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Knicks-Cavs, Spurs-Warriors to open NBA season

HELLO, OLD FRIEND. Carmelo Anthony (L) and LeBron James (R) will square off to open the NBA season. ELSA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

HELLO, OLD FRIEND. Carmelo Anthony (L) and LeBron James (R) will square off to open the NBA season.

ELSA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

MANILA, Philippines – The National Basketball Association (NBA) officially unveiled its full schedule for the 2016-2017 regular season on Thursday, August 12 (Friday, Manila time).

The new season starts on Tuesday, October 25 (Wednesday, Manila time), with the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers raising their title banner and receiving their championship rings before facing the new-look New York Knicks at the Quicken Loans Arena.

During the offseason, the Knicks acquired former NBA MVP Derrick Rose from the Bulls and signed Chicago center Joakim Noah to add to the team’s main one-two punch of Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. 

New York also signed shooting guard Courtney Lee to complement an intriguing starting unit that will be tested right away against LeBron James and his Cavs.

Following that game, Kevin Durant will make his Warriors debut at the Oracle Arena when Golden State takes on the Tim Duncan-less San Antonio Spurs. 

After finishing last season with a historic 73-9 record but falling short of winning an NBA title, the Dubs will try to open the new season with a win against a San Antonio team led by Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge, and has added Pau Gasol.

Both games will be on national TV in the United States through TNT. The Utah Jazz are also set to visit the Portland Trail Blazers on opening night. 

On Wednesday, October 27 (Thursday, Manila time), ESPN will broadcast its first game of the NBA season when the Philadelphia 76ers, led by number one overall pick Ben Simmons, play host to Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

In the second game of the doubleheader, the Los Angeles Lakers will take on the Houston Rockets at the Staples Center. Both teams will have new head coaches, with former Warriors assistant Luke Walton calling the shots for LA and former Phoenix Suns head coach Mike D’Antoni leading the Rockets.

Christmas Day

The main attraction of the biggest day in the NBA regular season will feature the first championship rematch between the Warriors and Cavaliers in Cleveland. It will also mark the first time rivals LeBron James and Kevin Durant will go head to head with the latter playing for his new team.

Other marquee games during the holiday include the Knicks hosting the Celtics, the Thunder hosting the Timberwolves, the Spurs hosting the Bulls, and the Lakers taking on the Clippers.

Other big matchups (Manila time)

Knicks at Bulls (November 5) - Derrick Rose, as a Knick, makes his return to Chicago where he spent the first 8 years of his career and led the team to an Eastern Conference Finals appearance in 2011.

Bulls at Heat (November 11) - Dwyane Wade, the former face of the Miami Heat’s “Heat Lifer” campaign, will return to South Beach to take on the team he played 13 seasons for before moving this summer. Wade also helped lead Miami to 3 NBA titles and became the city’s most beloved basketball player.

Lakers at 76ers (December 17) - The top two picks of the NBA draft, Simmons and Brandon Ingram, face for the first time in their careers.

Celtics at Hawks - (January 14) - Al Horford, who signed with Boston this offseason, makes his return to Atlanta against a Hawks team which actually eliminated the Celtics in the Playoffs.

Hawks at Rockets (February 2) - The newest Hawk, Dwight Howard, will play his only game of the season in Houston against James Harden and the Rockets. Howard signed in H-Town in 2013, but the relationship between both sides turned rocky before he eventually departed.

Warriors at Thunder (February 12) - Durant makes his return to Oklahoma City, where he spent the first 9 years of his career and won an MVP in 2014.  – Rappler.com