Must-See Matchups in 2018-19 NBA Season

The National Basketball Association released their full 2018-19 game schedule Friday. Here are some matchups you want to mark on the calendar, in no particular order.

Key Matchups

Rockets vs Lakers

October 20, 8:30 PM ET, ESPN

The LA-Bron era begins as 2017-18 MVP James Harden and the Rockets had to LA for LeBron James’ Staples Center debut in the purple and gold.

Raptors vs Spurs

January 3, 8:00 PM ET, TNT

Kawhi Leonard will return to San Antonio in January for the first time since being traded to the Raptors this offseason. Many see the Raptors as a contender in the seemingly-weakened East, and the Spurs are widely counted out of the Western Conference Playoff race (but not by The Bench Sports writer Dylan Hoover).

Spurs vs Raptors

February 22, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN

Of course, DeMar DeRozan’s return to Toronto is one of the most anticipated player-return scenarios of this upcoming season. DeRozan was reportedly blindsided by being traded to San Antonio, and was very committed to staying in Toronto long-term.

Lakers vs Cavs

November 21, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN

The King makes his return to The Land just before Thanksgiving. Even though he left the Cavs for a second time, this exit seemed nowhere near as sour as the first, and I expect a tribute video, standing ovation, cheers when he scores, a key to the city, and lots of powder being thrown in the air before/during/after this matchup.

Warriors vs Rockets

November 15 (in Houston): 8:00 PM ET, TNT

January 3 (in Oakland): 10:30 PM ET, TNT

Februrary 23 (in Oakland): 8:30 PM ET, ABC

This rematch of last season’s Western Conference Finals thriller will not only happen three times this season before the playoffs, but should be even more exciting with DeMarcus Cousins signing with the Warriors this season and with Carmelo Anthony agreeing to sign with the Rockets.

Rockets vs Thunder

November 8, 8:00 PM ET, TV TBA

Carmelo Anthony makes his return to Oklahoma City in November after being traded to Atlanta, then bought out of his contract to sign with the Rockets.

Rockets vs Hawks

March 19, 7:30 PM ET, TV TBA

I expect some pretty funny stuff from the Hawks as Carmelo Anthony is in the house for the first time since being a Hawk for a hot second. The team even sent him his own Hawks jersey for his brief stint with the team.

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