Here are the best games to watch in the NBA's return to play schedule

Tyler Byrum
NBC Sports Washington

The NBA is back and we finally have a schedule. A lot of games packed into a 16-day stretch to push the league into the playoffs. 

Games to determine if non-playoff teams can get within four games of the No. 8 seed and to figure out seeding amongst the top teams. Each team gets eight games for a total of 88 games to lead up to the playoffs.

So many that while diehard basketball fans will try to watch them all, it likely will cause basketball overload or create some problems within certain households. 

So here are the best games to watch and we made it simple for you: one game for each day that you simply can't miss. 

Be aware, it's a lot of Zion Williamson and the Pelicans.

Thursday, July 30

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers, 9:00 p.m. ET (TNT)

Opening night take two? Can't get much better than the battle of L.A. LeBron vs. Kawhi and the only chance for the Clippers to try to steal the No. 1 seed

Friday, July 31

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Portland Trail Blazers, 4:00 p.m. ET (NBATV)

You could pick any game the second day of the season to watch. Nets vs Magic, Celtics vs. Bucks, Rockets vs. Mavericks. But, Damian Lillard trying to get back in the playoffs against Ja Morant? Both teams ill get up for that matchup. 

Saturday, August 1

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Los Angeles Clippers, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Zion Williamson and the Pelicans are going to get a lot of attention as they attempt to sneak into the playoff field. They go up against one of the top contenders in their second game. 

Sunday, August 2

Washington Wizards vs. Brooklyn Nets, 2:00 p.m. ET 

Both teams need this win badly. If Washington wins, they have a chance to make the postseason. If they lose they probably lost all hope. 


Monday, August 3

Memphis Grizzlies vs. New Orleans Pelicans, 6:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Sensing a theme? These rooks are going to be fun to watch and it won't get much better than Morant vs. Zion for a playoff spot. 

Tuesday, August 4

Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat, 6:30 p.m. ET (TNT)

Boston will be a team to watch in this resumption of play. Few teams have as much talent as they do. Miami is also nipping on their heels for seeding in the East. 

Wednesday, August 5

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Washington Wizards, 4:00 p.m. ET (NBATV)

Bradley Beal vs. Ben Simmons is not only fun to watch on the court but off as well. Scales could tip in one another's favor in the All-NBA race based on this result.

Thursday, August 6

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Houston Rockets, 9:00 p.m. ET (TNT)

There are so many characters in this matchup. LeBron, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, Rajon Rondo, even Mike Di'Antoni. 

Friday, August 7

Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors, 9:00 p.m. ET (TNT)

It is easy to forget the Raptors are the defending champs and Boston has a lot to prove in this shortened restart.

Saturday, August 8

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Dallas Mavericks, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

LeBron James notwithstanding, Luka Doncic and Giannis Antetokounmpo are the best one-man bands in the NBA. They might not play against each other every possession, but their teams will be fun to watch.

Sunday, August 9

San Antonio Spurs vs. New Orleans Pelicans, 3:00 p.m. ET (ABC)

Ultimately, both squads have a tough task at winning games to try and force play-in games for the playoffs. Can Zion solve coach Greg Popovich? 


Monday, August 10

Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks, 6:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

A rematch of last year's Eastern Conference (minus Kawhi Leonard). How will Giannis handle the Raptors this time around?

Tuesday, August 11

Brooklyn Nets vs. Orlando Magic, 1:00 p.m. ET

If Washington makes things interesting in the East, this could prove to be the difference between the No. 7 and No. 8 seed.

Wednesday, August 12

Toronto Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 6:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Remember the triple doink last year? Philly, surely, does not forget it. 

Thursday, August 13

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Orlando Magic, TBD

In all likelihood, both teams will still be alive and have something to play for in their final game of the regular season. Plus, never miss a chance to watch Zion.

Friday, August 14

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Houston Rockets, TBD

The restart could swing the pendulum both ways for either of these two teams. Both are in the middle of the pack of each conference and play contrasting styles of basketball. 

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Here are the best games to watch inthe NBA's return to play schedule originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

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