBA LEAGUE PASS will be in addition to those available on TNT, ESPN, ABC and NBA TV as well as local networks (such as a regional sports network and/or over-the- air station). For more information about NBA LEAGUE PASS options, visit www.nba.com/leaguepass/.
NBA.com and the NBA App will provide day-by- day and team-by- team schedules as well as regular-season telecast schedules of the league’s domestic broadcast partners – TNT, ESPN, ABC, NBA TV and ESPN Radio. Last season, NBA programming and games were seen in 215 countries and territories in 49 languages.