NBA releases shorter 49-game preseason schedule; games start 11 December

Orlando, Atlanta, New York, Detroit, Houston, Chicago, Sacramento, Portland, Charlotte, Phoenix, Memphis, Cleveland and the Lakers are all scheduled to play four preseason contests.

The Associated Press November 28, 2020 16:21:34 IST
NBA releases shorter 49-game preseason schedule; games start 11 December

Miami Heat's Jimmy Butler looks to pass against Los Angeles Lakers. AP

The NBA released a condensed 49-game preseason schedule Friday, with teams playing between two and four games starting on 11 December.

Preseason contests will continue through 19 December. Teams begin training camps next week.

The league plans to reveal the first half of the 72-game regular season schedule — that meaning games to be played between 22 December and 4 March — in the coming days. Games for the season's second half, scheduled as between 11 March and 16 May, will be revealed around the midpoint of the season.

The defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers will play on the first night of the preseason, technically a home game against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Lakers play the Clippers twice in the preseason, then two games at Phoenix and new Suns guard Chris Paul as well.

The Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat are scheduled for only two preseason games — at home 14 December against New Orleans and new Pelicans coach (and former Heat coach) Stan Van Gundy, then on 18 December in Toronto's first game at its temporary home in Tampa, Florida. The Raptors are going to open this season in Tampa because the US-Canada border remains closed to nonessential travel during the coronavirus pandemic.

That 18 December game is Toronto's lone home game on the preseason schedule.

Orlando, Atlanta, New York, Detroit, Houston, Chicago, Sacramento, Portland, Charlotte, Phoenix, Memphis, Cleveland and the Lakers are all scheduled to play four preseason contests.

Minnesota, Golden State, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Dallas, Milwaukee, Toronto, Denver, Washington, Utah, Indiana and the Clippers have three preseason games apiece on their schedules.

Brooklyn, Boston, Philadelphia, the Pelicans and the Heat opted for two-game preseasons.

Brooklyn's preseason opener — and presumably the first time that Kevin Durant, who missed last season while recovering from surgery to repair his Achilles tendon, plays for the Nets — is at home on 13 December against Washington. That is also the Wizards' preseason opener, so it could be the first instance of Washington guard John Wall playing in an NBA game since 26 December, 2018; he missed much of the 2018-19 season and all of last season following separate surgeries on his heel and Achilles tendon.

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