It’s Christmas in August for NBA fans.
The league announced its opening night and Christmas Day schedule, and it’s quite the gift.
The five Christmas Day matchups are equally intriguing, with Kevin Durant and the Nets taking on his old friend Russell Westbrook and the Lakers in the main event with four more star-studded matchups throughout the day.
Here is the schedule for both days in full:
NBA opening night schedule
Brooklyn Nets vs. Milwaukee Bucks: Tuesday, Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m. ET, TNT
Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Tuesday, Oct. 19, 10 p.m. ET, TNT
NBA Christmas Day schedule
Atlanta Hawks vs. New York Knicks: Saturday, Dec. 25, 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks: Saturday, Dec. 25, 2:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Golden State Warriors vs. Phoenix Suns: Saturday, Dec. 25, 5 p.m. ET, ABC
Brooklyn Nets vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Saturday, Dec. 25, 8 p.m. ET, ABC, ESPN
Dallas Mavericks vs. Utah Jazz: Saturday, Dec. 25, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
On top of that, the league also announced the rest of its national TV schedule for the opening week of the season
The NBA is kicking off its 75th season in style with the two opening night matchups.
It all begins when Giannis Antetokounmpo and the 2021 NBA champion Bucks tip-off the 2021-22 season at home against the Nets. Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday will be coming off their gold medal performances with Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics as the Greek Freak looks to continue his ascension among the game’s greats. Durant nearly took down the Bucks in the second round of the playoffs last season without Kyrie Irving and James Harden by his side, coming a few shoe sizes away from eliminating the eventual champs in a Game 7 in Brooklyn.
Warriors-Lakers is also a rematch from last season. LeBron James and Co. eked past Steph Curry’s Dubs in the Play-In Tournament, with James nailing a clutch 3-pointer in the final minute. The Warriors will look to climb back up to contender status in the Western Conference with Klay Thompson in line to play for the first time in two seasons, though he will not be ready for the season opener. The Lakers, on the other hand, shook up their roster with the acquisition of Westbrook, who will be making his home debut on opening night.
The action gets even more intriguing on Christmas Day with five matchups featuring 2021 playoff teams.
Hawks-Knicks is a rematch of a dominant first-round playoff series for Trae Young and Co. The Atlanta point guard led the way in a gentleman’s sweep, sending the Knicks packing in a Game 5 win at Madison Square Garden. Atlanta went on to upset the Philadelphia Sixers in the second round before falling to the Bucks in a six-game Eastern Conference finals series. The Knicks come into the 2021-22 season with some added reinforcements around Julius Randle. Bronx native Kemba Walker and former Boston Celtics teammate Evan Fournier are in the fold as New York attempts to build on a surprising 41-31 season.
The Celtics will head to Milwaukee for a Christmas contest against the defending champs. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and new head coach Ime Udoka will have their hands full against Antetokounmpo and the Bucks, but Boston won two of the three regular season matchups between the two sides last season. The two teams also have recent playoff history. The Celtics emerged victorious in a seven-game first-round series in 2018 before the Bucks got their revenge with a five-game series victory over the C’s in the 2019 second round.
The third game of the day will be a battle of the backcourts. Curry and Thompson will lead the Warriors into Phoenix to take on Chris Paul, Devin Booker and the defending Western Conference champion Suns. Phoenix was one of the surprise teams of the NBA season, going from a non-playoff team to NBA finalists. The Warriors are hoping to make a similar jump and will have a chance to prove themselves on Christmas.
At 8 p.m. ET, fans get to enjoy a battle between the top two 2022 NBA Finals favorites. Brooklyn has +225 odds to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy, according to our partner, PointsBet, while the Lakers’ odds are at +300. Each team will have a star trio on display. The Nets enter Year 2 with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden together, while the Lakers added Westbrook alongside James and Anthony Davis.
The day concludes with Mavericks-Jazz, which pins a pair of teams that were eliminated by the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2021 NBA playoffs, as well as a pair of standout Olympians. Luka Doncic is coming off a stellar performance with Slovenia in Tokyo, reaching the bronze medal game in the country’s first Olympic men’s basketball appearance. Rudy Gobert’s France team held on to beat Slovenia in the final seconds of their semifinal matchup before ultimately earning a silver medal. Now, both players will look to help their NBA teams contend in a loaded Western Conference.
Editor’s note: All odds are provided by our partner, PointsBet. PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.