NBA

Must-watch games each day of the 2018 NBA preseason

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Donovan Mitchell attempts to drive past Pascal Siakam (NBA Getty Images)

The 2018 NBA preseason begins on Friday, Sept. 28. It will run for 15 days, concluding on Friday, Oct. 12.

With the start of the preseason upon us, let's take a look at the must-watch game each day for the next two weeks.

All times are Eastern Standard Time.

Week 1: Friday, Sept. 28 - Friday, Oct. 5

Tuesday, Oct. 2 : Toronto Raptors at Utah Jazz - 9:00 p.m. - Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah

Utah was one of last season's surprise teams with the emergence of their star guard Donovan Mitchell. Hopefully, we'll get to see Mitchell and Kawhi Leonard go head-to-head for the first time - Leonard was sidelined for almost all of Mitchell's breakout year.

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Wednesday, Oct. 3 : Detroit Pistons at Oklahoma City Thunder - 8:00 p.m. - Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

Reggie Jackson only played in one game against the Thunder last season due to injury, so this will be a good opportunity to watch the Pistons point guard go against his former teammate Russell Westbrook.

It's also an opportunity to see what the fully healthy Pistons squad could be capable of this season.

Thursday, Oct. 4 : Philadelphia 76ers vs. Dallas Mavericks - 7:30 a.m. - Mercedes Benz Arena, Shanghai

This is the first of the NBA China Games this preseason. If you wake up for it, it'll give you your first look at Mavericks rookie Luka Dončić as he takes on last year's Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons.

This is the first of two matchups between these teams for the NBA China Games.

Honourable mention: Indiana Pacers at Houston Rockets - 8:00 p.m. - Toyota Center, Houston, TX

Friday, Oct. 5 : Melbourne United at Toronto Raptors - 7:00 p.m. - Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, CA

This will be Kawhi's first game in the Raptors' home arena. The city of Toronto will be ready to give him a warm welcome as they try and sway their newest superstar to sign with the Raptors long term. The atmosphere will feel like a regular season game as long as Leonard suits up.

Week 2: Saturday, Oct. 6 - Friday, Oct. 12

Saturday, Oct. 6 : Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers - 7:30 p.m. - QuickenLoans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio

A rematch of the Eastern Conference Finals except for one missing piece: LeBron James.

Regardless, this is a return to Cleveland for Kyrie Irving and a chance to watch Cavs rookie Collin Sexton compete against the last guard to win an NBA Finals with the Cavaliers.

MORE: Sexton is the ROY candidate no one is talking about

Sunday, Oct. 7 : Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs - 4:00 p.m. - AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

The Spurs added some new star power with DeMar DeRozan this offseason, and this will be an opportunity to see him compete against his new Southwest Division rival.

This is a great opportunity to watch the Spurs' Second Team All-Defense guard Dejounte Murray try and lock up two of the best guards in the game in Chris Paul and 2018 MVP James Harden as well.

Honourable mention: Utah Jazz at Portland Trail Blazers - 9:00 p.m. - Moda Center, Portland, OR.

Monday, Oct. 8 : Dallas Mavericks vs. Philadelphia 76ers - 8:00 a.m. - Shenzhen Universiade Center, Shenzhen

If you didn't see this matchup the first time, this gives you a second shot at seeing what Dončić is capable of before the regular season.

This is the last game of the NBA China Series, so you can expect that both teams will still have their stars on display.

Tuesday, Oct. 9 : Milwaukee Bucks at Oklahoma City Thunder - 8:00 p.m. - Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

This matchup has no shortage of star power with Westbrook, Paul George and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

If all the stars align in this one, you'll get to see a preview of two of the most intriguing teams in their respective conferences.

Wednesday, Oct. 10 : Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers - 10:30 p.m. - T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV.

While you might not get to see the majority of the stars on these two teams this late in the preseason, any time the Lakers and Warriors match up this season becomes must-see-TV. This is the first contest between the two teams with the Lakers' new roster, and you won't get to see it again until Christmas Day.

Honourable mention: Final game of the NBA Canada Series - Brooklyn Nets at Toronto Raptors - 7:00 p.m. - Bell Center, Montreal, CA

Thursday, Oct. 11 : Toronto Raptors at New Orleans Pelicans - 8:00 p.m. - Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, La.

Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard are two of the best defenders in the NBA. They're also two of the best players in the NBA. What other reason do you need to watch this one as long as they both play?

Friday, Oct. 12: Brooklyn Nets at New York Knicks - 7:30 p.m. - Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y.

The battle for the city title ... in the preseason.

There's plenty of young talent on display here with the likes of D'Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, Frank Ntilikina and Kevin Knox. With just a few days before the regular season actually begins, you might still get to see these guys compete as they get ready for the real fun to begin a week later.

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The NBA regular season will begin on Tuesday, Oct. 16 with the Boston Celtics hosting the Philadelphia 76ers at 8 p.m. That game is followed by the Golden State Warriors hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder at 10:30 p.m.

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