On Friday the NBA released the schedule for the first-half of the season—here’s a look at the Sixers’:
Here’s six matchups worth circling on the calendar in the first month (Dec. + Jan.) of the season:
Dec. 26: @ Knicks (NBATV-7:30)
First Nationally televised game, second game of the season; the Sixers will either be looking to start 2-0 or prevent from falling to 0-2—either way, this should draw plenty of eyeballs.
The #Sixers will open the season against the Wizards, Cavs, and Knicks. Great opportunity to build momentum early in a shortened season.— Kevin McCormick (@KevinMcC973) December 4, 2020
Dec. 29: (H) Toronto Raptors 7pm
This will be the first real test of the season. Toronto lost Marc Gasol this offseason, which will make this matchup much more favorable to Joel than it has been historically, but Siakam, Lowry, and VanVleet (led by Nick Nurse) still makes for a formidable opponent. After an easy three-game open to the year this is where the Sixers have a chance to leave their mark early in the season.
Jan. 7: @ Brooklyn Nets (TNT-7:30)
Brooklyn will be a contender in the Eastern Conference if their stars can stay healthy. KD and Kyrie will be a treat to watch, but how quickly they and new head coach Steve Nash will be able to put things together is to be determined. It’s possible they’re not fully clicking at this juncture in the season, or it’s possible they’re already an offensive juggernaut—either way this is an obvious must-watch regular season matchup.
Jan. 12/14: (H) Miami Heat (7 NBCSP & 7:30 TNT)
This is the first of the team’s “series” matchups (implemented to reduce travel and limit risk of exposure to Covid). Jimmy Butler gets a three night stay in his old city, and while it’s a shame there won’t be fans to boo him at every touch, the former Sixer has the Heat in “must watch” territory after dragging them to a Finals appearance just a few months ago. We’ll learn a lot after these two games.
Jan. 20/22: (H) Boston Celtics (ESPN 7 & 7:30)
Less than a week later the Sixers have another two-game set with Boston, with both again coming at the Wells Fargo Center. If we’re going to learn a lot from the two game swing with Miami then we’ll learn a hell of a lot more here. Boston continues to be a matchup concern for the Sixers (see: ‘18 & ‘20 playoffs) and this will go a long way in proving just how far we have (or haven’t) come since last season. Both games are nationally televised.
Jan. 27: (H) LA Lakers (ESPN) 7:30
The Sixers will now have completed a full month of NBA basketball with their new-look roster, and they’ll celebrate that by welcoming the defending Finals Champions and Lebron James to town—I don’t need to explain why this is a must-watch matchup. This will also be game #20, and will serve as a benchmark for where the team is at the the quarter-mark of the season.