During the evening on Tuesday, the 2013-14 NBA schedule was released, and NBA fans scampered the interwebs to see whether or not their team landed a Christmas Day gig, how many times their team will appear on national television or when old heroes turned villains – due to free agency or offseason trades – are going to be making their return to their old stomping grounds. While our very own Trevor Magnotti will be breaking down the 10 most anticipated Wine and Gold games this upcoming season and under the radar matchups around the NBA in 2013-14, I will be providing a list of must-watch, mark-your-calendar games for the upcoming year. This list will include Heated Rivalries, Anticipated Returns, Championship Rematches, Christmas Day Games and even an International Broadcast. Enjoy.
Although the last two postseasons produced a heated rivalry between the reigning Central Division champions and the back-to-back title victors, we’ll be including those games in the Championship Rematches section. However, with the return of Derrick Rose, a favorite Central Division-Miami Heat matchup will be revived in 2013-14. Also, with a sort of changing of the guards (i.e. the stripped downed Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers) due to injuries and blockbuster offseason moves, regular rivalries won’t be as intensified this year, resulting in their absence from this list.
Chicago Bulls at Miami Heat – October 29 at 8 p.m.
This game will officially tipoff the 2013-14 NBA season, and what a way for Rose to return to the hardwood and competitive basketball. The defending champions will begin on their road to a three-peat, with their most worthy adversary during the 2011 playoffs in the Eastern Conference as the first challenge. With the back-and-forth video shots that Rose and LeBron sent to each other, this is sure to be an interesting matchup to watch all season long, and, hopefully for us NBA fans, during the 2014 playoffs.
Other 2013-14 matchups: December 5 at 9:30 p.m. (in Chicago), February 23 at 3:30 p.m. (in Miami) and March 9 at 1 p.m. (in Chicago)
Miami Heat at Oklahoma City Thunder – February 20 at 8 p.m.
Most people had this locked in as the 2013 NBA Finals series before Russell Westbrook went down in last season’s postseason, and even before the 2012-13 campaign season was underway. But whenever the two best scorers in the league go head to head, there is bound to be a lot of animosity, especially since Durant is hungry to get the championship monkey off his back. I’m not saying that if KD doesn’t carry his team to the promised land soon that it is going to be time to hit the panic button, but knowing Durant’s character, he is putting that pressure on himself
Other 2013-14 matchups: January 29 at 7 p.m. (in Miami)
The new-look New York rivalry that started last season with the Nets moving to Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the first season lived up, and even surpassed at times, to the expectations of how the new co-sheriff in town would fare against their Atlantic Division rivals. These teams split the regular season series 2-2 last year, but things have changed drastically since then (more so on the side of the Nets). The Knicks, who owned the second best record in the East last season, are most likely going to see the tides change with the addition of veteran talent on the Nets, but this New York rivalry is getting a much needed reboot once again.
Other 2013-14 matchups: January 20 at 2:30 p.m. (in New York), April 2 at 7 p.m. (in New York) and April 15 at 8 p.m. (in Brooklyn)
With a plethora of offseason moves that saw superstars change jerseys – most notably a long-time fan favorite in Paul Pierce – there are bound to be some awkward and nostalgic moments for fans this upcoming NBA campaign. This is especially true for fans of the Boston Celtics, as they saw three of their most important pieces to their recent championship runs shipped out West and to their rivals nearby.
Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics – January 26 at 6:30 p.m.
When the Celtics agreed with the Nets to send Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry and D.J. White in exchange for Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph and three future first-round draft picks (with an option to switch picks in 2017), they officially began their descent into rebuilding mode. I say descent because I don’t think this Celtics team will be anything special next season. This is going to be a great moment of the 2013-14 season, however, as both Pierce and Garnett will receive an extremely warm welcome from fans. Pierce is the most respected player to don the Green and White of the 21st century, so it will be a wondrous event indeed.
Other 2013-14 matchups: December 10 at 7:30 p.m. (in Brooklyn), March 7 at 7:30 p.m. (in Boston) and March 21 at 7:30 p.m. (in Brooklyn)
Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Lakers – February 19 at 10:30 p.m.
After ogling over championship trophies last season in Los Angeles, what came after was a disaster season for the Lakers. It was the final game of the regular season that saw the Rockets and the Lakers switch places for the eighth and seventh seeds respectively, but now the torn apart Lakers will be watching as the Rockets continue their climb up the Western Conference. After bringing a lot of drama in his bags to Tinsel town, Howard is finally ready to begin a new chapter of his own in Houston with the exciting trio of James Harden, Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons. His return to Los Angeles will be a low point of the season as far as receptions go.
