The NBA schedule released Monday includes some change and some moments not to miss:
Reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Milwaukee host now-former MVP James Harden and Houston on Oct. 24, the season opener for both teams. They don’t play again until March 25 in Milwaukee.
Very little will seem familiar now that Kawhi Leonard has departed Toronto and Kevin Durant has exited Golden State. They’ll play anyway: Toronto at Golden State, March 5; Golden State at Toronto, March 16.
The battle for L.A. this season could be the battle for the top spot in the Western Conference. They’ll play on opening night, Oct. 22; Christmas; Jan. 28; and March 4.
EUROPE IN PRIME TIME
The schedule features 48 games — 24 on Saturdays, 24 on Sundays — that will air in prime time in Europe. That doesn’t include Jan. 24 in Paris (Milwaukee and Charlotte).
Toronto gets to host a Christmas game for the first time, and it gets to go first that day, vs. Boston in the morning game. The other Christmas matchups are Milwaukee at Philadelphia, Houston at Golden State, Clippers at Lakers, New Orleans at Denver.
GET SOME REST
Teams will play on consecutive days an average of 12.4 times, down from 13.3 last year and 19.3 five years ago. No team will play four games in five days, but there are 19 instances of teams having to play five times in seven days.
GET SOME SLEEP
Last season 57 games on national television started at 9:30 p.m. Central time. That number falls to 33. ESPN and TNT will start their doubleheaders an hour earlier than last season in most cases.