The NBA released its 2015-16 season schedule Wednesday, with an NBA Finals rematch the centerpiece of Christmas Day action and playoff rematches and the return of injured superstars showcased on the season’s first two nights.
Reigning MVP Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors will kick off their title defense on Oct. 27, hosting Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans. The other two matchups in TNT’s opening night tripleheader are the Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons vs. Atlanta Hawks.
The next night, Oct. 28, ESPN commence its NBA coverage with the return of former MVPs Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant, both of whom missed most of last season with major injuries. Durant’s Oklahoma City Thunder will host the newly-retooled San Antonio Spur, followed by Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers challenging No. 1 overall NBA Draft pick Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Five games will air across ABC and ESPN on Christmas Day with 13 straight hours of coverage. Action will start with a matchup between the Miami Heat and Pelicans on ESPN, followed by two games on ABC: Bulls-Thunder and Cavs-Warriors, a rematch of the 2015 NBA Finals. ESPN will air the evening doubleheaders, featuring Spurs taking on the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Clippers facing their Staples Center roommates in the Lakers.
TNT will also televise a primetime doubleheader on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Jan. 18, with another NBA Finals rematch, this time in Cleveland, followed by a Western Conference Semifinal matchup between the Clippers and Rockets in L.A.
In all, LeBron James and the Cavs will appear on ABC six times throughout the season, one time more than the champion Warriors. The Bulls and Thunder will also have five games televised on ABC this season. TNT will air 10 games each with Warriors, Bulls and Clippers, as well as nine with the Cavs, Lakers, Thunder and Spurs.
Other notable matchups include:
— The Clippers and center DeAndre Jordan, who spurned the Mavericks during free agency to return to the Clippers, will visit Dallas on Nov. 11 on ESPN. That’s the same night as LaMarcus Aldridge’s first game back in Portland after leaving the Trail Blazers to join the Spurs.
— ESPN will air LeBron and the Cavs taking on Kobe and the Lakers on Feb. 10.
— Some key games for the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden: Kobe and the Lakers travel there Nov. 8; LeBron and the Cavs visit Nov. 13 and March 26; and Curry and the Warriors arrive Jan 31. All games on NBA League Pass.