The NBA today released its complete game schedule and broadcast schedules for ABC, TNT, ESPN, NBA TV, and NBA on ESPN Radio for the upcoming season, with the reigning champion San Antonio Spurs tipping off the league’s 2014-15 campaign at home against the Dallas Mavericks.
The NBA’s 69th season begins on Tuesday, Oct. 28, with a TNT doubleheader, marking the 19th straight year the network has tipped off with two games on the season’s first night. In keeping with NBA tradition, the defending NBA champion Spurs will be home on opening night to receive their rings in a nationally televised ceremony as part of TNT’s pregame coverage, which begins at 7 p.m. ET. After the ceremony, the Spurs will host Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks at 8 p.m. ET, with Kobe Bryant returning to action in the nightcap as the Los Angeles Lakers, with new coach Byron Scott, host James Harden and the Houston Rockets (10:30 p.m. ET).
ESPN begins its 13th consecutive year of NBA coverage with two doubleheaders during opening week. On Wednesday, Oct. 29, the first game of the evening’s double-dip features the Chicago Bulls, with Derrick Rose and reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah, visiting Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks, at 8 p.m. ET. In the second game, reigning MVP Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder travel to Portland to take on LaMarcus Aldridge and the Trail Blazers at 10:30 p.m. ET.
Opening week continues on TNT on Thursday, Oct. 30, with the Cleveland Cavaliers — in LeBron James’ first game back with his original team after spending four seasons and winning two championships with the Miami Heat — hosting the Knicks at 8 p.m. ET. The Thunder visits the Los Angeles Clippers in the second game (10:30 p.m. ET).
The second ESPN doubleheader of opening week takes place on Friday, Oct. 31, and features James and the Cavaliers visiting the Bulls at 8 p.m. ET. The nightcap will be a Los Angeles affair as the Lakers host Chris Paul and the Clippers at 10:30 p.m. ET.
NBA TV begins its 97-game schedule with three games during opening week, including two games on Saturday, Nov. 1, when the Minnesota Timberwolves host the Bulls at 8 p.m. ET, followed by the Golden State Warriors and new coach Steve Kerr welcoming the Lakers (10:30 p.m. ET). The opening week’s national slate concludes on NBA TV on Sunday, Nov. 2, with the Knicks hosting the newly re-named Charlotte Hornets, at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Christmas Day action begins in New York City at noon ET on ESPN, when the Knicks and Washington Wizards square off at Madison Square Garden. Action shifts to ABC at 2:30 p.m. ET, as Tony Parker and the Spurs host the Thunder in a rematch of the 2014 Western Conference Finals. In the second game on ABC (5 p.m. ET), James and the Cavaliers travel to Miami to take on the Heat in the four-time MVP’s return to South Florida. Two more games on TNT complete the holiday hardwood extravaganza, as the Lakers visit the Bulls and free agent signee Pau Gasol at 8 p.m. ET, followed by Stephen Curry and the Warriors taking on Blake Griffin and the Clippers in Los Angeles at 10:30 p.m. ET.
Four nationally televised games highlight the NBA’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day schedule, beginning with the Detroit Pistons and new coach Stan Van Gundy visiting the Atlanta Hawks on ESPN (2:30 p.m. ET). Action continues on NBA TV at 5 p.m. ET, with the Mavericks traveling to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies, led by the trio of Mike Conley, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. The day concludes with a doubleheader on TNT, as the Bulls take on the Cavaliers at 8 p.m. ET, followed by the Lakers visiting the Phoenix Suns, looking to build off a 48-win season, at 10:30 p.m. ET.
More highly anticipated television matchups throughout the regular season include:
- Both matchups between the defending champion Spurs and Cavaliers will be televised nationally, with the first game coming in Cleveland on Nov. 19, on ESPN at 7 p.m. ET. James and the Cavaliers travel to San Antonio on March 12, on TNT at 8 p.m. ET.
- ABC’s first non-Christmas doubleheader of the season takes place on Jan. 25, and features the re-tooled Heat visiting the Bulls (1 p.m. ET), followed by the Thunder and Cavaliers from Cleveland at 3:30 p.m. ET.
