No Four-in-Fives for First Time; Back-to-Backs Reduced to Historic Low for Third Straight Season
The Golden State Warriors will battle the Cleveland Cavaliers on Christmas Day (Associated Press)
The NBA today released its complete game schedule and broadcast schedules for TNT, ESPN, ABC, NBA TV and ESPN Radio for the 2017-18 regular season. The league’s 72nd regular season will tip off on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, and conclude on Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
The 2017-18 schedule includes the elimination of stretches where teams play four games in five nights, down from 20 total instances last season. This marks the first season in NBA history with no four-in-fives. In addition, the number of back-to-backs has been reduced to 14.4 per team from 16.3 per team – an all-time low for the third consecutive season. Since 2014-15, four-in-fives have dropped from 70 to zero and back-to-backs have been cut by 26 percent (or 4.9 per team).
In a new feature, the NBA is labeling its schedule by week to enhance the ability of fans to follow the 1,230-game season. Starting with Week 1 and ending with Week 26, the weekly structure will help reinforce awareness of upcoming games and communicate key storylines. Each week will run Monday through Sunday.
As previously announced, Week 1 will showcase 14 different teams playing eight national television games in the first four days of the season as part of Kia NBA Tip-Off 2017, with TNT and ESPN airing two doubleheaders each. TNT’s doubleheader on opening night will feature the Boston Celtics visiting the Cleveland Cavaliers in a rematch of the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals (8 p.m. ET), followed by the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors receiving their championship rings before hosting the Houston Rockets (10:30 p.m. ET).
The NBA last week also revealed its five-game Christmas Day schedule (Week 11), which includes a Finals rematch between Golden State and Cleveland as one of a record three games on ABC on Dec. 25. ESPN and TNT will also televise one game each that day. Click here for more information on the national television schedule for opening week and Christmas Day.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
The second and final regular-season matchup between the Warriors and Cavaliers will be part of TNT’s tripleheader on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Monday, Jan. 15), the start of Week 14. The network’s coverage will begin with the Memphis Grizzlies hosting the Los Angeles Lakers (5:30 p.m. ET) and continue with Golden State visiting Cleveland (8 p.m. ET). In the final game, Houston will play the LA Clippers in nine-time All-Star Chris Paul’s first visit to the Clippers as a Rocket. (10:30 p.m. ET).
Earlier, NBA TV will feature a doubleheader on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The Charlotte Hornets will play at the Detroit Pistons in the opener (12:30 p.m. ET), followed by the San Antonio Spurs at the Atlanta Hawks (3 p.m. ET).
NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC
The third season of NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC will feature eight games, each scheduled to air at 8:30 p.m. ET. The series will tip off on Jan. 20 during Week 14 with the Warriors taking on the Rockets in Houston. Other matchups will include a 2017 Western Conference Finals rematch between Golden State and San Antonio on Feb. 10 at Oracle Arena (Week 17) as well as the Oklahoma City Thunder visiting the Rockets on the final Saturday of the regular season, April 7 (Week 25).
TNT’s Players Only
TNT’s Players Only franchise – which comprises former professional basketball players in all broadcast roles – will return for its second year starting on Tuesday, Jan. 23 (Week 15), with a doubleheader showcasing the Cavaliers at the Spurs (8 p.m. ET) and the Celtics at the Lakers (10:30 p.m. ET). Players Only telecasts will air regularly on Tuesday nights from the series’ Jan. 23 debut through April 3.
All-Stars Visit Former Teams
ESPN’s coverage will spotlight three interconference matchups in which 2017 All-Stars face their former teams as visitors for the first time:
· Week 9: Oklahoma City at Indiana (Wednesday, Dec. 13, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN) – Four-time All-Star Paul George leads the Thunder into Bankers Life Fieldhouse to play the Pacers.
· Week 17: Minnesota at Chicago (Friday, Feb. 9, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN) – Jimmy Butler, an All-Star with the Bulls in each of the last three seasons, visits the United Center with the Timberwolves.
· Week 24: Boston at Utah (Wednesday, March 28, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) – A first-time All-Star last season with the Jazz, the Celtics’ Gordon Hayward returns to Vivint Smart Home Arena.
