20 Oct Top 10 Must-Watch Games in the NBA (2016-17 Season)
The NBA’s 2016-17 season is just several weeks away. But before the regular season officially begins, let’s take a look at the 10 games this season that you cannot afford to miss.
Here they are in chronological order:
10/25/16 Knicks at Cavaliers-8 PM ET, TNT
— CNNgo (@CNNgo) June 20, 2016
The raising of the first ever championship banner in Cavaliers history should be a big night. Cleveland’s drought ended after 52 long years and so many painful seasons that included the departure of LeBron James to Miami. But as fate would have it, LeBron returned like Cleveland’s prodigal son two seasons ago. And after another failed bid in the championship in 2015, James and his Cavs finally delivered the championship trophy last season. And they did so against the best regular season team of All-time and the team that beat them the year before. You bet emotions will still run high on this opening night despite the Cavs winning the title four months ago. Can’t pass on this game.
10/26/16 Rockets at Lakers-10:30 PM ET, ESPN
Last night was the final chapter to an incredible story. I walk away at peace knowing my love for the game & this city will never be broken.
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) April 14, 2016
At first glance, there seems to be nothing significant about a team’s opening home game when that team is coming off the worst regular season in franchise history. The Lakers finished a dismal 17-65 last season and had the league’s second worst record. But when you find out that the Lakers will be playing opening without Kobe Bryant for the first time since Bill Clinton was president, it’s got to be monumental. The Kobe era is now over and the young guns led by Julius Randle, DeAngelo Russell and rookie Brandon Ingram hope to start their L.A. story on a winning note.
10/29/16 Pelicans at Spurs-8 PM ET, NBA TV
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) July 11, 2016
Three nights after the Lakers play their first opening night without Kobe Bryant, the San Antonio Spurs will start the post-Tim Duncan era. Duncan was like what Bryant was to the Lakers and even more. The Big Fundamental led the Spurs to 19 consecutive playoff seasons, which is tied for the 2nd longest in NBA history. Along the way, Duncan led the Spurs to five NBA titles. Timmy is the only player in history to start and win NBA titles in three different decades. So take that guy away from the equation and what have you? That’s why you can’t afford to miss this game.
11/4/16 Knicks at Bulls-8 PM ET, ESPN
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) June 24, 2016
Derrick Rose was supposed to be the Bulls’ messiah in the post-Michael Jordan era. When D-Rose won the MVP in 2011 and the Bulls reached the Eastern Conference Finals that same year, it looked as if the team was going the right direction. Then the injuries came. Rose never reached his full potential and so did his Bulls. Wanting a change in direction, Chicago traded Rose to his hometown Knicks. The D-Rose traded also led to the signing of Bulls’ emotional leader Joakim Noah in the off-season. So this isn’t just going to be Rose’s return to the United Center. It’s going to be twice the fun!
11/10/16 Bulls at Heat-8 PM ET, TNT
— Chris Paul (@CP3) July 7, 2016
If Derrick Rose went from Chicago to New York, Dwyane Wade went from Miami to Chicago. Yeah, nobody thought that D-Wade would play for another NBA team, not in this lifetime. But after LeBron left and Chris Bosh’s career virtually ended, it was perhaps the time to let go of the last remaining piece of the once vaunted ‘Big Three’ that gave the Heat back to back titles in 2012 and 2013. But while letting go of LeBron and Bosh may have been easier, seeing their original franchise player leave was a tough pill to swallow. Miami was lauded for its reaction to James’ departure. We’ll see that class act again on this bitter sweet night in Miami.
11/14/16 Magic at Pacers-7 PM ET, NBA League Pass
The Orlando Magic have reached a deal in principle with Frank Vogel, the Orlando Sentinel has learned.
— Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) May 19, 2016
So Larry Bird said he ‘didn’t fire’ Frank Vogel. But Bird also said that it was time that the team heard a new voice so he didn’t offer Vogel a new deal when his contract expired . What the hell’s the difference there? None. Frank Vogel was ousted in Indiana after leading the team to two conference finals trips and after amassing an impressive 431-250 (.580) record. That was was a surprise but Vogel going to Orlando was an ever bigger surprise. Vogel’s ability to relate well to his players and his penchant for defense makes him a fit with Orlando. So, Vogel vs Bird here. Who wins?
12/16/16 Lakers at Sixers-8 PM ET, ESPN
Ben Simmons & Brandon Ingram both put on during Summer League. pic.twitter.com/3XWbTyl8Xg
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 18, 2016
We saw Russell vs Chamberlain then Magic vs Bird. Could we be witnessing the NBA’s next great rivalry in the Sixers’ Ben Simmons and the Lakers’ Brandon Ingram? The two standouts went one and two in this year’s NBA draft and many are expecting them to go toe to toe in the battle for the Rookie of the Year. Unfortunately , Simmons broke his foot last month and could be out for three months so we may not see that duel yet on this night. If Simmons doesn’t play, this game will still have a big commercial value because it is the battle between last season’s worst teams. Both teams upgraded during the offseason and it will be interesting to find out who’s gotten better.
12/25/16 Warriors at Cavs-2:30 PM ET, ABC
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) July 4, 2016
The NBA’s annual Christmas present is a rematch of the 2016 NBA Finals….and the 2015 NBA Finals as well. The Cavs and Warriors have dominated the NBA these past two seasons and with the way the offseason went, it looks as if it’s going to stay that way this year. After losing to the Cavs in the 2016 Finals, the dethroned champion Warriors added superstar Kevin Durant to an already high-powered offensive team. The Cavs meanwhile retained their core and with the recent signing of J.R. Smith, they look to defend their crown with their tried and tested line-up. Have the Warriors gotten better with Durant? Or Will Cleveland hold on badly to the title they waited 52 years for?
01/13/2017 Celtics at Hawks-8 PM ET, ESPN
Al Horford's first bucket in green ? pic.twitter.com/iftqwtuedU
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) October 5, 2016
Al Horford spent his first 9 NBA seasons with the Altanta Hawks. But despite finding success there, Horford and the Hawks were never able to go to the ‘next level’. The four-time All-Star was one of the most coveted free agents in the offseason and the Celtics were a very promising team that was looking for a superstar. They targeted Horford and got their star and new big man. Upon signing with the C’s Horford said he liked the Celtics because he felt they ‘could win’ there. Atlanta would most certainly want to disagree and prove Horford wrong on this Friday night.
02/11/17 Warriors at Thunder-8:30 PM ET, ABC
Russell Westbrook asked about Durant's recent comments about the Warriors having "selfless" players: pic.twitter.com/mdPOCOiZS5
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) October 13, 2016
This is undoubtedly the biggest regular season game of the 2017 NBA season. You can call it the mother of all battles. Kevin Durant unceremoniously left OKC during the offseason to join the 2015 champion Warriors. The Dubs had the best regular season of all-time but came up short against destiny’s Cavs in the most recent NBA finals. But as if the team wasn’t good enough, they added the 2014 MVP and scoring machine Kevin Durant to their fold. Good for them. Bad for OKC which lost one half of its Dynamic Duo. Bad news for the Warriors though. The Thunder are Russell Westbrook’s team now. Westbrook will be waiting for this game more than any other game of the season. That’s really bad news. But great for us fans. Remember the date.
Excited already? We don’t blame you. We can’t wait for the 2016-17 NBA season to start either. So get those pens, papers, organizers, calendars and what have you. Save the dates. These are the games you definitely can’t afford to miss. These are some of the reasons why we love this game.
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