On Friday, the NBA released its full regular-season schedule.
In an attempt to improve their overall product, the Association made a few universal changes to take note of.
Per Ian Begley of ESPN, the total number of back-to-back games is an all-time low for the fourth-straight year. Teams will now average 13.3 back-to-backs which is down 31 percent since the 2014-2015 season.
Also, like last season, no team will play four games in five nights, thus completely eliminating the idea of that demanding proposition. Further, no team will play eight games in 12 days, either.
As a whole, those rules will most likely prevent teams from resting players and will also allow clubs and players to deal with the ins and outs of an arduous 82-game regular season in a more effective way.
There are a number of mouth-watering matchups that are slated to take place during the regular season, some of which have juicy revenge narratives associated with them.
In arguably the most-anticipated matchup of the season, Kawhi Leonard will return to San Antonio to take on the Spurs for the first time since forcing his way out on January 3. On the other side, DeMar DeRozan (who was traded for Leonard) will return to Toronto to take on the Raptors on February 22. He was blindsided by the trade and publicly expressed his anger and betrayal towards the organization after he was sent away.
Therefore, those two games will be especially emotional.
LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers will play 31 nationally-televised games and they will take on the Boston Celtics for the first time on February 7 in Boston. The C’s will then travel to LA to take on their historic rivals on March 9.
Paul George, who was rumored to be a Lakers free-agent target this summer, will help lead his Oklahoma City Thunder in his hometown LA on January 2.
Kevin Durant and the Warriors will travel to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder on March 16. Although it will be KD’s third season away from OKC, some fireworks will most likely still take place between him and Russell Westbrook, who have been involved in fiery on-court altercations in their previous meetings.
The Houston Rockets will look to get revenge on the Golden State Warriors on November 15 after the back-to-back champs eliminated them in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals last season. That should be one of the best early games of the year.
There are a number of other intriguing matchups that will take place throughout the season, but those jump out as the most revenge-filled and dramatic of the bunch.