More Marquee Matchups
· Week 1: NBA TV openers (Saturday, Oct. 21) – NBA TV tips off its regular-season coverage with a doubleheader: Golden State at Memphis in the first game (8 p.m. ET) and the Phoenix Suns at the Clippers in the second game (10:30 p.m. ET).
· Week 2: New Orleans at Sacramento (Thursday, Oct. 26, 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT) – Three-time All-Star DeMarcus Cousins makes his first visit to Sacramento since last season’s trade to the Pelicans.
· Week 3: Cleveland at Washington (Friday, Nov. 3, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN) – The teams played one of the most memorable games of the 2016-17 season, a 140-135 overtime win for the Cavaliers on Feb. 6, 2017, in Washington.
· Week 5: Philadelphia at L.A. Lakers (Wednesday, Nov. 15, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) – The top two picks in NBA Draft 2017 presented by State Farm – the 76ers’ Markelle Fultz (No. 1) and the Lakers’ Lonzo Ball (No. 2) – meet in the regular season for the first time.
· Week 8: Miami vs. Brooklyn (Saturday, Dec. 9, 6 p.m. ET, NBA TV) – NBA Mexico City Games 2017 concludes with the Heat playing the Nets at the Arena Ciudad de Mexico.
· Week 9: Dallas at Golden State (Thursday, Dec. 14, 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT) – Two-time Kia NBA MVP Stephen Curry of the Warriors goes head-to-head with his brother, emerging guard Seth Curry of the Mavericks (career-high 12.8 points per game last season).
· Week 13: Boston vs. Philadelphia (Thursday, Jan. 11, 3 p.m. ET, NBA TV) – The Celtics and 76ers meet in NBA London Game 2018 at The O2.
· Week 14: Oklahoma City at Cleveland (Saturday, Jan. 20, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC) – ABC’s only Saturday afternoon game on the schedule precedes the season premiere of NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC that night.
· Week 16: L.A. Lakers at Oklahoma City (Sunday, Feb. 4, 2 p.m. ET, ABC) – Kia NBA MVP Russell Westbrook of the Thunder headlines the season debut of NBA Sunday Showcase on ABC, one of the network’s five games on a Sunday afternoon.
Additional 2017-18 Schedule Highlights
The NBA on TNT, ESPN, ABC and NBA TV will present flexible scheduling throughout the regular season to provide the most compelling matchups to a national audience.
TNT will televise 20 Thursday doubleheaders and 11 Tuesday doubleheaders as part of its 34thstraight year of NBA coverage, with live streaming of all games available via tntdrama.com/watchtntand the Watch TNT app. The network will also air NBA All-Star 2018 events from Feb. 16-18 in Los Angeles, culminating with the NBA’s 67th All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 18.
ESPN’s 16th consecutive year of NBA coverage will include 21 Wednesday doubleheaders and 14 Friday doubleheaders. The network’s telecasts will be available via the ESPN App. ESPN Deportes, ESPN’s Spanish-language U.S. sports network, will also have a full slate of regular-season games.
NBA TV will feature 37 doubleheaders, one tripleheader (Sunday, April 1 during Week 24) and a quadrupleheader (Sunday, April 8 in Week 25). Fan Night will be held on Tuesdays early in the season before transitioning to Mondays starting on Jan. 22.
ESPN Radio will air 25 games during the regular season, including Rockets-Warriors on opening night as well as Cavaliers-Warriors and Wizards-Celtics on Christmas Day. It will also provide coverage from NBA All-Star 2018 and broadcast The Finals 2018.
ABC will exclusively broadcast The Finals for the 16th straight season. TNT will be the home of the 2018 Western Conference Finals, while ESPN will present the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals.
NBA LEAGUE PASS will offer up to 40 live, out-of-market games each week through television, broadband and mobile for fans who want to watch their favorite teams, players and matchups from outside their local markets (blackout restrictions apply). Games included in NBA LEAGUE PASS will be in addition to those available on TNT, ESPN, ABC and NBA TV as well as local networks (such as a regional sports network and/or an over-the-air station). For more information about NBA LEAGUE PASS, visit nba.com/leaguepass/.
NBA.com and the NBA App will provide day-by-day and team-by-team schedules as well as regular-season telecast schedules of the league’s domestic broadcast partners. NBA programming and games are seen in 215 countries and territories in 49 languages.