NBA unveils marquee Opening Night, Christmas matchups

The champion Milwaukee Bucks host the Nets on Oct. 19.

Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez (11) blocks a shot by Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) in overtime during game seven in the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs Saturday, June 19, 2021, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Wendell Cruz / USA TODAY Sports

The NBA is planning a Christmas feast for fans.

The Christmas Day schedule will feature a showdown between the star-studded Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers.

Following a shortened offseason, the 2021-2022 regular season is scheduled to begin Oct. 19 with two games, also showcasing the Nets and Lakers. The champion Milwaukee Bucks host the Nets and the Lakers will be visited by Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors in a TNT doubleheader.

Other games on the Dec. 25 slate include the Atlanta Hawks meeting the Knicks at Madison Square Garden in a rematch of the Hawks' first-round, five-game playoff series win, as well as Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks meeting Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City.

The full schedule for the 82-game season will be released Aug. 20.


The first four days of the season will feature eight national television games and 12 different teams.

A matchup between the Nets and Lakers is a chance for fans to decide who has the better "big three" as the game — if all are healthy — would showcase Brooklyn's Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving against the Los Angeles trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the newly acquired Russell Westbrook.

DraftKings lists the Nets (+210) and Lakers (+380) as big favorites to win the 2021-22 NBA title. BetMGM concurs, with the Nets posted at +240 and the Lakers at +400.

The 2022 NBA All-Star Game will take place on Sun., Feb. 20, in Cleveland and air on TNT. The regular season is scheduled to end April 10.

Following the April 12-15 play-in tournament, the NBA playoffs are scheduled to open April 16.

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