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Nuggets open with Lakers, Wemby debuts 25 Oct. as NBA schedule unveiled

(Photo by Ethan Miller / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Reigning champion Denver will host the Los Angeles Lakers to open the new NBA regular season while French prodigy Victor Wembanyama will make his regular-season debut the following night in the 2023-24 league schedule revealed on Thursday.

The campaign will open on 24 October and conclude on 14 April 2024, with each club playing 82 regular-season contests as well as competing in the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament, which tips off on 3 November and ends in Las Vegas on 9 December.

The Nuggets, who defeated Miami in June’s NBA Finals, will raise their first championship banner before playing LeBron James and the Lakers.

Also on opening night, the Phoenix Suns will visit the Golden State Warriors, matching 12-time NBA All-Star guard Chris Paul against the Suns’ squad that traded him away.

Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson will power Golden State against Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal for the Suns.

French teen star Wembanyama, the 7-foot-4 (2.23m) top pick in this year’s NBA Draft, will make his NBA regular-season debut for the San Antonio Spurs on 25 October against the visiting Dallas Mavericks, led by Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.

Also on 25 October, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will spark the Boston Celtics as they visit the New York Knicks.

Latvian forward Kristaps Porzingis makes his Celtics debut against the club for which he played in his first three NBA campaigns.

On 26 October, Philadelphia will visit Milwaukee and Phoenix will face the Lakers in Los Angeles.

On 27 October, the Miami Heat will visit Boston while the Warriors travel to Sacramento in rematches of last season’s conference finals.

The NBA’s 25 December schedule includes five Christmas feature matchups — Milwaukee at New York, Golden State at Denver, Boston at the Lakers, Philadelphia at Miami, and Dallas at Phoenix.

Atlanta and Memphis will continue traditions of hosting games on Martin Luther King Jr. Day as the January 15 slate has Wembanyama’s Spurs in Atlanta and Golden State at Memphis. Houston will visit Philadelphia and Oklahoma City will visit the Lakers in other holiday matchups.

27 January will feature Miami at New York, the Lakers at Golden State, and Philadelphia at Denver as Nuggets two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic and reigning MVP Joel Embiid face one another in a big-man showdown.

Rematches of last year’s NBA Finals contests will find Miami at Denver on 29 February and 13 March in Miami.

Wembanyama and this year’s number two draft pick, Charlotte’s Brandon Miller, will meet when the Hornets visit San Antonio on 12 January.

That’s the same day the NBA pits brother against brother when rookies Amen Thompson of Houston and Ausar Thompson of Detroit meet in Michigan.

Marcus Smart, traded after nine seasons with the Celtics, makes his return to Boston with Memphis on 4 February.

The 2024 NBA All-Star Game will be played in Indianapolis on 18 February.

All 30 teams will play on 14 April, the final day of the season.

The NBA will stage pre-season games in Abu Dhabi, Montreal, and Vancouver.

Paris, the host city for next year’s Olympics, will host an NBA regular-season game on 11 January 2024, when the Brooklyn Nets face the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic will play a regular-season game at Mexico City on 9 November.

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