This is it! The 2018-19 NBA season is about to begin and for the basketball fans around the world life starts to have meaning again. And who can blame them if we take a moment and think all the interesting changes that took place this off-season.
Where should I begin from? Lebron is now the king of LA, Leonard is in Toronto, while DeRozan took his place in San Antonio and many more changed team in the hope for more quality time or potentially a ring (just saying Carmelo Anthony and Demarcus Cousins).
All these and much more are coming in a few hours. Of course, it’s not everything perfect in NBA’s regular season. There are also many games that might feel like a waste of time both due to the quality of the teams or the lack of interest.
That being said, and as a continuation of the list I put together last year, here are the 15 games that you have to watch in 2018-19 NBA season:
1. October 16: Oklahoma City Thunder-Golden State Warriors
The return of Kevin Durant in Oklahoma will always have a special interest no matter what. Many believe that this is the last season of Durant in Golden State but this has nothing to do with the way Westbrook and the Thunder fans feel about Durant. For one more year, Oklahoma will try to come closer to the dream of the NBA Finals, while the Warriors will do the best in order to get the title for second year in a row. An excellent way to open the 2018-19 NBA season for sure!
2. October 18: Los Angeles Lakers-Portland Trail Blazers
I don’t think that I need to explain why this game is probably one of the most eye-catching for this entire season in the NBA. The first official game of Lebron James with the yellow jersey is expected to attract the attention of every basketball fan around the globe. James has the difficult mission of bringing Lakers back to the Playoffs (for now) and continue Kobe’s legacy. Nothing could be harder and that’s why we have to be there and watch it!
3. October 19: Boston Celtics-Toronto Raptors
Next on our list, a game with less drama but lots of interest due to the value of both teams. After Lebron leaving Cleveland, there are many who expect one of these two teams to take over the Eastern Conference and appear in 2018-19 NBA’s Finals. Boston and Toronto will meet again many times through the season but their battle will be an interesting crash-test for both sides.
4. November 15: Houston Rockets-Golden State Warriors
Houston Rockets haven’t forgotten the way they lost by Golden State last year and they want revenge. With the addition of Carmello they hope that they can get one step closer to their big dream and bring a shiny ring to Houston. That’s easier said than done though as the Warriors are the number one favorite for 2018-19 NBA title. In any case, it’s expected to be a great game!
5. November 17: Utah Jazz-Boston Celtics
That’s the first time that Gordon Hayward will return to his former home and play against the Utah Jazz. Last year, lost the entire season due to his extremely serious injury so this is a ‘reboot year’ for him. It’s very interesting to see how the Jazz crowd will behave and whether Utah will be as open and friendly for him as it used to be.
6. November 21: Cleveland Cavaliers-Los Angeles Lakers
Probably one of the most dramatic games for the 2018-19 NBA season. The King is back to the home that abandoned twice and every single moment of this game is anticipated to be full of tension and mixed feelings. The reaction of the crowd might be much friendlier this time (compared to when Lebron was playing for the Heat), but still is a must-watch match-up!
7. December 4: Phoenix Suns-Sacramento Kings
That’s a match-up from the future, The number one draft pick of the season against number two: Deandre Ayton against Marvin Bagley III and Arizona is on fire as both guys played basketball at the same high-school. A match of honour for both of them and a great basketball battle for every fan of the sport.
8. December 5: Cleveland Cavaliers-Golden State Warriors
This year the Warriors might win a bit easier but a remake of the 2017-18 NBA Finals is always interesting. The rivalry that has started the last years between the two franchises is expected to continue despite the absence of Lebron James. The best we have to do is to keep following and see where it will end up.
9. December 25: Golden State Warriors-Los Angeles Lakers
Also known as Warriors versus Lebron James. Will the King be able to throw Golden State from the NBA throne this year? Probably not! But who can be sure that this won’t happen in the next one or two years that the Lakers will get stronger. In any case, a very strong match-up which is expected to wake up some recent memories both for Lebron and the Golden State.
10. December 27: Philadelphia 76ers-Utah Jazz
Ben Simmons, NBA Rookie of the Year, faces Donovan Mitchell, runner-up Rookie of the Year, in a very intriguing match-up. A sneak peek to a big Playoff game of the future maybe. Surely worth a look!
11. January 3: San Antonio Spurs-Toronto Raptors
No matter what, January 3 2019 is expected to be a challenging day for Kawhi Leonard. In his first return in San Antonio Leonard will have to try his best in order to make the Spurs crowd remain silent. And it’s not only them as his ex-teammates are also a bit upset of the way he handled the whole trade situation. On top of that, DeMar DeRozan is also quite mad at the Toronto organization and he would like to offer a convincing performance to his new team and fans. Long story short, a lot of drama in San Antonio that day.
12. January 3: Los Angeles Lakers-Oklahoma City Thunder
The same day we have one more drama going on in Los Angeles this time. Paul George will have to face the Lakers crowd for the first time after his trade soap-opera this summer. After lots of back and forths, George decided to reject his childhood dream of playing for the Lakers and remain faithful to Oklahoma City Thunder. Will this be a good decision for his future? Nobody can be sure. What we can be sure about is that there will be a lot of booing that night in LA.
13. January 26: Boston Celtics-Golden State Warriors
I know it’s too early, but I’ll say it. This might be the first preview of the 2018-19 NBA season Finals! And we have to watch it. If the Celtics remain healthy this season, they have nothing to be afraid of. They can surely go all the way and potentially make life hard for the Warriors.
14. February 5: Cleveland Cavaliers-Boston Celtics
Uncle Drew is back to the land where he made his name and it is sure that most the Cavaliers fans would wish to have him on their side now that Lebron is gone. However, the tables have turned and this is perhaps the first time that the Celtics visit Cleveland as the clear favorite after a number of years. Another interesting aspect of this game has to do with the fact that the Celtics are expected by many to replace the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals this year. Let’s see!
15. February 7: Boston Celtics-Los Angeles Lakers
Kyrie Irving against Lebron James and Celtics against Lakers. The competition between these two guys never gets old. Same goes for the rivalry between the two cities. It’s the first time after a few years that both two teams will be extremely competent and in that sense it’s a game which could bring back some good memories and potentially some exciting scenes from the upcoming NBA Finals. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s safe to say that one of the greatest derbies around the world has returned!
Wrapping it up!
There you have it! 15 must-watch games of the 2018-19 NBA season. Regardless of which team or player someone supports one thing is for sure.
This year will be one of the most exciting in the NBA’s recent history. The good news? That is about to begin and we will be there to enjoy!
Featured image: NBA.com