Other 2013-14 matchups: November 7 at 9:30 p.m. (in Houston), January 8 at 9:30 p.m. (in Houston) and April 8 at 10:30 p.m. (in Los Angeles)
Los Angeles Clippers at Boston Celtics – December 11 at 7:30 p.m.
Even though he was a huge reason behind Boston’s championship run, the ending of Doc Rivers tenure as head coach didn’t bode so well for the current Clippers coach. His return, in my opinion, won’t go over as well as the greetings for Garnett and Pierce. The Celtics swapped a coach for a draft pick, which is a good move any day, but there is sure to be animosity in the TD Garden, as Rivers will make his return before both of the pivotal championship pieces return.
Other 2013-14 matchups: January 8 at 10:30 p.m. (in Los Angeles)
This list includes teams that appeared in the NBA Finals as well as the Eastern and Western Conference Finals (Heat, San Antonio Spurs, Pacers and Memphis Grizzlies). Below I will include the outcome of the respective series (and games), as well as the MVP and a full list of 2013-14 matchups.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. San Antonio Spurs – Western Conference Finals
Game 1 – Spurs 105, Grizzlies 83
Game 2 – Spurs 93, Grizzlies 89
Game 3 – Spurs 104, Grizzlies 93
Game 4 – Spurs 93, Grizzlies 86
MVP: Tony Parker
2013-14 Matchups: October 30 at 8:30 p.m. (in San Antonio), November 22 at 8 p.m. (in Memphis), January 7 at 8 p.m. (in Memphis) and April 6 at 7 p.m. (in San Antonio)
Indiana Pacers vs. Miami Heat – Eastern Conference Finals
Game 1 – Heat 103, Pacers 102
Game 2 – Pacers 97, Heat 93
Game 3 – Heat 114, Pacers 96
Game 4 – Pacers 99, Heat 92
Game 5 – Heat 90, Pacers 79
Game 6 – Pacers 91, Heat 77
Game 7 – Heat 99, Pacers 76
MVP: LeBron James
2013-14 Matchups: December 10 at 7 p.m. (in Indiana), December 18 at 7 p.m. (in Miami), March 26 at 8 p.m. (in Indiana) and April 11 at 7:30 p.m. (in Miami)
San Antonio Spurs vs. Miami Heat – NBA Finals
Game 1 – Spurs 92, Heat 88
Game 2 – Heat 103, Spurs 84
Game 3 – Spurs 113, Heat 77
Game 4 – Heat 109, Spurs 93
Game 5 – Spurs 114, Heat 104
Game 6 – Heat 103, Spurs 100
Game 7 – Heat 95, Spurs 88
MVP: LeBron James
2013-14 Matchups: January 26 at 1 p.m. (in Miami) and March 6 at 8 p.m. (in San Antonio)
Christmas Day Games
One of the biggest days in the lives of many has become one of the biggest days on the sports calendar. Christmas Day presents many gifts for NBA fans each and every year. With a consistent five-game rotation, eight of the 10 teams that played on Christmas Day in 2012 will again play in 2013 on the 25th. The two teams left out this year are the Denver Nuggets and the Boston Celtics to the surprise of no one. Without further adieu, here are the presents that the NBA has to give to fans who will be receiving lumps of coal in their stockings or rooting for the Philadelphia 76ers this season in order of when they will be aired on television.
Chicago Bulls at Brooklyn Nets – 12 p.m. on ESPN
Oklahoma City Thunder at New York Knicks – 2:30 p.m. on ABC
Miami Heat at Los Angeles Lakers – 5 p.m. on ABC
Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs – 8 p.m. on ESPN
Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors – 10:30 p.m. on ESPN
The Minnesota Timberwolves will be traveling globally for their third regular season game on international land in franchise history this season, playing in Mexico City for the first time at Mexico City Arena. The NBA has been promoting international play in preseason games due to the scope of the popularity of basketball worldwide, and with that international superstar Ricky Rubio will be able to show off his flashy skills outside of the United States and Canada during the regular season.
San Antonio Spurs at Minnesota Timberwolves – December 4 at 9:30 p.m.
The Timberwolves will sacrifice a home game to be a part of the NBA’s Global Game schedule, which includes 12 teams playing 10 regular season and preseason games in eight cities and six countries and territories. The reason for this is due to the ever-growing international presence on NBA rosters. With four (potential) international players on their roster currently, Minnesota is a good pick to host a game outside of their usual arena. The Spurs will be playing in Mexico City for the fifth time, as their distance to Mexico City Arena makes them a logical choice as well.
Did you enjoy this list of anticipated 2013-14 NBA games? Sound off in the comment section below to let us know which ones you would have thrown on this list.