NBA opening-night schedule features Bucks-Nets, Lakers-Warriors

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The NBA's opening-night schedule features postseason rematches of an Eastern Conference semifinals series and a West play-in tournament game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors.

The reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks will host the Brooklyn Nets at 7:30 p.m. ET on Oct. 19 to raise their banner and launch the league's 75th anniversary season. LeBron James' Lakers will host Stephen Curry's Warriors in the 10 p.m. ET nightcap on opening night. Both games will be broadcasted on TNT.

The league released the national TV schedule for the first four days of the 2021-22 season:

Oct. 19

Brooklyn Nets at Milwaukee Bucks, 7:30 p.m. ET (TNT)

Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers, 10 p.m. ET (TNT)

Oct. 20

Boston Celtics at New York Knicks, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Denver Nuggets at Phoenix Suns, 10 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Oct. 21

Dallas Mavericks at Atlanta Hawks, 7:30 p.m. ET (TNT)

Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors, 10 p.m. ET (TNT)

Oct. 22

Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers, 10 p.m. ET (ESPN)

The NBA also released its five-game Christmas Day schedule on Tuesday, starring the Lakers and Nets. The complete schedule for the league's 75th anniversary season will be released at 3 p.m. ET on Friday.

The four teams competing on opening night played two of the most memorable games of the playoffs.

The Bucks eliminated the Nets in a classic seven-game second-round series in June. Eventual Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo amassed 40 points, 13 rebounds and five assists for Milwaukee in Game 7, spoiling Kevin Durant's 48-point night for Brooklyn. Durant's game-tying shot to end regulation would have won the series were his toe not on the 3-point line, and the Bucks prevailed in overtime.

The Nets were without James Harden and Kyrie Irving for much of the conference semifinals, and their healthy returns make Brooklyn a heavy favorite over Milwaukee to win the East, according to BetMGM.

James hit a game-winning shot over Curry in their play-in opener in May, advancing the Lakers to the seventh seed in the playoffs. They lost to the West champion Phoenix Suns in the first round. After losing to the Lakers, the Warriors failed to secure another shot at a playoff spot, dropping a second play-in game to the young Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis lost to the top-seeded Utah Jazz in the first round.

The Lakers retooled around James and Anthony Davis, adding one-time MVP Russell Westbrook. The LA brass also signed Carmelo Anthony, Kendrick Nunn and Malik Monk. Dwight Howard returned to join James, Davis and Talen Horton-Tucker as the only remaining members of the Lakers' 2019 title run.

It is unclear if Curry's Splash Brother, Klay Thompson, will be available for opening night. He has missed the last two seasons with ACL and Achilles injuries. The Warriors are expected to unveil their two new lottery picks, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, on their own revamped roster to start the season.

The NBA obviously considers the Nets, Lakers, Warriors and Bucks to be its biggest draws this season, featuring all four teams on both opening night and Christmas. The top-two finishers in last season's MVP race, Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid, respectively, will also be counted on to drive television ratings in the opening week, along with under-25 stars Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Jayson Tatum and Devin Booker.

James Harden, Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets will face Giannis Antetokounmpo's reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks on opening night. (Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
James Harden, Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets will face Giannis Antetokounmpo's reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks on opening night. (Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

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Ben Rohrbach is a staff writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach

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