–NBA Champion Golden State Faces Houston on Opening Night (Oct. 17) and Cleveland on Christmas–
The NBA today announced its national television schedule on TNT and ESPN for the opening week of the 2017-18 season as well as its lineup of five Christmas Day games, including a record three games on ABC on Dec. 25.
The first four days of the season (Oct. 17-20) will feature 14 different teams playing eight national television games as part of Kia NBA Tip-Off 2017, with TNT and ESPN airing two doubleheaders each.
The league’s 72nd season will begin on Tuesday, Oct. 17 with a TNT doubleheader that includes the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors receiving their championship rings before hosting the Houston Rockets in nine-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul’s first game with Houston (10:30 p.m. ET). In the opening game, 2017 All-Star Gordon Hayward will make his debut with the Boston Celtics as they visit the Cleveland Cavaliers in a rematch of the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals (8 p.m. ET). This is TNT’s 22nd straight season with a doubleheader on opening night, marking Turner Sports’ 34th consecutive year of NBA coverage.
ESPN, set for its 16th successive year of NBA coverage, will present a doubleheader on Wednesday, Oct. 18, beginning with the last two No. 1 overall picks in the NBA Draft presented by State Farm – Ben Simmons (2016) and Markelle Fultz (2017) – making their regular-season debuts for the Philadelphia 76ers on the road against the Washington Wizards (7 p.m. ET). In the second game, three-time All-Star Jimmy Butler will debut for the Minnesota Timberwolves at the San Antonio Spurs (9:30 p.m. ET).
TNT’s doubleheader on Thursday, Oct. 19 will showcase another All-Star’s debut with a new team as four-time All-Star Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder welcome the New York Knicks (8 p.m. ET). The LA Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers will meet in the second game (10:30 p.m. ET).
Kia NBA Tip-Off 2017 will continue on Friday, Oct. 20, when ESPN’s doubleheader opens with Cleveland visiting the Milwaukee Bucks (7 p.m. ET) and concludes with the New Orleans Pelicans hosting the Warriors (9:30 p.m. ET).
The NBA will feature five games on Christmas Day (Monday, Dec. 25) for the 10th consecutive year. For the first time, ABC will televise three games on the holiday.
The 70th edition of the NBA on Christmas Day will tip off with the 76ers taking on the Knicks at Madison Square Garden (noon ET, ESPN) and culminate with the Timberwolves visiting the Lakers (10:30 p.m. ET, TNT). ABC’s Christmas Day coverage will start with a Finals rematch between the Warriors and Cavaliers at Oracle Arena (3 p.m. ET). The network’s other two holiday telecasts will also spotlight rematches from the 2017 playoffs: The Celtics will play their first Christmas home game in team history when they face the Wizards (5:30 p.m. ET), followed by reigning Kia NBA MVP Russell Westbrook and the Thunder hosting 2016-17 MVP runner-up James Harden and the Rockets (8 p.m. ET).
This year marks the earliest start to an NBA season since the 1980-81 campaign tipped off on Oct. 10, 1980. The complete 2017-18 regular-season schedule, which is being finalized, will be announced next week.