Revenge matches
NBA BUZZ - Bobby Motus (The Freeman) - August 15, 2019 - 12:00am

Last Tuesday, the NBA released the 2019-2020 regular season schedule with two games in the morning of October 23, featuring the defending champions Toronto Raptors in their ring ceremony and the raising of their first-ever championship banner before hosting the high-flying rookie Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans. Followingthe TOR-NOP game is the cannot-be-missed Battle Los Angeles, the match-up between the souped-up Clippers vs the new-look Lakers. The next day, 22 teams will debut for the new season and the remaining 4 teams will play on the 25th.

With high-profile player transfers, retribution will be the issue of the season and there are 12 teams who have a kind of vengeance on their agendas when they face each other. You need to adjust your morning schedules if you’re not willing to miss these games.

The Golden State Warriors had their golden moments then thesuddenly, basketball gods changed the scenery andmade LA’s battle for supremacy the main storyline for this season. For so many years, LAL had been manhandling LAC but LA’s other team managed to turn the tide since seven years ago. With perhaps the best superstar pairs in the league, both had become legit title contenders. The two teamsshare Staples Center and will have to outdo each other to reach the holy grail of basketball. After their opening night game, they meet again on Dec. 26, Jan. 29 and Mar. 9 for bragging rights.

LAL vs NOP – these two teams had their own separate drama with the pieces finally falling together. Three former Lakers (Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart) will try to get back at their former team and perhaps LeBron James for his endorsement of the Anthony Davis trade and the resulting disharmony in the locker room.  Vengeance games are scheduled on Nov. 28, Jan. 4, Feb. 26.

LAC vs TOR – this won’t be a heated match-up as Kawhi Leonard delivered the title to the Raptors before he took his talents to LA, yup, after letting the Lakers and the Raptors hang after “much consideration”. They play each other on Nov. 12 and Dec. 12.

HOU vs OKC – both teams swapped point guards and one of them will probably have an unpleasant welcome when he comes back to his former team as a visitor. Russell Westbrook was the last piece of the 2012 OKC team that battled Miami in the finals, kept themsignificant after Kevin Durant left and made an indelible mark on the franchise. Chris Paul on the other hand had a rumored rift with James Harden that reportedly went bad that he requested a trade.  Watch them on Oct. 29 and Jan. 10.

BOS vs BKN – with Kyrie Irving changing his mind as often as his underwear, expect a rude welcome from the Celtic fans when he comes back to the TD Garden as a Net. He was not a unifying presence among his young teammates and didn’t like being coached by Brad Stevens. Expect some sparks to fly when Jaylen Brown gets to switch on him come game time. Game days are on Nov. 28 and 30.

BOS vs PHI – the Celtics had an existing rivalry and Al Horford’s transfer to the Sixers had shifted the odds to Philly’s favor, which could rile the fans. Refusing his player option after realizing that he can get more dollars in the open market, he agreed to terms with the Sixers the moment Boston cleared cap space for him. Let’s see how the fans welcome him on Oct. 24, Dec. 13 and Jan. 10.

BOS vs CHA – Michael Jordan may be the game’s best ever but he sucks as a team owner. They can’t blame Kemba Walker for leaving as they refused to give him the money he deserved. All the buzzing in the Buzz City came from him and the team failed to surround him with enough talent to sustain the buzz. His return to Charlotte as a visitor should be tribute-worthy as he is the team’s all-time leader in points, free throws, field goals, 3-points made and minutes played. Watch them on Nov.8, Dec. 23.

MIA vs PHI –perhaps Jimmy Butler don’t want to play behind the tails of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons so the transfer to the Heat where he now becomes the main man. Josh Richardson, who was shipped to the Sixers in the Butler deal, had vowed to make life miserable for the Heat. Let’s see what happens on Nov. 24, Dec 12 and Dec. 29.

GSW vs BKN – Kevin Durant may be a season away from facing his former team but D’Angelo Russell has an ax to grind with the Nets for choosing Irving over him.  Likewise, Stephen Curry and company would like very much to whip Brooklyn’s butt if only to prove that they’re a better team without KD.   Grudge matches are scheduled on Feb. 6 and Mar. 13.

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