NBA releases full 2014-15 schedule


Feb 5, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; A detail of an official NBA basketball with the signature of new NBA commissioner Adam Silver during the second quarter of a game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Atlanta Hawks at New Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The San Antonio Spurs reclaimed their place as NBA champions when they defeated the Miami Heat in five games in last year’s NBA finals. That was the last time we saw competitive basketball played in NBA arenas.

Basketball aficionados, mark your calendars for Tuesday, October 28—that’s when the 2014-15 season will tip off.
As every NBA season does, this year will also feature a litany of changes from last year. The saddest one is definitely that Paul George will not be taking the court this year after a horrific injury to his right leg in the USA Basketball Showcase in Las Vegas.

The most notable one, of course, on the other side is…Darren Collison signing for five years with the Sacramento Kings…

Voice behind me: “Don’t forget about that LeBron guy!”

Ahh, yes…that LeBron James character. He did indeed re-up with the Cleveland Cavaliers for two years, with intentions of signing long-term after the NBA (hopefully) settles its labor issues in a couple of years. It appears as if Kevin Love will be joining him by way of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Ray Allen is also rumoured to join him by way of his former team, the Miami Heat.

In addition, Chandler Parsons is now with the Mavericks, Pau Gasol is in Chicago with the Bulls, Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer are now both Lakers, and the Houston Rockets were still unsuccessful in signing Chris Bosh. Oh, and Steve Kerr is the Golden State Warriors new head coach as is Jason Kidd with the Milwaukee Bucks.

And, yeah, it’s the first full NBA season under new commissioner Adam Silver. The league even announced that its official game basketballs this year will feature the league’s Twitter handle @NBA.

The Spurs were the last team standing in 2013-14, and they will be one of the first teams to suit up and take the court this coming season. They will face their in-state rival Mavericks at 8:00 pm on TNT at the AT&T Center. Even though San Antonio won the title last season, Dallas took the eventual champs to a Game 7 in the first round of the playoffs as an eight seed.

They played more like an eighth seed in the NCAA tournament than one in the NBA playoffs.

The Spurs are once again returning most of their team that won a championship from last season, including Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, who is developing into a rising young star.

The following day—October 29th, the Milwaukee Bucks will head to Charlotte to play the Hornets at the Time Warner Cable Arena in what will be the first game for Buzz City since Hugo flew from the Queen City to New Orleans after the 2002 season. Oh yeah, and didn’t they also sign Lance Stephenson away from the Pacers?

Also, that same day, Paul Pierce will make his debut with the Washington Wizards when they travel to the American Airlines Arena in Miami. Of course, this will be a Heat team that will be without LeBron James, but still with Bosh and Dwyane Wade.

Minnesota (with Andrew Wiggins all but signed, sealed, and delivered to the Land of 10,000 Lakes) will open the season against the Memphis Grizzlies on the road.

ESPN decided to feature this next one for a reason—some guy by the name of Rose. The Bulls will play the Knicks (and Carmelo Anthony) in Madison Square Garden in what (should) be Derrick Rose’s return to the league. He appeared to be beyond healthy when playing in Las Vegas but that was overshadowed by what happened to Paul George. The Oklahoma City Thunder will play the Portland Trail Blazers in the nightcap on the four-letter network.

October 30th will likely be an emotional day for the Los Angeles Clippers as they will be taking the court for the first time under the new ownership when they play the Thunder. The sale to former Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer is no longer “Developing! Developing! Developing!” it closed. Doc Rivers and the rest of the team will likely now remain as well. And it’s a team with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Jamal Crawford, and company that has practically unseated that other LA team as the real tenants of the Staples Center.

The next day is Halloween—so it’s only fitting that ESPN feature the East’s two scariest teams in the Cavaliers and Bulls. With everything these two teams have done (LeBron, Gasol, LeBron, Gasol, Love, LeBron, Love, Gasol, etc.) we might as well simply fast forward to the Eastern Conference Finals between these two teams.

Thursday November 4th will see the first of two meetings between the Hornets and New Orleans Pelicans, the team that originally had the Hornets name. That one will be at the Smoothie King Arena in the Big Easy.

