The NBA season begins on Sunday, March 5, with a blockbuster clash between the Chicago Bulls and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The first-round NBA playoff matchup between the two teams is expected to be played between the first two games of the season.
In the first game, the Bulls host the Houston Rockets, who are currently in the process of being relocated to Oklahoma City, on Wednesday, March 8.
This is the first time that the two Western Conference contenders will be playing each other, as they played against each other a combined 12 times from 2002 to 2014.
Since the start of the NBA season, the league has had a regular season with 16 games played.
However, the playoffs were split between the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference in 2014, so this year, the Western conference is expected come into the playoffs.
Each conference team plays five games during the regular season, but the playoffs will be played four times, with the top four teams advancing to the NBA Finals.
For this year’s NBA playoffs, the teams will be split into two conferences, the West and the East.
With the playoff format in place, there are a number of important matchups to look out for in the first half of the regular schedule.
According to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index (BPI), there are seven games scheduled during the first week of the new season, and seven of them will be at home.
Here is the schedule for the first 10 games of each conference: March 7 vs. Golden State Warriors – The Warriors have been one of the most successful teams in the NBA since the start in 2017, winning the NBA title in the Western and Eastern Conference Finals.
The Warriors will be looking to get back on track, and their upcoming opponents are looking to stay at home for the second consecutive season.
March 14 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers – This will be the first of three meetings between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Warriors, and they have met before.
Golden State won 104-96 on March 5.
This will be a rematch of a 2014 playoff series in which Cleveland defeated the Warriors 109-105 in Game 5 of the Western Finals.
April 8 vs. Houston Rockets – The Rockets have had a tumultuous few years, as a team with one of their own is going through a rebuild.
They will look to bounce back this year with a rematch with the Warriors.
April 15 vs. Los Angeles Clippers – The Clippers will be in need of a win in order to get over the hump and advance to the Finals for the third consecutive season, so they will look for a win.
June 6 vs. Indiana Pacers – The Pacers have been a bit of a rollercoaster this year as they have been in the midst of a rebuilding process.
Indiana has won the first three of their four playoff series, but their road trip to Portland, Utah, and Houston has been quite the rollercoasters.
In order to prevent the Pacers from getting over the top, they will be hosting the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night.
The Lakers are also coming off a 104-101 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
May 16 vs. Memphis Grizzlies – The Grizzlies are coming off their third straight loss in Memphis.
Their last win came on February 9, but it was against the Philadelphia 76ers.
While the Grizzlies will look very different this year from their past two seasons, they still have a solid team and will be hoping to bounceback from their last loss.
June 5 vs. Philadelphia 76