With the recent announcement of the 2007-08 NBA schedule, writers across the web have profiled some of the most intriguing games of the upcoming season.
I already highlighted five Milwaukee Bucks games. Not that any of us would be missing those.
Marty Burns picked ten compelling games for SportsIllustrated.com
The wild playoffs and busy offseason made for some easy choices. One juicy pick was the Dallas Mavericks at Golden St. Warriors playoff rematch on November 8. He also pinpointed Kevin Garnett’s return to
ESPN.com’s Marc Stein went further, circling seemingly every date on the NBA calendar. Well, forty-two days by my count.
He even picked a Bucks game:
at Houston (NBA TV) Milwaukee Ming -- and the Chinese media armada -- goes to Brewtown to square off with The Big Yi . . . assuming Yi Jianlian is a Buck by then. (On Nov. 9 the Bucks are in Yao , incidentally, if Yi makes it to Houston for the start of the season.)" Milwaukee
Still, a handful of games with interesting, perhaps more subtle story lines, went unmentioned. To avoid overlap, I’ve compiled a list of five games chosen by neither Burns nor Stein:
- Wednesday, November 21 –
Raptors at Toronto Grizzlies Memphis
These two franchises, born in 1995-96, are natural, mutual measuring sticks.
The Raptors got a quicker jump out of the gate, winning five more games behind Rookie of the Year point guard Damon Stoudamire.
The trend continues today, with the Raptors coming off a division title and the Grizzlies now the longest of shots for postseason play.
Nevertheless, there are intriguing parallels entering 2007-08. Both clubs are led by star, often overshadowed, power forwards in Chris Bosh and Pau Gasol. In addition, this game should offer us the first NBA game pitting two of
- Tuesday, January 8 –
at New York Knicks Chicago Bulls
The Knicks have remodeled yet again, but repeated recent failures haven’t lent much optimism that the latest mixture of talent, now starring Zach Randolph, will suddenly mesh. Talent resides in The Big Apple, but this game, the team’s third consecutive road game following daunting stops in San Antonio and Houston, could be the tipping point of the team’s yearling unraveling.
On the flipside, if the Knicks are rolling a couple months into the season, this classic big-city rivalry could be reborn on this night.
- Sunday, March 30 –
Wizards at Washington Lakers Los Angeles
In last year’s
Bryant partially returned the favor by winning both the individual competition 39-37 and the team game in the nation's capital a month and a half later.
Still, Bryant isn’t one to be outdone and Arenas got the better of him last year. Combine the personal rivalry with the fact both stars are coming off frustrating ends to their seasons and you can expect more scintillation.
- Tuesday, April 8 –
Jazz at New Utah Hornets Orleans
The Jazz visit
Pete Maravich typified the virtuosity of Duke Ellington's jazz in his five magical years when the Jazz more naturally played in
This present-day game will showcase a couple of wondrous court wizards that would make Pistol Pete proud. Picked third and fourth in the 2005 NBA Draft respectively, Deron Williams and Chris Paul make this a must-see.
- Wednesday, April 16 – New
JerseyNets at Celtics Boston
It’s difficult to forecast which final regular season games will matter, but something tells me that in the suddenly crowded Eastern Conference playoff picture these two teams could be playing for important seeding down to the wire.
Just in case, check out the first three times they meet, starting Saturday, November 10. Both teams are well-known for their star trios, and lack of depth. But while the Celtics are the chic pick in the East, the return of Nenad Krstic and addition of Jamaal Magloire indicates