1. Los Angeles Lakers @ San Antonio Spurs - Oct. 26th, 8:30 pm ET
The first game worth note is one of four games against LeBron James and the new and (maybe) improved Lakers. The Lakers, first and foremost, will hope this season is a healthier one for both LeBron and for Anthony Davis. We’ll also get an early look at how the new Lakers experiment is going and if it really does resemble the Expendables, like many on Twitter have said (old, somewhat washed-up stars).
For the Spurs, facing multiple future Hall of Famers and one of the best to ever do it in LeBron is always a fun test (for fans at least).
The Lakers will be trotting out LeBron James (36 years old) and newly acquired Russell Westbrook (32 years old), Dwight Howard (35 years old ) and Carmelo Anthony (37 years old). I’m very curious to see how this drastic shift in personnel will work out for a team that is two years removed from a title.
2. San Antonio Spurs @ Memphis Grizzlies - Dec. 31, 8 pm ET
These two teams have never particularly liked each other, stemming back to the infamous 2011 first-round upset. We’re long past the Grit-and-Grind Memphis Grizzlies, but the five they’ll put on the court will be a team with its eyes on the playoffs. The Grizzlies knocked the Spurs out in last year’s play-in tournament and edged them out of a playoff spot in 2020 as well. They’re two teams that have been neck and neck in the standings for the past few seasons and always play tight, exciting games.
This is also going to be the first game of the seven-game road trip the Spurs will embark on this upcoming season. At this point, we should have a pretty good idea of what the team’s identity is.
Though it’s a pain to guard him, Ja Morant is as dynamic of a point guard as they come and is still a lot of fun to watch. The Grizzlies retooled a little bit this offseason, essentially swapping Jonas Valanciunas for Steven Adams, Jarrett Culver, and Juancho Hernangomez. The Grizzlies' mix of youth and high expectations will make them an interesting team to watch this season.