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Enticing matchups highlight 2019-2020 NBA schedule

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The NBA, now in its 74th regular season, tips off on October 22. Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – When the NBA released its regular season and TV schedules for the 2019-20 season on Monday, there were some immediate matchups worth noting that involve moving-on All-Stars like Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis.

Leonard, who helped the Toronto Raptors win an NBA title in June, is now with the Los Angeles Clippers, who will meet his former team in Toronto on December 11. Davis, who moved from the New Orleans Pelicans to join LeBron James with the Los Angeles Lakers, goes back to the Big Easy to face No. 1 draft pick Zion Williamson and Co. on November 27, the same day the Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving goes back to Boston to meet his ex-Celtics teammates.

Other notables include the Houston Rockets’ Russell Westbrook returning to face his former Thunder teammates in Oklahoma City on Jan. 9 after previously playing them in Houston on Oct. 28, and new Clippers forward Paul George also returning to Oklahoma City, on Dec. 22.

Also, Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley plays in Memphis for the first time as a visitor on Nov. 15, and Boston guard Kemba Walker makes his return to Charlotte on Nov. 7.

There are many other highlights with the NBA schedule, in its 74th regular season that tips off on October 22 and ends on April 15. Opening night includes a doubleheader with the Pelicans at the Raptors on ring night, and what promises to be the beginning of a more heated rivalry when the Lakers and Clippers meet in the battle for Los Angeles.

Twelve of TNT’s 31 doubleheaders and 22 of ESPN’s 36 doubleheaders will tip off at 7:30/10 p.m. ET or 7/9:30 p.m. ET, a half-hour or hour earlier than last year’s 8/10:30 p.m. starts. National TV starts at 10:30 p.m. ET were reduced from 57 to 33.

The Lakers will have the most national TV appearances (31), followed up the Golden State Warriors (30), who will get the chance to show off their new arena, the Clippers and Rockets (26), the Celtics (25) and the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers (24). Williamson and the Pelicans will be on national TV 20 times.

The previously announced Christmas Day schedule includes five games — beginning with the Celtics at Raptors at noon ET; other matchups (all times ET) are Bucks at 76ers (2:30 p.m.), Rockets at Warriors (5 p.m.), Clippers-Lakers (8 p.m.) and Pelicans at Denver Nuggets (10:30 p.m.).

Games on TNT, ESPN, ABC and NBA TV will include flexible scheduling during the regular season “to provide the most compelling matchups to a national audience,” the league said in a release. The All-Star Game is February 16 in Chicago. There are no games from February 14-19.

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