On yesterday the Association gave us Christmas in August by way of releasing the full schedule for the upcoming 2017-2018 regular season. Now we can finally put something behind these predictions we’re all bandying about. But also, we can all salivate over all of these sexy sexy matchups.
While you can argue that the best matchups can be defined as Golden State or Cleveland vs. either each other or the next top two teams in their respective conference (if that) I personally believe that context is important here. Sometimes a clash between two emerging teams can be the more interesting viewing option.
So taking that into account my top 10 anticpated games may be different from those you may see elsewhere. But that doesn’t mean you should love them any less. I sure don’t.
10/17 Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers TNT
Boston has arguably done the best job of anyone in the league to strengthen their chances at contending for a title. But it’s safe to assume (at least for now) that the East still runs through Cleveland as it has for the past three seasons. So what better way to show off your shiny new toys in Gordon Hayward and Jayson Tatum than going up against the reigning conference champs on Opening Night?
11/8 Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Golden State Warriors ESPN
Due to a series of savvy moves coupled with the anticipated emergence of a very exciting young core the T’Wolves project to be the most improved team in the league. Thus leading to plenty of speculation about how much of an impression they will make in the wild wild west. Easiest way to gauge that is to see how you fair against the sheriff and World Champs Golden State Warriors. However, don’t weep for the Wolves as their opening to the season has them facing Oklahoma City twice along with San Antonio and Utah before facing the Dubs so they should be ready.
11/22 Los Angeles Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings ESPN
Given the league’s reputation for smart scheduling especially when it comes to showcasing highly touted rookies I was sort of surprised to see that we will have to wait until we are over a month into the season to get this meeting. Especially once you consider that they are division rivals. But you better believe that there will be fireworks when the Lakers’ Lonzo Ball faces off with the Kings’ De’Aaron Fox.
12/21 San Antonio Spurs vs. Utah Jazz TNT
Okay this one is a personal favorite for me. Despite losing their franchise player in Gordon Hayward over the off-season the Jazz made moves that may make them the most fearsome defense in the league. San Antonio ain’t too shabby in that department themselves. We may be in for a good ol knock down drag out 71-69 final score fight. And I couldn’t be happier.
12/25 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors ESPN
Finals rematch on Christmas Day? What a coincidence!!! Admittedly we put a lot into Xmas games. It’s still early in the season, the games don’t really tell you much about the teams and honestly half of the slate usually suck. But we watch for pairings like this and those sweet ace unis. And as much as Cleveland plays fast and loose during the regular season something tells me they’ll be locked in here. That’s great because they’ll need to be.
1/15 Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Clippers ABC
Ooh, return game! CP3 returns to LA here. Honestly, there is a sneaking suspicion that this one may not be much of a game but I really think the Clips will be too salty to go down easy here.
3/12 San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets ESPN
On it’s face this would appear to be another matchup between two very good teams. And while it most definitely fits that criteria I think this will give us the best indication if the Spurs are really ready for the long and arduous journey through West playoffs. They will see the Rockets at the end of a three game in four day road trip that includes the Warriors and Thunder before rolling into H-Tine.
4/3 Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks LP
Boston is more or less a lock to be near the top of the East while there is more debate around how the Bucks’ place in the conference landscape. When these two meet a little over a week left in the regular season Boston will have worked out any kinks with their new additions and Jabari Parker will be back for the Bucks and presumably geared up for a post season run. This will be a fascinating preview of what to expect in the East playoffs where thrills are traditionally hard to come by.
4/7 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets ABC
This one is gonna be nasty y’all. More than likely we’ll have two MVP frontrunners here not to mention that both of these teams should be relatively close to each other in the standings. Plus add that Russy may or may not be trying to get some revenge for the Thunder’s playoff ousting by the hand did the Rockets last year. But this time around he’ll have a little help by way of Paul George.
4/11 Milwaukee Bucks vs. Philadelphia 76ers ESPN
There will be quite a few teams fighting for the last playoff spot on closing night as always. But the one we’re probably most interested in seeing sneak their way into the postseason are the FEDS. A healthy Philly team should be working striking distance of a spot in the playoffs. But if it comes down to the final game (as it very well may) they’ll have to go through another young and exuberant team in the Milwaukee Bucks. No one said breaking into the big time would be easy.