NBA schedule: Ben Simmons to debut against Washington, finals replay on Christmas Day

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    The NBA has begun to announce their season schedule, with five games to be played on Christmas day, a possible preview of the conference finals on opening day and Australian Ben Simmons to debut with the Philadelphia 76ers on the second day of the season.

    Simmons, who spent all of last season on the shelf with injury after being drafted by the 76ers with the No.1 pick, is expected to return for the beginning of the 2017-18 season.

    The youthful 76ers team coached by Brett Brown will play their first game on Wednesday, October 18 (Thursday, October 19 in Australia) against the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Centre in the capital.

    Simmons is joined on the 76ers squad by other youngsters in Markelle Fultz, Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid, with their opening trip to Washington likely to tell us plenty about the team’s prospects of escaping the bottom of the NBA, where they have sat for the last few seasons.

    Philadelphia will also be involved in a game being played at the O2 Arena in London on January 11, 2018 against the Boston Celtics.

    The NBA has announced there will be eight games televised nationally over the first four days of the season, and most of these are expected to be shown in Australia.

    Opening night will see a double-header with both of last year’s finalists involved in what could shape as a potential preview of the Conference finals.

    The Cleveland Cavaliers will play the first game of the evening at 8pm (ET) – 11am (AEST) against the Boston Celtics, who they faced during the conference finals last season, beating comprehensively to the tune of 4-1.

    While the Houston Rockets avoided eventual champions the Golden State Warriors during the playoffs, they won’t on opening night as they face a tough trip to the Bay.

    With Houston adding Chris Paul to their roster over the off-season and constant rumours that Carmello Anthony wants to go the same way, they are firming as favourites alongside fellow Texans the San Antonio Spurs to challenge the Warriors in the Western Conference.

    San Antonio themselves will open their season the following day against Minnesota, while Paul George will make his first outing in a Thunder uniform on Friday, October 20 against the New York Knicks.

    Other televised games to tip-off the season include the Los Angeles derby between the Lakers and Clippers, Matthew Dellavedova and Thon Maker’s Milwaukee Bucks hosting the Cavaliers and New Orleans playing the Warriors.

    Christmas Day will once again see five games back-to-back. It’ll be headlined by a replay of last season’s finals series, with the Warriors to host the Cavaliers in the second game of the day.

    The day opens with the 76ers playing their first Christmas game since 1978 against the New York Knicks, while Boston will host Washington, the Thunder play the Rockets and the Lakers host the Timberwolves to close the day out at the Staples Center.

    NBA Tip-off schedule

    Date (Aus) Time (AEST) Home Away Venue
    Wed Oct 18 11:00 AM Cleveland Cavaliers Boston Celtics Quicken Loans Arena
    Wed Oct 18 1:00 PM Golden State Warriors Houston Rockets Oracle Arena
    Thu Oct 19 10:00 AM Washington Wizards Philadelphia 76ers Verizon Center
    Thu Oct 19 12:30 PM San Antonio Spurs Minnesota Timberwolves AT&T Center
    Fri Oct 20 11:00 AM Oklahoma City Thunder New York Knicks Chesapeake Energy Arena
    Fri Oct 20 1:30 PM Los Angeles Lakers Los Angeles Clippers Staples Center
    Sat Oct 21 10:00 AM Milwaukee Bucks Cleveland Cavaliers Harris Bradley Center
    Sat Oct 21 12:30 PM New Orleans Pelicans Golden State Warriors Smoothie King Center

    NBA Christmas Day schedule

    Date (Aus) Time (AEST) Home Away Venue
    Tue Dec 26 4:00 AM New York Knicks Philadelphia 76ers Madison Square Garden
    Tue Dec 26 7:00 AM Golden State Warriors Cleveland Cavaliers Oracle Arena
    Tue Dec 26 9:30 AM Boston Celtics Washington Wizards TD Garden
    Tue Dec 26 12:00 PM Oklahoma City Thunder Houston Rockets Chesapeake Energy Arena
    Tue Dec 26 2:30 PM Los Angeles Lakers Minnesota Timberwolves Staples Center

    The full NBA schedule is expected to be announced later on Friday.

    Scott Pryde
    Scott Pryde

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1,100 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.

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