The NBA officially released its schedule for the 2022-23 regular season on Wednesday.
In total, 1,230 games will be played over the five-and-a-half months of the season, with games taking place this year in Mexico and France. Still, schedule makers focused on reducing the burden of travel, as teams will have about 5% fewer miles in the air on average over last season. In part, they did that by adding to the instances of teams having no travel between road games.
With that said, all eyes will be on the matchups fans can circle on their calendars.
Here are five highlights to look for in the NBA's 2022-23 regular season schedule (all times are ET).
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Opening night pays tribute to winner and loser of the NBA Finals
The NBA, like all other major sports leagues, looks at its opening night as a celebration to both kick off its new season and commemorate the previous one. That's why the Golden State Warriors, who won the Finals in June, will raise their banner October 18 at 10:00 p.m. in the late game of a nationally televised doubleheader on TNT against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
The team Golden State toppled, the Boston Celtics, will get the nod in the early game of the double header. They will host the Philadelphia 76ers, also on TNT, at 7:30 p.m.
Those are the only two games scheduled for opening night.
Speaking of LeBron, watch him chase history (and pay attention to late January)
The King enters the season with 37,062 career points, second on the all-time scoring list. That puts him 1,325 behind former Laker great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's 38,387. Assuming his usual scoring pace, which is 27.1 points a game for his career and was 30.3 last season, and assuming he doesn't have to miss games, James is projected to become the scoring king from the 44th through the 49th games of the season.
In that six-game stretch, the Lakers play away just once and are on national television three times. In chronological order, those games come against the Houston Rockets (1/16/23), Sacramento Kings (1/18), Memphis Grizzlies (1/20), at the Portland Trail Blazers (1/22), Los Angeles Clippers (1/24) and San Antonio Spurs (1/25).
Fans' The NBA schedule will be completely clear on Tuesday, Nov. 8. In an effort to encourage fans to vote during the midterm elections, the NBA will not have any games that night, and the league is encouraging teams to share election information with their fan bases.
As a result, the night before the midterms — Monday Nov. 7 — a full slate of games will be on tap, with all 30 teams hitting the court. A doubleheader is scheduled on NBA TV, with the Philadelphia 76ers hosting the Phoenix Suns in the first leg at 8 p.m. and the Cleveland Cavaliers heading to Los Angeles to face the Clippers in the second at 10:30 p.m.
Unwrap hoop gifts with a 5-game Christmas slate
As always, Christmas Day will be one of the key dates on the NBA calendar, with the league reserving enticing matchups for a quintupleheader. All games will be broadcast on ESPN or ABC.
Philadelphia 76ers at New York Knicks (Noon)
Los Angeles Lakers at Dallas Mavericks (2:30 p.m.)
Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics (5 p.m.)
Memphis Grizzlies at Golden State Warriors (8 p.m.)
Phoenix Suns at Denver Nuggets (10:30 p.m.)
NBA continues tradition on MLK Day
Since the holiday was established in 1986, the NBA has paid tribute to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. by hosting games in Memphis and Atlanta on MLK Day. In all, nine games are scheduled for Monday, Jan. 16. Four of those will be televised.
Boston Celtics at Charlotte Hornets (1 p.m. on NBA TV)
Miami Heat at Atlanta Hawks (3:30 p.m. on TNT)
Phoenix Suns at Memphis Grizzlies (6 p.m. on TNT)
Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Lakers (10:30 p.m. on NBA TV)
Contributing: Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NBA 2022-23 schedule released: Five highlights for upcoming season