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Sports: 12 games on the NBA schedule this season that are must-see for all fans

The 2017-18 NBA season begins on Tuesday, and there are plenty of games to look forward to.

The 2016-17 playoffs were marked by the dominance of the Golden State Warriors in the West and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East, but things may be different this season. A strange offseason for Cleveland could lead to a changing of the guard in the conference, while several teams looking to challenge the Warriors in the West made aggressive deals to strike this year.

With so many familiar faces on the move this offseason — as well as some of the league’s most polarizing stars staying in place — there will be plenty to watch once the season gets underway on October 17.

Below, check out 12 matchups that any NBA fan can get excited about.

Oct. 17: Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors


Oct. 17: Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriorsplay

Oct. 17: Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors

(Bob Levey/Getty)

Time: 10:30 p.m.

Where to watch: TNT

Why it matters: These could be the top two teams in the West, and what’s more, they’re set to square off on the first day of the regular season. Golden State is returning much of its title-winning squad from last year, but don’t be surprised if James Harden and newly-acquired point guard Chris Paul keep the Rockets in contention to the very end.

Oct. 19: Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers


Oct. 19: Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakersplay

Oct. 19: Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers

(Harry How/Getty)

Time: 10:30 p.m.

Where to watch: TNT

Why it matters: This game will serve as an early referendum on the status of these crosstown rivals. With new additions like Lonzo Ball and Brook Lopez and enigmatic holdovers like Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle, the Lakers might be one of the most fascinating teams in the league. The Clippers, for their part, added Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Danilo Gallinari, and Milos Teodosic to their roster, giving them a significantly different look.

Oct. 20: Cleveland Cavaliers at Milwaukee Bucks


Oct. 20: Cleveland Cavaliers at Milwaukee Bucksplay

Oct. 20: Cleveland Cavaliers at Milwaukee Bucks

(Jason Miller/Getty)

Time: 7 p.m.

Where to watch: ESPN

Why it matters: This contest will feature a battle of present versus future when All-Stars LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo enter the game for their respective sides. Both are freakishly talented athletes who can affect the game from anywhere on the floor. While Antetokounmpo is the one expected to take a big step forward this year, it will be interesting to see what James can do in his age-33 season.

Oct. 20: Utah Jazz at Minnesota Timberwolves


Oct. 20: Utah Jazz at Minnesota Timberwolvesplay

Oct. 20: Utah Jazz at Minnesota Timberwolves

(Matthew Stockman/Getty)

Time: 8 p.m.

Where to watch: NBA League Pass or local channels

Why it matters: The Timberwolves will have a new look this season, and it’s not just because of the redesigned uniforms. With All-Stars like Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague joining an exciting young core that features Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, it will be fascinating to see what Minnesota can do in its first home game. The contest will also provide an early look at something we haven’t seen in years: a Jazz team without Gordon Hayward.

Nov. 2: Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs


Nov. 2: Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spursplay

Nov. 2: Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs

(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty)

Time: 8 p.m.

Where to watch: TNT

Why it matters: After dropping four consecutive games to Golden State in this year’s Western Conference Finals, the Spurs will be hungry for redemption come November. They’ll almost certainly be the underdogs, but with Kawhi Leonard leading the way, this is one team with enough talent to potentially unseat Golden State.

Nov. 15: Philadelphia 76ers at Los Angeles Lakers


Nov. 15: Philadelphia 76ers at Los Angeles Lakersplay

Nov. 15: Philadelphia 76ers at Los Angeles Lakers

(Ethan Miller/Getty)

Time: 10:30 p.m.

Where to watch: ESPN

Why it matters: This game will feature a matchup between the top two picks in this year’s NBA draft: Markelle Fultz of Philadelphia and Lonzo Ball of Los Angeles. Both flashed significant potential in summer league action, but this contest should provide a clear comparison between the heavily hyped guards. The 76ers are expected to be dark horse playoff contenders in the East, while the Lakers also appear headed in the right direction.

Dec. 13: Oklahoma City Thunder at Indiana Pacers


Dec. 13: Oklahoma City Thunder at Indiana Pacersplay

Dec. 13: Oklahoma City Thunder at Indiana Pacers

(Gregory Shamus/Getty)

Time: 7 p.m.

Where to watch: ESPN

Why it matters: The Thunder will probably win this one, but don’t tune in for the competition — tune in for Paul George’s Indiana homecoming. The All-Star wing led the Pacers to a pair of deep playoff runs early in his career, but an offseason blockbuster sent him south to the Sooner State to team up with reigning league MVP Russell Westbrook. New Pacers guard Victor Oladipo, part of the trade for George, will also get a crack at his former team.

Dec. 15: Utah Jazz at Boston Celtics


Dec. 15: Utah Jazz at Boston Celticsplay

Dec. 15: Utah Jazz at Boston Celtics

(Sean M. Haffey/Getty)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Where to watch: NBA League Pass or local channels

Why it matters: The Jazz will travel across the country to square off with Boston’s Gordon Hayward, the former face of their franchise. Playing in Salt Lake City would make the battle all the more compelling, but the Celtics don’t visit Utah until March 28 — fury over the All-Star wing’s departure should be much less intense by that point. But emotions will certainly run high during the December game, even if it’s played in TD Arena.

Dec. 15: San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets


Dec. 15: San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rocketsplay

Dec. 15: San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets

(Ronald Martinez/Getty)

Time: 9:30 p.m.

Where to watch: ESPN

Why it matters: If anyone’s going to seriously challenge the Warriors for supremacy in the Western Conference, there’s a good chance it’ll be one of these two teams. The second and third seeds in last year’s postseason will renew their Lone Star State rivalry in Houston, and there will be plenty of star power to go around.

Dec. 16: Oklahoma City Thunder at New York Knicks


Dec. 16: Oklahoma City Thunder at New York Knicksplay

Dec. 16: Oklahoma City Thunder at New York Knicks

(J. Pat Carter/Getty)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Where to watch: NBA League Pass or local channels

Why it matters: After spending much of the summer asking to be dealt, Carmelo Anthony saved the Knicks from an incredibly awkward start to the season by agreeing to waive his no-trade clause for Oklahoma City. The veteran forward led New York to their only postseason series win in this century, but he was also a part of some truly terrible teams, so Anthony’s NYC homecoming should be a bittersweet one. He and his new star teammates, Russell Westbrook and Paul George, should put on a show against the porous Knicks defense.

Dec. 25: Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors


Dec. 25: Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriorsplay

Dec. 25: Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors

(Kyle Terada/Getty)

Time: 3 p.m.

Where to watch: ABC

Why it matters: This isn’t the only Christmas Day game on the schedule, but it is the most compelling. After memorable Finals battles in 2015 and 2016, the Warriors zoomed past the Cavaliers this past spring, trouncing them 4-1. As with all their games, Golden State will be favored, but don’t underestimate Cleveland’s desire to pull out a statement win.

Jan. 3: Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics


Jan. 3: Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celticsplay

Jan. 3: Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics

(Elsa/Getty)

Time: 8 p.m.

Where to watch: ESPN

Why it matters: This game is a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals, and it could be the matchup for next year’s too. We’ll also get to watch Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas guard each other — in case you forgot, the two star point guards were traded for each other in one of the stories of the summer. While the Cavaliers and Celtics will also face off on the first day of the season, it’ll be a much fairer contest once Irving and Hayward find their footing with their new team.

Now check out who will make the most money this season.


Now check out which NBA players are making the most this season.play

Now check out which NBA players are making the most this season.

(AP)

The 27 highest-paid players in the NBA for the 2017-18 season

Pulse.com.gh

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