- TNT’s doubleheader on March 31 features a rematch of the 2014 Finals in the first game, with the Spurs visiting the Heat at 8 p.m. ET. In the second game, at 10:30 p.m. ET, the Warriors take on the Clippers, who needed seven games to dispatch Golden State in the first round of the 2014 playoffs.
- The Brooklyn Nets, with new coach Lionel Hollins, return to Toronto on Dec. 17, to take on Kyle Lowry and the Raptors on ESPN (8 p.m. ET). These two teams went seven games in the first round of the 2014 playoffs, with Brooklyn winning Game 7 in Toronto.
- The Wizards, coming off a trip to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2005, host the Cavaliers on Nov. 21, on ESPN (8 p.m. ET). In addition to re-signing Marcin Gortat, the Wizards added Paul Pierce to an exciting nucleus that features 2014 All-Star John Wall and Bradley Beal.
- TNT will televise the Lakers and 16-time NBA All-Star Bryant as they visit the Thunder and Durant on March 24 (8 p.m. ET).
- The Nov. 12 game between the Timberwolves and Rockets will take place in Mexico City and be televised on ESPN (10 p.m. ET). The Jan. 15 game between the Knicks and the Milwaukee Bucks will take place in London and be televised on NBA TV (3 p.m. ET).
- NBA TV’s doubleheader on Jan. 5 is a star-studded affair featuring Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans hosting the Wizards at 8 p.m. ET, followed by Russell Westbrook and the Thunder visiting Klay Thompson and the Warriors (10:30 p.m. ET).
In its 31st year of NBA coverage, TNT will televise 53 regular-season games, including 19 Thursday night doubleheaders. TNT will also exclusively televise NBA All-Star 2015 festivities in New York City Feb. 13-15, culminating with the NBA’s 64th All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 15.
ESPN will televise 75 regular-season games, including 39 games on Wednesdays and 28 on Fridays.ESPN telecasts are also available via WatchESPN, with nearly all on ESPN Mobile TV.ESPN Deportes (ESPN’s Spanish-language U.S. sports network) will also televise select regular-season games.The ABC national television schedule consists of 15 exclusive regular-season broadcasts.
The NBA on ABC and ESPN, and NBA TV present flexible scheduling throughout the regular season in order to provide the most compelling matchups to a national audience.
The NBA on ESPN Radio’s 29-game regular-season schedule begins opening night, with Dallas at San Antonio (8 p.m. ET).The NBA on ESPN Radio will also broadcast all the events from NBA All-Star 2015.
For the 13th straight season, ABC will exclusively broadcast The Finals, which tips off in June 2015. This season, TNT is the exclusive home of the 2015 NBA Eastern Conference Finals and ESPN will exclusively televise the 2015 NBA Western Conference Finals.
Bobby Portis Apologizes to Bulls for Mirotic Fight
Bobby Portis has apologized to his Bulls teammates for getting into a fight that left Nikola Mirotic with facial fractures and a concussion. “He didn’t address us today, but he did address the team before so that was taken care of,” Bulls swingman Justin Holiday said after Friday’s practice.
Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg acknowledged that Portis’ apology took place during a team meeting but did not want to go into specific details about his message. “I’ll keep that between the team,” Hoiberg said, “as far as exactly what was said in that meeting.”
Source: Nick Friedell of ESPN
Joel Embiid Still Not Cleared for Back-to-Back Games
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid said he has not been cleared to play back-to-back games and does not expect to be in the lineup Saturday at Toronto.
Embiid was in the starting lineup for the home opener Friday night against the Boston Celtics, scoring 11 points to go along with 14 rebounds in 28 minutes as Philadelphia lost 102-92. Asked after Friday’s game if he was OK with not playing Saturday night, Embiid replied, “Um I’m not OK with it but we have a plan in place and we have to follow it.”
Dennis Smith Jr. Out for Next Two Games With Knee Injury
Dennis Smith Jr. will miss at least two games due to swelling in the left knee that the Dallas Mavericks’ prized rookie point guard had surgically repaired two years ago.
Smith was a late scratch before Friday’s loss to the Sacramento Kings and will not travel with the Mavericks for Saturday’s road game against the Houston Rockets.
Source: Tim MacMahon of ESPN