Smoothie King Arena? Well, at least it’s not Sleep Train Arena.

On Wednesday November 12th, Indiana will play Miami in South Beach. A few months ago, this would have been a much circled date on the NBA calendar given that they played in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals. But given the depletion rate of both teams over the offseason due to James’ departure and George’s unfortunate injury (plus Stephenson leaving (and a potential Roy Hibbert trade as well), not much anymore.

November 19th is also looking to be a notable date on the schedule with the Bucks traveling to Brooklyn to face the Nets in Jason Kidd’s return to the team. Only thing to ponder is will Nets fans remember his years in a New Jersey uniform, or the way he attempted to concoct a power play on Brooklyn brass after this year?

That same day, Lin and the Lakers play the Rockets in Houston. Linsanity was not exactly as big a hit in Texas as it was in the Tri-State a few years ago.

November 22nd will see the Mavs going to Houston to play those same Rockets. Remember the whole “we want to clear cap space (Parsons) to sign Bosh, but never did” thing?

Fast forward to December 22nd when the Blazers travel to Houston. The last time these two teams faced off, Damian Lillard was more clutch than Clutch City. Ask any Houston Rockets fan about what happened in the first round of the NBA playoffs last year when Lillard drained a buzzer-beating three pointer to send Rip City to the second round, and you’re likely to give that fan nightmares.

Then, we move to December 23rd when the Wolves will go to Cleveland to play the Cavs. Wiggins never played a game for Cleveland despite being drafted by them, but he will be on the court at the Quicken Loans Arena when Minnesota plays the Cavaliers. Interestingly, Wiggins’ former coach at Kansas, Bill Self, said that he actually preferred to be traded to Minnesota instead of playing for Cleveland.

I wonder if he felt that way on draft night.

Of course—this is when we reach a high point of the NBA season. That, of course, is Christmas Day. In between listening to Holiday classics on your local radio stations and opening presents that may (or may not) have appeared under your tree via the North Pole, plenty of basketball will be played. The Christmas Day schedule of matchups on ABC, ESPN, and TNT look something like this:

Wizards at Knicks (12:00 pm, ESPN)

Thunder at Spurs (2:30 pm, ABC)

Cavaliers at Heat (5:00 pm, ABC)

Lakers at Bulls (8:00 pm, TNT)

Clippers at Warriors (10:30 pm, TNT)

Side note—the Monday Morning Realist called three of these games for Christmas last month. Pretty darn good day in that guy’s office.

Chicago will play the Lakers at Staples on January 29th in Gasol’s return to LA, where he won two NBA titles. There wasn’t much bad blood between Gasol and the Lakers, but there was a contract dispute—one that had Gasol taking big bucks in the City of Big Shoulders.

The conversations that Commissioner Adam Silver has been having about extending the All-Star break have apparently made their way into the league’s schedule this year. That break will last from February 13th to the 18th with the game itself occurring on the 15th and the reason given was that players didn’t have enough time off around the break.

The Knicks & Nets are co-hosting the game with the pre-Sunday stuff happening at the Barclays Center and the game happening at Madison Square Garden in some sort of weird Manhattan-Brooklyn connection thing (love the logo, by the way).

They’re both New York boroughs, so call it 7th Avenue meeting Flatbush Avenue. We should just be surprised they’re not having the dunk contest this year at Rucker Park.

January 7th is when New Orleans and Charlotte will meet again, this time, in the Queen City.

Interestingly enough, Christmas Day will not the only occasion where the Cavs play Miami. They will return to South Florida again on ESPN on Monday, March 16th. If you can’t have one hyped up LeBron return to Miami, why not a second helping?

On Wednesday, April 15th, the season will conclude with 28 of the 30 teams in action. The other two—the Clippers and Phoenix Suns, will end their seasons the night before when they play each other on TNT. Likely, ten teams will have already been eliminated from the playoffs by then and another fourteen will already have clinched playoff berths. They’ll just be jockeying for position by this time.

After that, of course, come the playoffs which will commence in April and conclude in June as always. But for now, the main date circled on the calendars of basketball aficionados is NBA Tip-Off—Tuesday, October 28th.