The Philadelphia 76ers’ 2019-20 regular season schedule is out, and with it comes intrigue about which games will possibly be some of the best of the season.
The Sixers are slated to be on national TV for 24 games this upcoming season, with nine of them coming on TNT and another nine on ESPN. With their spotlight growing, along with some roster moves this offseason, the Sixers are primed to take another step in the Eastern Conference.
As the season draws near, here are five of the must-see Sixers games to watch during the regular season.
Sixers’ Opening Night — Playing the Celtics at home
The Sixers open their season Oct. 23 against the Boston Celtics, marking the second straight season Philly has opened its season against Boston.
The Celtics have routinely given the Sixers problems the past two seasons, most notably because of their stout defense. Now, though, former Celtics big man Al Horford is with the Sixers, and Boston doesn’t have one of its top defenders anymore. The Celtics’ defense will still be formidable, though, with Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown positioned to lead the team on that end.
Former Celtics guard Kyrie Irving is gone to Brooklyn, but the Celtics got three-time All Star Kemba Walker in a sign-and-trade over the summer. While both teams have some new faces, neither got worst. This game should be exciting to watch as the season kicks off.
A November rematch against the Toronto Raptors
The Sixers lost the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Toronto Raptors, with Kawhi Leonard hitting one of the craziest shots in playoff history during Game 7.
Philly will have its first rematch against the Raptors on Nov. 25 in Scotiabank Arena. Leonard signed with the Los Angeles Clippers in free agency, but the Raptors have their core intact. Pascal Siakam, last season’s Most Improved Player, is still there; he’ll likely take over as the team’s No. 1 option. Along with Siakam, Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol and Fred VanVleet are also still in Toronto.
The Raptors gave the Sixers fits in the 2018-19 regular season, winning the season series 3-1. Though they lost Leonard, the Raptors will likely still be a competitive team in the Eastern Conference.
Christmas Day — Marquee matchup against the Bucks
The Sixers have played on Christmas for the past two seasons, but their latest appearance this year should be one of the best games on the NBA’s Christmas Day schedule.
Philly will host the Milwaukee Bucks on Christmas, with the game scheduled for 2:30 p.m. One of the game’s most intriguing matchups will likely be between Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
As two of the league’s most dominant players, Embiid and Antetokounmpo are primed to give fans two exciting performances in the afternoon.
During March last season, Embiid and Antetokounmpo had one of the best battles of the regular season. The Sixers won 130-125, and Embiid scored 40 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and had six assists. Antetokounmpo had 52 points, along with 16 rebounds and seven assists.
West Coast road trip in March, Game 1 — Los Angeles Clippers
The Western Conference is riddled with some of the league’s most talented teams again, and the Sixers will have a four-game road trip on the West coast to begin March.
The first game of the road trip will be March 1 against the Los Angeles Clippers. Led by Leonard and Paul George, the Clippers are one of the favorites to win the title.
While the Sixers have a talented core of Horford, Embiid, Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris and Josh Richardson, the Clippers have two top 10 players in Leonard and George. This first game of the road trip is close to playoff time, so it should provide the Sixers with a good idea of where they’re at.
West Coast road trip in March, Game 2 — Los Angeles Lakers
The Sixers will stay in Los Angeles for their second game of the West coast road trip, and they’ll play the Lakers on March 3.
Philly will gain valuable experience in playing the Lakers on the road late in the regular season. As the Lakers’ best players, LeBron James and Anthony Davis are receiving a lot of preseason hype as a potential dynamic combo.
For the Sixers, having to go up against a plethora of stars out West will help them improve.
After playing the Clippers and Lakers, the Sixers will travel to northern California to play the Sacramento Kings on March 5. They’ll then finish the road trip March 7 against the Golden State Warriors.