From Raptors to Rockets: The 5 NBA 2017-18 games you can’t miss
Excitement builds following full fixture release
It’s official. The NBA 2017-18 fixtures have been released in full, and there’s less than two months to wait until the first tip-off.
Last season ended in thrilling fashion, with Golden State Warriors defeating Cleveland Cavaliers 4-1 in the Finals. That marked the third successive year these three had met in the season finale – but can anyone break the trend in 2018?
That remains to be seen. But the Coral News team think these five fixtures could provide plenty of excitement in the new season.
Los Angeles Lakers v Los Angeles Clippers (19 October 2017)
There was no contest when it came to finding the standout fixture of the opening weekend.
Doc Rivers’ Clippers were helped on their way to the playoffs by a trio of victories over their L.A rivals last season, with the Steve Ballmer-owned team chalking up a minimum of 113 points on all of those occasions.
As for the Lakers, they’re gradually on the mend, with last season’s 26-56 record their best in three years. So, can the Lakers kick off a season of revival by toppling their city rivals, or will Blake Griffin and co. dominate this fixture again?
Cleveland Cavaliers v Indiana Pacers (1 November 2017)
The Cavs destroyed their Central Division opponents last season, with a 4-0 playoff whitewash preceded by a trio of regular season wins for the Ohio franchise. However, Cleveland now have to adjust to life without Kyrie Irving, who averaged 25.8 points per game during his final year with the team.
With the Pacers having added a couple of hotshots who impressed in College Basketball, including UCLA grad T.J. Leaf, the power of balance could be shifting. An Indiana win on enemy territory would certainly strengthen that argument…
Golden State Warriors v Cleveland Cavaliers (25 December 2017)
With the ultimate Christmas cracker on the cards, usual festivities will have to be put on hold for fans of this pair. After all, last year’s Christmas Day clash between these teams was unmissable, ending with a 109-108 victory for the Cavs.
They’ll be desperate for revenge after a pretty humiliating Finals defeat, but the Bay Area club have looked unstoppable in recent months. Oh, and there’s the obvious prospect of another Steph Curry v LeBron James battle?
Toronto Raptors v Miami Heat (9 January 2018)
The Heat missed off on a playoff spot by just one win last season, with October’s 96-94 loss in Toronto contributing to Miami falling agonisingly short. That should add some extra spice to a fixture which provided more than its share of entertainment last season.
From Toronto’s dramatic 96-87 comeback win in November 2016, to Miami producing a 32-point opening quarter against a stunned Raptors side in March of this year, this fixture had it all last season. Expect more of the same in this crucial mid-season meeting.
Houston Rockets v San Antonio Spurs (12 March 2018)
There was an all-Texan tussle in the Western Conference Semi-Finals back in May, as the Rockets and Spurs played out a sensational series. With the pair tied at 2-2 after four meetings, the crucial fifth game went to overtime, with the Spurs winning 110-107 in Houston’s backyard. They went on to triumph 4-2 in the series.
While another dramatic playoff tussle between the pair might be too much to ask for, we’re definitely getting a face-off at a crucial time of the season.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing